Music Naming Conventions

Using the proper Plex naming convention for music is key to correctly finding and downloading the music metadata. This means learning to properly organize your music for Plex is important.

How should you name and organize your music for Plex? Let's look at how this is done.

Plex Naming Convention for Music

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Plex music naming convention

Unlike movies or TV shows, music files can contain embedded metadata that describes the track, artist, album, etc. Files such as MP3 and FLAC can contain such metadata, and Plex is able to read the metadata to help you organize your music.

Even with the embedded metadata, there is a standard that you should follow when naming your music files to help Plex download any missing metadata as needed.

The standard naming convention for music is as follows:

TrackNumber - TrackName.ext

Where ext is the file extension.

For example, the following name would represent the song Radioactive by Imagine Dragons as the first track on the Night Visions album:

01 - Radioactive.flac

For my music, I have used the following naming convention, which works as well:

TrackNumber TrackName.ext

Using the same song as above, the file name would be:

01 Radioactive.flac

Either of the above naming conventions will work to help Plex identify the song associated with the file

Music directory structure

While Plex does use metadata to organize albums and songs, it does help to organize your music in a simple directory structure. This helps prevent one large directory with all your songs, which should make it easier to manage your music.

The recommended directory structure that you can use with Plex is as follows:

/music
  /ArtistName
    /AlbumName
      /TrackNumber - TrackName.ext

In using the same artist and album as above, the directory structure for the Night Visions album by Imagine Dragons would be:

/music
  /Imagine Dragons
    /Night Visions
      /01 - Radioactive.flac
      /02 - Tiptoe.flac
      /03 - It's Time.flac

While you files may have embedded metadata, sometimes it isn't perfect, so following the above directory structure will help Plex correct the metadata it displays.

Multi-disc albums

For albums that span multiple discs, you can easily have Plex manage those, as well. This is done by adding the disc number to the file name, as follows:

DiscNumberTrackNumber - TrackName.ext

For an example of a multi-disc album, I will use Metallica's S&M album, which is two discs:

/music
  /Metallica
    /S&M
      /0101 - The Ecstasy of Gold.flac
      /0102 - The Call of Ktulu.flac
      /0201 - Nothing Else Matters.flac
      /0202 - Until It Sleeps.flac

I try to ensure the metadata in my music files is accurate, so I am able to organize multi-disc albums as follows:

/music
  /Metallica
    /S&M
      /Disc 1
        /01 - The Ecstasy of Gold.flac
        /02 - The Call of Ktulu.flac
      /Disc 2
        /01 - Nothing Else Matters.flac
        /02 - Until It Sleeps.flac

While the above doesn't exactly follow Plex's music naming and directory structure, the correct metadata in the files helps Plex organize the music correctly.

Various artists or compilation albums

There are many albums that will have music from various artists. These albums can be compilation albums, or movie soundtracks.

Plex won't organize the tracks of the albums under each individual artist. Instead, it will organize all tracks under a "Various Artists" artist.

The following example shows the folder structure for a compilation album:

/music
  /Various Artists
    /The No.1 SciFi Album
      /01 - Star Wars.flac
      /02 - Independence Day.flac

For albums such as these, the metadata becomes even more important as Plex will use that to determine the actual artist of the track.

The following should be set in the metadata for each song:

  • Album Artist - the literal "Various Artists"
  • Artist - the actual artist of the track

Ensuring that Plex music naming conventions are followed ensures that the correct metadata is downloaded. If you follow the advice and examples above, it should make maintaining your music in Plex Media Server easy.

If you are having issues with Plex properly identifying your music tracks then you can try to do the Plex Dance to reset your movie library within Plex.