Modern-day MP3 players can hold more and more music, and the temptation with that is to add more and more music to your personal collection.
The most committed of us spend hours every weekend ripping music from CD to MP3 and then synchronising it to our media players, while others have spent a small fortune on buying tracks in digital format in the first place.
Either approach has its problems as even the highest-capacity media device only has a limited amount of storage, and eventually all of those B-sides and album tracks are going to eat up the last of the remaining megabytes.
When that occurs, you’re left with a dilemma: delete some tracks, or increase your storage space.
The first option is out of the question for most ardent music fans, especially those who don’t own the music on CD anywhere, and would therefore have effectively wasted their money if they were to delete a track they’d once paid to download.
With the second option, there are actually several possible solutions, depending on your device.
In some instances, you can fall back on physical storage devices to serve as additional storage space – burn some of those MP3s back on to CD, for instance.
For a collection of MP3s averaging 3MB in size each, a standard, single-layer, single-sided recordable DVD should be able to store over 1,500 tracks, or almost 80 hours of music at three minutes per track.
You could also use other formats, from USB pen drives, to external hard drives, to high-capacity memory cards, to put a chunk of your music collection to one side for retrieval later.
But if you don’t like that idea, and want all of your songs to be there whenever you decide to listen to them, the only solution is to go bigger.
You can sell an old iPod Touch that’s run out of spare space, and replace it with a more modern model that packs a few more gigabytes.
Even newer versions of the same model might be higher capacity, so it’s worth checking the specifications of your iPod or other music device, to make doubly sure of how much storage space it is supposed to offer.
There’s also the issue of how you organise your collection, and the bigger the number of MP3s on your device, the more careful you’ll want to be if you want to be able to access any specific song quickly and easily.
Make sure your MP3s are tagged correctly – complete with artist, title and album name, at the very least.
If you’re downloading from iTunes, the details should already be accurately filled in, while if you’re ripping from a CD, most modern media player software will automatically look up the information in an online database.
Just be wary, because this process is not entirely foolproof, particularly if there are several slightly different international versions or special editions of the same album – and it’s usually much easier to tweak your MP3 tags on your PC than it would be to do them later directly on your iPod