Collectors and Sellers – Your Discogs Wish Is Granted!

Quite recently I came upon an announcement from Andreas Dahl on Reddit about the latest revision of an Android mobile app for which he’d independently developed.  I’d tried a few of the unofficial Discogs apps in the past but had really found little use for them.  Still, I was curious and downloaded his app – Discographer, to check it out.  I am thrilled that I did! The official Discogs app is still in beta on the iOS platform and Android users have not yet received an official release, but I can say with great confidence that the need for such an app has been 100% fulfilled by Dahl’s independent project.


The app was initially released in September of 2015 and Dahl has steadily been improving the app, actively responding to the input from his user base.  As of February 14, 2016 the app has reached version 1.3.4 and is stable and fully-functional.  I’ll outline a few of the features below.

The Welcome Panel

The Welcome Panel displays a quick-reference summary of Discogs general statistics.  This includes the total number of releases and catalog percentages of its Most Popular Genres, Styles, and Formats.

Your Collection

Android users have been waiting for a quality and fully-functional mobile means of accessing their album collections.  Discographer’s Collection feature is the solution we’ve been waiting for.  From this menu, you can view your collection as a graphical grid of album covers with artists and titles, or as a list with album cover thumbnails.  A quick menu option beside each entry lets users remove titles, move them to subfolders, add to their seller inventory, and view the artist/label page.  You can also dynamically sort your collection by a wide range of criteria – title, artist, year, format, label, Cat #, newest added, rating, or by a specific collection field such as notes or condition.  Combined with the search function, this makes navigating large collections of thousands of titles a breeze.  I was also happy to see a Manage Folders option to browse and modify the sub-categorization of my collection.  This feature was missing from other independent Discogs apps I’d tried in the past.

TIP: For sellers with particularly large inventories, if you’ve indexed the location of the titles in your library using the Notes field of your Discogs Collection, this app can tell you exactly where to retrieve the album for sale and provides every possible piece of data about your copy, right in the palm of your hand!


Vinyl Hub Integration

A most welcome feature, Discographer includes Vinyl Hub’s searchable Google map of user-contributed record stores worldwide.  From within Discographer you can search the globe, tap to call, and open stores’ addresses in Google maps – excellent for the traveling vinyl hound.  For advanced features like the Vinyl Hub forum, there is a View on Vinyl Hub button.  This integration adds excellent value, encapsulating all your album shopping needs into one fantastic app.


The Search Feature

The Main Menu’s search function puts all of’s powerful search capabilities in a single, easy-to-use panel.  And as with all of the app’s other functions, Andreas Dahl has done an outstanding job of building every menu into an impressively mobile-friendly layout.  The search feature lets the user easily search by Release, Master, Artist, Label, and Stores without the frustrating interface of a drop down menu or having to open a secondary search config settings cog.  Just tap the arrows at the upper left and right of your screen and the search heading will change to indicate the category of your search query.

Best of all, the search menu includes a camera function so that the user can snapshot album barcodes, making collection-building an absolute snap!

User Summary Panel

Once logged in to your Discogs account, Discographer will display a complete summary of your profile.  Everything is here, from contact info to collection stats to recent activity and Discogs recommendations.  

In earlier versions there was difficulty logging in to a user’s account from multiple mobile devices, but as of the latest release this has been resolved with a pair of in-app security codes which you will be prompted to enter on the second device at login.  This gives users increased accessibility while protecting the security of their account.


Album Summary Panel

The album summary panel is a stand-out feature of incredible value to users. Below the album art, the panel is divided into a series of organized sections. The first presents all the basic info you’ll need to verify you’ve accessed the correct pressing – the album cover art, title, artist, label and catalog #, release date, genre and style. The next pane displays info about the user’s copy of the album, including rating and condition, folder, and notes.  This is followed by a summary of Discogs suggested pricing based on various states of condition quality, (a fantastic quick-reference for crate diggers in the wild!), and below that, a list of copies currently for sale in the Discogs marketplace.  Further panels provide track listing and album credits, Discogs catalog numbers, and barcode and matrix information.  There are also buttons to view the release on, to share the entry, and to explore user reviews.

Every feature offered from the desktop website appears to be fully accessible from this app, and its clean and well-organized interface make finding the information you need easier than ever from your tablet or smartphone.


The Marketplace

The Marketplace menu is divided into three primary screens with a navigator at the top of each.  The first details all of your Orders, including all related communications and details.  The next screen contains Purchases, and the last a mobile-friendly Inventory of all titles you have listed for sale in the Discogs Marketplace.  A search panel is featured at the top of each of these menus, so any title you need to recall is only a few taps away.

Additional Features

The Main Menu also includes buttons to browse the marketplace, view and modify your Wantlist, and to build public Lists. If there are any other features you’d like to see integrated into this wonderful app, please contact the developer.  Dahl has done an outstanding job and been great at responding to community feedback and requests.  I absolutely recommend supporting future developments by purchasing the ad-free version for just $2 from the Settings menu of the app.

It’s all right, Discogs team.  You don’t have to worry about developing an official app for the Android platform.  Dahl has got us covered!

Download Discographer here!

Published in: on February 14, 2016 at 6:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Project

My server is down for maintenance for the next 16 hours.  It was a perfect opportunity to begin my next long term music project.

When Innerspace Labs first switched to the cloud, I used the web-based RacksandTags service through my OrangeCD DB to create an index of all track information from my library.  Collections on the service can be searched by artist, album, or track, but lacks support for 2nd level organization like genre clustering, playlists, and other more valuable data points.

RacksandTags Interface

I later switched to  Discogs offers real time market value assessment of your collection, but only supports physical media.  I was also disappointed to find that user-generated category foldersare not presently shareable with other users.  
Discogs Interface As I prepared for the downtime last night, I realized that I hadn’t given a shot since I wiped my account clean in 2014.  That year I scrobbled 30,000 tracks, but was frustrated that there was no way to submit all my library’s data without playing every track in real time.

My goal was to explore the service’s recommendation engine, and my library data would likely produce some valuable results.

So last night, I went to work.  I quickly realized that the best approach would be to queue all 100,000+ tracks and to scrobble them in order of ascending track duration.  I organized the songs into four pools of nearly equal size.  Below is a map of my library based upon these four classes – less than five minutes, less than ten minutes, less than thirty minutes, and up to 24 hours.

Tracks by Duration

As the largest batch was that of the shortest tracks, there would be the greatest (and fastest) return from scrobbling these first.

I charted the play duration of each of these groupings to see what sort of timetable I’d be looking at for project completion.

Project Duration

Graphing the duration of each grouping clearly demonstrates that this was in fact the best course of action.

Projected Sync Progress

I began scrobbling immediately for the first time in a year.  Once the project is complete I’ll share some of the resulting recommendation data provides.  I’m looking forward to it!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

The Innerspace Cloud Project a SUCCESS!

Wonderful news dear readers!  We’ve reached a new milestone at Innerspace.   We’ve come so far!

Our Humble Beginnings…

Back in the summer of 2011, I decided that I could do more than I was accomplishing with my text-based Audio Library Excel spreadsheet.  I spent the summer researching and testing all major music cataloging softwares.  By that August, I’d built my first OrangeCD database which was leaps and bounds ahead of the spreadsheet.

The catalog continued and grew for a few years and in May of 2014 we took the next step and moved from a static local DB to the cloud. became the new home of Innerspace, but was limited to our vinyl-format collections.

I still wanted to do more.  There are many complete discographic archives in our library which I’d love users to be able to access.  Current copyright law unfortunately does not support such a model so, for now, my media server remains strictly for my personal access.


But last night we succeeded in unifying our digital collections with our vinyl catalog.  Now our entire library is viewable, searchable, and sortable by any user-specified criteria – all in one place, and free on the web where anyone can browse it.

Better still, there is a shared reference table of our top label and artist archives consisting of 50-375 albums per collection.  These collections comprise 37% of the albums in our library, so it’s an excellent summary point-of-reference.

The searchable catalog can also be mapped visually, with larger point sizes for artists with the largest collections.

Check out our new About page – the new launch screen for our complete library!


Making the Move to the Mobile Web

Today I’ve started a new project.  After working for an app development company for 8 months, hearing every day that the app market has hit critical mass, and that mobile web access has overtaken desktops as the primary means of accessing the internet, it seemed in my best interest to invest in a tablet to keep abreast of the mobile “craze.”

I’ve never paid much attention to the Play Store other than my daily use of Sindre Mehus’ wonderful Subsonic media server app.  Projects like music research, databasing, and library management just don’t lend themselves to a mobile environment, much less to an app.

But I took on the project and invested in a Nexus 7 2nd gen (2013) which appeared to have universal acclaim as the best 7″ tablet on the market at present.


With its quad-core Snapdragon processor and the highest resolution of any available tablet (WUXGA 1920×1200) coupled with its affordable price tag, the choice was simple.  A certified refurbished model from a licensed distributor was $160.  A package of Tech Armor screen shields and a Moko faux leather case/stand with a compact Bluetooth keyboard was only $39 more, so the entire package was $200, tax and shipping-free.

But the question remained – would this mobile device be of any use to a user like myself?

I spent the first evening customizing the tablet.  I compiled a beautiful high res album of photographs from the most renowned libraries in the world and installed Wallpaper Changer to cycle through a gallery of bibliophilia and really show off the resolution of the Nexus 7.





Next I ported my browser add-ons and settings to sync from my desktop to my mobile environment, which was surprisingly easier than I anticipated.

Then I arrived at perhaps my most empowering conclusion.  To really get the most out of the mobile interface, I needed all of my library resources to be instantly accessible.  As I had a fondness for the desktop interface of most of these services, I learned how to save deep-web links to my home screen instead of using apps.

Below is a snapshot of my fourth home screen where I’ve created shortcuts to everything from my most-traveled music subreddits to my audio reference texts which I’ve converted from PDF to reflowable ePubs and synced to my Google Books account.


I was excited to explore my record catalog which I had recently ported from a static database to the cloud on  The interface is clean and customizable in the tablet browser environment.  Here is the Art Rock folder of my top 300 LPs in cover-view.


And the same folder in detail view.


And finally, the summary view from the home folder.


The site functions very well with a touch-based tablet interface, and my Subsonic media server was equally easy to use.  In addition to the high resolution display, the Nexus 7 is fitted with stereo speakers which perform well in the mobile setting.  Better still, I travel with my Sennheiser monitors wherever I go, so I am ready for anything (although I might consider a portable DAC further down the line).

Here is the Subsonic interface, viewing one artist’s folder on the Nexus 7.


And a view of a primary discographic chronology folder.


Or if you prefer to navigate by playlist…


So it would appear that the Nexus 7 is up to the challenge of the majority of my computing tasks.  The one remaining challenge would be to draft an entire blog entry on the tablet.

Which I’ve just done.

This increased mobility will let me seize the opportunity to work on my research and blogging wherever I go.  I’m looking forward to the productivity.

I’ll leave you with an interesting thought piece.

(Begin at 6m 45s if the video fails to jump to that time.)

This is Zimerman’s Paradox. “Music is not sound.”

In this BBC interview segment, Krystian Zimerman condemns digital recording for its perfection, and claims that it strips away the emotion and character of a composition.

What do you think?

Moving to the Cloud

The time has come my friends.  On Jan 13th, 2011 I replaced my text-based Excel record  database with an OrangeCD visual db.  After 3.5 years of extracting data from web-based services, publishing quarterly reports and backing up to an external disk every month, I’ve finally smartened-up and made the move to the cloud.

When I first made the transition from text to a visual db, I thoroughly tested and evaluated each of the prominent softwares of the time.  True to form, I went through the same process with the three biggest online systems this week before setting my catalog free.


Your RYM profile consists of an avatar, a brief profile description, and your top 5-10 favorite composers/artists.  Supported formats are limited to CD, LP, and cassette.  The service does not appear to support official releases of electronic files.

RYM - Collection

RYM – Collection View

RYM permits users to add pressings missing from the db, with a simple preset interface for labels, artists, etc.  The site has a strict upload policy stating that album art images must be from your personal copies, (understandable for reasons of copyright but a frustrating complication just the same.)  Artist pages are accompanied by a profile and a sidebar of related user-generated lists.

RYM - List Browse

RYM – List Browse

RYM - Chart Browse

RYM – Chart Browse

The real power of the site is not collection management, but user-constructed lists and user-sourced album rankings for any search term, artist or genre you enter.  And surprisingly, RYM is not just for music.  The list tools have categories for books, films, games, and more.

User lists are a breeze and are fun to build.  To try this feature out I created a list of films inspired by the writings of Philip K Dick.

At present, RYM includes just under 1 million artists and 2.8 million releases.  Building an RYM collection of my top 300 LPs took 3 evenings (roughly 100 titles per night) plus a handful of manual submissions for rare albums not already in the RYM database.


MyRecordList recently premiered on the scene boasting that it could provide analytics that could not.  I was intrigued so I gave it a try.

After signing up on the site I clicked the link to import a CSV.  I tried exporting raw text from and with a little tweaking (artist columns needed to be merged from FIRSTNAME LASTNAME to a single column), and some quick column re-assignment I successfully constructed  an importable CSV.  The resulting set only contained artist, title, format and year values, so I clicked the big red “DELETE ALL” button and started again – this time from MyRecordList’s preferred import method –

MyRecordList Collection

MyRecordList Collection

While Discogs lacks support for importing CSVs, its export feature is solid.  MyRecordList wisely incorporated a direct “Import from Discogs” feature so the upload was seamless.  However the result was a clunkily-constructed and sluggish visual interface with a few display variables and absolutely no support for album cover syncing. There is an “automated” lookup tool to find album art, but the process is manual and handles only one album at a time, each prompting the user for input.

But on to the analytics that the site so boldly advertised.  Clicking the large “Your Stats” button I was presented with an over-simplified summary of my test-library, again consisting of my top 300 LPs.

MyRecordList Stats

MyRecordList Stats

None of the tables could be viewed as charts or graphs, and the only infographic the site offered was a pie chart of my library’s formats.

This was thoroughly disappointing, though hardly unexpected.  Any of these metrics are easily determinable from within the site, simply by exporting a CSV into Excel or a similar application.

Discogs offers far more information, sorting functions, a community forum, up-to-the-minute sales history, archival organizational standards, and has already established itself as the premier marketplace for used and new vinyl, so there is little reason to look to another site for more, (excepting, of course, contacting labels directly for upcoming releases.)

Simply put, is clunky, slow and offers nothing that can’t be achived quicker and more easily on already-established mainstays like discogs.  And I quickly grew tired of seeing their loading screen every time I navigated to another page or view.

MyRecordList Constant Loading Screen

You’ll be seeing a lot of this.

But there was a clear upside to the experiment – rebuilding my database on – something I’d been meaning to do for several years.  And building the test library of 300 LPs was easier on Discogs than on the two previous sites.  I completed the task in just 3 hours (three times faster than with the RYM interface.)

 The clear winner –

Discogs contains data for 3.3 million artists – more than three times that of RYM, and has approximately 5 million releases. And unlike the other two sites, Discogs supports 23 languages for worldwide accessibility.

Discogs - Collection - Text w Statistics

Discogs – Collection – Text View w Statistics

For those still clinging to their locally-hosted databases – consider the following advantages of Discogs:

– Eliminates the hassle of local backups to external drives and the paranoia of data loss.

– Offers the same album information you would otherwise have retrieved online for your locally-stored catalog

– Exports easily to a CSV should you require it

– Share your collection with users on the largest and most popular music cataloging site on the web

– Features an active discussion forum

– Discussion groups based on any topic you can imagine (or start your own.)

– High regulatory standards of organization

Discogs - Groups

Discogs – Groups

And lastly, Discogs supports more audio formats that you can dream of.  Sure, they have over 3 million standard 33 1/3 LPs, 1.6 million CDs, and about a million 7” singles, but they also have shellac, flexi-disc, acetate, FLAC, floppy disk, memory stick, Betamax, Edison disc, Ambisonic, Selectavision and one – (count ‘em… ONE) entry for a Bulgarian limited edition 2-track stereo 30 ips RMG Studio Master reel-to-reel.

After 3.5 years of creating extra work for myself, I’ve now embraced the future of music database management.