I've "grown up" on Winamp, and still have much of my media library on Windows from those days, much of it neatly organised in a folder structure of Artist/Album/ -- but some just a bunch of files in some directory.
The way the Winamp media library worked was by recursively iterating through the subfolders of wherever the music was stored and compiling a database of all the files and their metadata, then showing me whatever I had grouped or sorted by whatever I chose (Artist, style, song names...), including an indexed search where I'd start typing and it'd reduce the whole list to whatever contained the search term. That's completely independent of the folder structure which the files are stored in, and that's how I like it.
On Linux, I'm using Amarok, and it has no problem working on the same basis, offering the same functions etc.. Now I switched to VLC on Windows since Winamp won't work at all anymore. And after realizing I have to go into advanced configuration options to even enable the media library, it shows me my music within the same folder structure I have on my hard drive?! While it's nice that it can do so, this is next to useless if I just want to sort by some metadata item, since I would still need to click through all the folders and subfolders until I find what I look for...
This means that I would either have to dissolve the folder structure of my library and just throw everything in one huge directory, then use the list sorting in VLC -- or I must sort all files cleanly into directories and can only ever sort by whatever criteria I've manually sorted for?! I just checked that I cannot even search for a song name unless I manually enter the folder it is in -- which will automatically start playing the whole folder first.
At this point it is clear that I must be doing something wrong. How can I get a full list of my audio files in VLC, which I can sort and search by metadata?