I just organize songs into Artist - Album directories on my hard drive and use Winamp's Media Center thing to play and view them (and edit tags). Not the most efficient but it works good and has no unnecessary features.
I mostly use folder hierarchies like other users here to create a static organization, and then use WinAmp to play a playlist of this. Typically I just play songs on a song-by-song basis now more than use playlists.
My hierarchy is split into two main folders: "Music" and "Music - Unsorted". Unsorted is just that... unsorted music and there's really no consistant hierarchy inside.
"Music" is always organized by this rule: %ARTIST% \ %ALBUM% \ %ARTIST% - %ALBUM% - %TRACKNUM-LEADINGZERO% - %TITLE%.ext
Typically the album is only used if it's the full album or if there may be one or two songs missing. Songs that do not meet the album requirement are just placed in the Artist's folder. There's a lot of redundant information in the title to avoid being issues if the song is moved somewhere else for any reason. About 80% of my songs currently are not tagged, because I strip all tagging whenever a song is moved from Unsorted to the standard folder. This is to avoid the fact that the V2 of MP3 tags can be filled with just about anything from album art to books worth of text.
I have over 12k songs and have never used a program to arrange. I have them all separated out by genre. Then by group/album.. Way more efficient then anything I've seen so far. I currently have 25 genres and 8 pr more people regularly sue the PC for music and have no problems..
I don't see why anyone would browse and play their music from Explorer. You are missing out on so many functionalities by doing so, such as creating instant playlists of a particular genre, album, or artist, or having real-time search for songs. I highly recommend the use of a media library that has these features.
I don't own an iPod and dislike iTunes and think WMP is a little bloated, so I use Winamp's media library. Works fantastically. Winamp opens in a second with your most recent song already loaded, and you can get straight to the library with either Alt-L or by clicking the little ML button. Of course you can do real time searches so I can find songs instantly. If I want all my rap to play in the background just type "rap" and anything with rap in the genre is in the playlist and off it goes. Same with search by artist, title, or anything else.
"I don't see why anyone would browse and play their music from Explorer. You are missing out on so many functionalities by doing so, such as creating instant playlists of a particular genre, album, or artist, or having real-time search for songs. I highly recommend the use of a media library that has these features. "
Instant playlist by Genre? Just do this: Right click on whichever Genre dir. you want and select play in media player or add to playlist.. Same this with alblums.. As for the search I can't say, never had to search for a song.