I’m addicted to iTunes. Apple’s digital music player/organizational tool to me is an ideal way to catalog my massive, and constantly growing, audio library.
Only problem is, sometimes I’ve got to do a bit of legwork to keep things neat and tidy.
Call me a perfectionist, but if I’m looking at my list by artist—my most-used sortable—I still don’t want a track out of place because a Jack Johnson sings one of the Curious George soundtrack songs with Ben Harper and iTunes puts it after the “solo” Johnson listings. It’s also annoying when iTunes grabs some artist’s “collection” album artwork rather than the original cover—Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin being two prominent offenders—and I have to clear downloaded artwork, and go copy and paste the true album art from Amazon or Wikipedia.
Because most of my database is from ripping CDs, it cuts down on inaccuracies, and, those are just a couple of hassles I’m certainly willing to live with to have 9,000-plus songs otherwise really well-organized, at my fingertips, networkable and shuffle-able. Still those little fixes take time.
There are also rarer occasions in which I’ve imported songs that have been previously downloaded from places other than Apple’s iTunes store, and don’t necessarily neatly flow into my musical card catalog. I try to stay away from keeping single tracks, misnamed tracks, unidentified tracks and others from blemishing my lists—but my guess is a lot of you do not and you wind up doing plenty of file importing of folders stuffed by goods from Limewire, Demonoid, Pirate Bay and the like.
These types of files can be like a bird’s nest of electronics wiring to clean up in your digital index, whether you use iTunes, Media Monkey, Windows Media Player or other software.
I haven’t run across too many quick fixer-uppers for these wayward files, but TuneUp Media’s software presents a pretty nifty looking alternative to your time consuming iTunes cleaning. As TechNewsWorld notes in an interview with TuneUp’s developers, there’s no standard for metadata, and we’re importing tunes from all kinds of sources.
So TuneUp works as a side-dock while you’re in iTunes, and basically you just drag-and-drop files and the software searches through 90 million songs to present options for identifying it correctly. You can then double-check and save the info, whose new ID3 tag info will be attached to the track with the usual metadata like song names, artist, album, year, genre, etc.
It works similarly as it scours for missing album artwork—offering up to four options, and including different variations in case albums have had “special edition” releases and such.
TuneUp would seem to work best for those who have a mish-mash of music, and would definitely making syncing to an iPod and then navigating on that device more palatable if you’ve been a big downloader. Unless you really like “Unknown Artist” as a catch-all, surprise-me category.
There is a free version, which limits you to 100 “clean-up” tracks and 50 missing album art finds; you can pay $20 per year, or $30 for a lifetime subscription of unlimited search-and-discovery for your files.
So do you put in a lot of man-hours filling in the informational holes of your music collection? If you’ve got some other digital music organizational tips to help cut down labor time, please share in the comments below.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.