Monday, December 01, 2008

iTunes, Editing, and Genre Confusion

iTunes is goofy. I've imported thousands of CDs to iTunes, and then synched iTunes to my iPod. And I've been aware for some time that many of the artists, album titles, genre labels, etc. shown in iTunes were flat-out wrong. The band Aradhna appears as both "Aradhna" and "Aaradhna." Bruce Springsteen appears as both "Bruce Springsteen" and "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," even though some of the albums labeled "Bruce Springsteen" are with the E Street Band. The indie rock band Blitzen Trapper has an album classified as "Holiday" music (summer solstice, maybe?), while Bruce Cockburn's album Christmas (nothing but Christmas songs) is classified as "Folk." Go figure.

In any case, I'm trying to rectify the mess by manually editing the entries in iTunes. And it's a cumbersome and laborious practice. Typically I have to triple- or quadruple-click on an album/song/artist/genre, delete what is there, and then type in what I want, on a track-by-track basis. What I'd really like to do is to make mass editing changes (e.g., change all the "Folk" genre labels for that Cockburn album to "Holiday'). Is there a way to do this? Anyone who can offer insight will be saving my time and my sanity. Thanks.

Or, alternately, I could skip the whole thing. As my wife puts it, "Don't be so anal." As if the Bruce Springsteen/Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band mislabeleling was just some minor little nitpicky thing. Crazy women.


Anonymous said...

If you want to make the same change to a set of tracks, you can (a) select them, (b) right-click, and (c) choose "Get Info". You'll be presented with the meta-data for those tracks, and you can edit to your heart's content.

Anonymous said...

To quickly select songs in iTunes that are grouped together:
1. Click on the first song.
2. Hold the shift key down and click on the last song. All of the songs in between should also be selected now. Then follow cnb's directions.

To select multiple songs that are not grouped together, click on each one individually while holding down Ctrl. Then right-click, get info, etc.

hallga77 said...


I have had similar frustration with iTunes but I think part of the problem occurs when people enter artist, album, genre, etc. into the CD Database (gracenote)and they get to pick genre or song title or whatever and it differs from what I think it should be. Then there are the ones such as Fleetwood Mac that have changed genres (Blues to Rock To Pop) that muddy things a bit more.

I have used the method that cnb suggests and it works for that computer but unless I upload the changes to the CDDB and it accepts them I'll have to do it again on another computer.

Maybe someone who has more knowledge of the CDDB and iTunes can tell us the best way to fix this.


Andrew Price said...

Ditto. That's what I was going to say. It works.

I was just excited when I found that you could import track information from online (puzzling genre placements aside), as importing a CD used to mean that I would have to give all the appropriate info, track by track (I also didn't know about the "select-all, get-info"). Quite a laborious process that continually threatened to diminish the sheer joy of having new music on my computer.

Love your blog, Andy. You're a good writer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

John McCollum said...

Ah, gender confusion I struggle wit...

Oh. Wait. GENRE. Never mind. Nothing to see here...