FINDER : Album and Artist Information for arranging MP3s and Audio Files in Finder ??

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Benway, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Benway macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010
    Hi there! I'm a relatively new Mac User and first time posting here.
    I've had this Mac for a couple of months and am VERY happy with it, wish I'd made the leap waaay sooner.
    However, of course there are a few kinks , and I have a couple of questions about the finder as I feel maybe it is missing a very valuable feature from windows.
    Something that is quite annoying is --
    In Finder , when I am browsing through my Audio Files [Like on an External HD or just the normal HD]
    On the top bar of the finder, there is a few options and categories for identifying and organising the files or arranging the files besides just the file name. These are :
    Name / Date Modified / Date Created / Last Opened / Size / Kind / Version / Comments / Labels

    However, in windows, for MP3 and other audio files, it would allow you to see the Artist Name , Album Name , and "Artist Album" as tabs in the Windows Finder / Explorer window. This was INCREDIBLY useful when going through and sorting music manually, and to arrange and view the files in the explorer window sorted in that order.

    Is there a way to get this on Mac Finder?

    I know that basically everyone in forums I have visited seems to write to people who have opened similar threads with a similar question to mine "Let itunes organize your music for you", but that is not what I want !! For a few reasons : Honestly, as much as I DO love iTunes, iTunes does not do a very good job of this !!
    Also , I like to be able to do things manually for the finer things that a computer cannot do automatically.
    I often find myself with many duplicates of songs and whole albums , and I like organising all the music on my External Hard Drive manually and into my own personalized categories ready for importing as I want them, rather than having them sorted by a clumsy automated process that leaves them all over the place and indecipherable to me !! it is nice to not have all the files on my external hard drive jumbled by similar names, and rather have them arranged for viewing in a folder / by sorting them by album or artist !! So that way I can file and categorize them correctly and by my own personal categories and delete the redundant files myself a zillion times faster , and just personalize my file structure and manage my HD space perfectly , etc etc etc.

    Sorry if I made this post too long, just wanted to make sure it was clear ! Hopefully I didn't muddy-up what I was asking..
    Artist and Album tabs for arranging audio files in folders ?!? How ?
    Thanks !
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Finder is extremely limited in this regard, compared to Windows Explorer. It's even worse with search results.

    I don't let iTunes arrange my music, because their method isn't really arranging. I prefer my own method, using a folder structure:


    I already had this structure before moving to Mac and iTunes, so I just keep it that way. It's much easier to locate files in Finder.
  4. Benway thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010
    Hi ! Thanks for your responses :)

    miles01110 : What do you mean by "use folders" ? Is this some separate finder-like window ? I'm not aware of it.

    Thanks for the great tips ! Yeah , I have my own file structure which is similar, but a bit more idiosyncratic, but I know how it works, so that is important.

    Still, it is far more difficult to sort through the masses of singular files and find which ones are necessary or unnecessary to delete manually....

    Who / where can we / I put a request to / complain to to get this fixed ? Perhaps there is some kind of add-on or plugin or something for finder that will make these information / arranging tabs available ? It seems like something that would be relatively / incredibly simple and should be there.....

    I'm surprised something so simple and basic and fundamental on such an otherwise great music machine is not there :eek:

    I would arrange my files on a windows laptop if I had one as a work-around, but the insides of my lenovo laptop melted ! ): Plus, its not possible to arrange things on an external hard drive which is formatted for macs on a windows system and vice versa, and my external hard drive is formatted for macs.

    Thanks heaps for the ideas. :D
    Any more are very welcome !
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    There are some things that could help you accomplish this. First, I use File Renamer, a script found on Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes, which is a great resource for managing your iTunes tags and files.

    You could use File Renamer to name all your files in the same format:
    zzz - Artist - Album - Track Number - Name
    zzz - Santana - Abraxas - 07 - Samba Pa Ti​

    Then it would be very easy to search for all files beginning with zzz and move them into one folder. Moving them would give you the opportunity to overwrite any duplicate files. Any music files that don't begin with zzz are not in your iTunes library. Once you have everything in one folder, you can easily create sub-folders and move the files where you want them. When you're finished with your clean-up, you can rename the files again, to remove the zzz prefix.

    This is just one method, but it might give you something to work with.
  6. Benway thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010
    Cool idea, I was just looking for a Batch File Renamer. I need to find a way to unzip this one you mention though, since it does not seem to want to unzip.
    It sounds like a good one, and Doug's page has been very useful to me on other things so far.

    Thank you for your work around idea. It seems useful for certain things, and I will definitely keep it in mind for when those things come up :):):).

    However, maybe I am reading it wrong or misinterpreting it,
    but the problem is not so much finding audio files and putting them all in one folder in order to rename them.
    It is fairly easy to find all the audio files, and then to put them all into one big folder. However, I may have [and DO have] many artists beginning with the same letter , A, B, C etc etc, and then many of their songs ALSO begin with the same letter, all the way through the alphabet as well.
    So there will be a huge file filled with songs and music starting with "A" and I may have NO idea who the artist is or what the album is. It just becomes a horrible collection of things grouped by letter.

    Without the tabs of "Artist" and "Album" in finder, or some kind of workaround that is similar, which organizes all the files [which are already tagged and show this in windows, which I no longer have as a backup ): ] it seems to me to become a near impossible task to organize such a large catastrophic musical mess !! :eek::eek::eek:

    However again, maybe I have misread your post, and perhaps the solution is actually in it....I might just be a bit stupid to understand !!
    :eek::eek::eek: :confused::confused::confused:

    Cheers again for your great reply.
  7. Benway thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2010
    I just found another thing they left out which is quite annoying / simple / retarded !!
    When you open a finder window, and then use the search box in the finder window to search for files, it has tabs at the top of the finder to sort the items by " Name / Kind / Last Opened "
    But there is no option to arrange them by "Size" which is hideously annoying!!
    It is no longer an available option.
    This was incredibly useful in Windows Explorer, if you , like me, end up with many many duplicates of downloaded files in certain directories, sometimes with different extensions on the end. "Size" is absolutely the EASIEST way to sort them, but ALSO the Album and Artist tabs which it should have as well [and would seem to me like it should be basic / universal functionality on O/S]
    I will repost this complaint/question/suggestion for improvements to the Masc OS in the actual apple forums, but anywhere that anybody could suggest I should post these suggestions to, where they might be read by the right people, so that apple might update these things in future upgrades of the O/S, that would be great!! Please tell me where to send these things. Cheers.
    [I still love this machine, just not this retarded thing, unless there is an option for it that I am missing and not seeing, in which case, I am the retard :rolleyes::eek:]
  8. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Feb 20, 2010
    There's a simple hack we can use to restore that size column. It involves modifying the using an appropriate editor (it's a binary plist, not regular xml) such as Apple's own Property List Editor or TextWrangler and tweaking the SearchViewSettings key. Here's the step-by-step:

    See more fields in Finder Spotlight search results
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I think you did misread my suggestion. As I suggested, you can use File Renamer to change the file name of each song to include the artist, album, track number and track name in the file name. So the name of a file would be:
    zzz - Santana - Abraxas - 07 - Samba Pa Ti.mp3
    As such, you can do all you need to do with only the filename column in Finder. The only way this would not work is if you don't have the iTunes tag information filled in.
  10. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Feb 20, 2010
    There's actually a 3rd school which preaches: 'don't let iTunes do it... and don't even bother "organizing" at all!!!'

    I sorta get what you're doing, but really (fortunately) it's not absolutely necessary. To give a extreme example, there could be an artist folder named "x" in Finder, and inside that maybe an album folder named "y", which contains a song file named z.mp3 (all in Finder). Doesn't matter. All that matters is that what iTunes displays are the correct tags.

    [B]Name			Artist			Album[/B]
    Once A Part Of Me	Eric Johnson		Alien Love Child  (2000)
    Honestly, one need not worry about what (precisely) those items are named in Finder.

    Now that was an overly extreme example (x/y/z.mp3)... but the point was: everything is still 100% functional within the iTunes GUI, and it would appear exactly the same from that perspective.

    If one wants to have the filesystem match some particular organized structure for a broad range of items (e.g., i push all my classical into one area to make excluding it from my PowerBook's tiny HD a one-click operation), that's fine. But arranging every single file and folder in Finder (whether manually or with iTunes) is just nutty, in my opinion. [my small collection currently contains 8229 files and 4671 subfolders.] The whole point of a program like iTunes is to obviate such laborious endeavors, rendering them virtually pointless.

    But... knock yourselves out, if it makes you happy.
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    For some, that approach works well. My purpose in managing my files is clearly illustrated in my recent work on my library. My library won't all fit on my internal HD. I was running out of space, so I needed to move more of my less-frequently-listened-to music to an external drive. Because all my music is organized in folders for genre, artist and album, I was able to easily move artists or albums to the external drive with a simple drag and drop.
  12. Bobskizilla macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2013
    You can copy and paste from iTunes

    It may help in some situations to remember that you can copy a set of songs, like an album, from iTunes and paste them in a directory in Finder, and the actual song files will be copied to the directory. Unfortunately, I don't think you can use this method to move files and not leave duplicates in the origin locations.

    Though in GGJstudios' case, you could, for example, make two playlists that in total contain all the songs in your whole library. Then copy and paste from one playlist to a directory and copy and paste from the other playlist to another directory (like on the external drive). Then delete all the music in the original location. The possibly undesirable side effect here is that all the files will end up in 2 giant directories, but no metadata would be lost because in my experience it's stored in the files themselves. (I'm not sure if this is the case for all song file formats that iTunes supports. But I'd guess yes.) Also, it may take Finder (or Windows Explorer) a long time to load the giant folder, so you may want to just split the music up into a few arbitrary folders that have maybe 1000 files each. (Some people will probably call this crazy, but I don't mind.)

    It looks to me like it is still not possible to sort by album in Finder. I agree with Hal Itosis that organizing your music is generally pointless if you are going to use iTunes to listen to the music anyway. But there are situations where you want to move a certain set of songs to different directories, like GGJstudios' need to move rarely heard songs to a different disk. I have another situation where being able to sort by album would have helped. (It's a long story, and all the questions are answered, so not very interesting.) In my case copying and pasting from iTunes was all I needed.

    Also, I can sort by file size now, so finding duplicates using only Finder is definitely easier now than it was 3 years ago. :)

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