Free iTunes Beat Mapping: Tangerine

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Fiveos22, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Fiveos22 macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2003
    I searched the forums and couldn't find a thread dedicated to beat mapping so I figured I would make one for all my OCD friends out there.

    Until so recently, I was in the habit of beat mapping my digital music by hand with iTunes BPM Inspector. It was a nice program and actually kinda fun to do, as a way of getting back in touch with parts of my library that I hadn't listened to in a long time. But in the end, beat-mapping my ~12000 track library by hand turned out to be cumbersome and I gave up on the Beat Inspector.

    So this evening, the lure of being able to make playlists that flow well (for working out, studying, parties, etc.) grabbed hold of me again and I took another look around the internet for a free automated beat-mapping program for iTunes and I came up with this:'s October 20 Download of the Day: Tangerine

    It is currently a beta-software product that is being offered for free (my kind of price) that will automatically beat-map your music library. It looks both interesting and very well designed, with handy sorting features, an intelligent way to exclude tracks from being beat-mapped, and a slick Mac-looking interface. Furthermore, it is apparently resonably quick too (I am currenly at 4920 of 10083 tracks and the "expected time remaining" is 1 hour and 51 minutes) probably able to handle just under ~20,000 tracks overnight (assuming 47 tracks/min and a 7 hour night).

    The initial results look promising, but I will write back after I have had some time to sift through the final product. In the mean time...give it a whirl.

    Tangerine by The Potion Factory
  2. Fiveos22 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2003
    Here's a thread bump that's long overdue:

    I have successfully used Tangerine! to beat map my entire* library of music and I have to say, for a free program, it is an absolute dream...albeit a dream where you must wake up from time to time and restart the program, use the bathroom, and then ask the program politely to try again.

    *I did not do all the tracks in my library especially recorded lectures, commercials, or most of my full orchestral classical pieces because they by and large do not lend well to beat mapping. Out of ~12,500 tracks I ended up beat mapping ~10,500 of them with Tangerine!.

    First off: Tangerine! is a beta program and due to its beta status rough edges are forgivable and generally expected. Also this is a review of Tangerine! 0.9.6, the current version is 0.9.8.

    What purports to do: [From the Tangerine Web Page]

    My Experience: Can be broken down into three parts: Purpose (Mac-ness of the Product), Performance, and Problems.

    I mentioned before that Tangerine! is an excellent product for all of my OCD friends and that is partially true. Tangerine! is for anyone who wants to have more control over their music. Towards that end, this program will allow you to categorize your music by tempo, in beats per minute (BPM). This is great for amature Djs (to beat-match sets of music for parties, etc.), athletes or active persons who listen to music during workouts (to put together play-lists to augment workouts), store managers (to customize playlists to maintain an even tempo of muzak during the day), or anyone who is interested in listening to their music by a novel measuring stick. I like the idea of knowing more about the music I listen to and I try to fill every one of those fields in the ID3 tag...its a...uh...hobby of mine.

    When the folk over at The Potion Factory set out to create a beat mapping program they did so because they liked iTunes...because if that's not the case, then they reinvented the user-friendliness wheel that Apple has refined. The app is a free standing program that looks like a cousin of iTunes. Its brushed metal interface is clean, nicely laid out, and best of all: simple. No extra bells or whistles, Tangerine! is a Mac-designed product (and a Mac-only product too, I think).

    Installation was very fast. Version 0.9.8 weighing in at 1.4 Mb (dmg), Tangerine! is a fast download, unpacks speedily into a 3.4 Mb drag-and-drop app.

    Tangerine! asks you to have iTunes open while it goes to work analyzing your music. My system is a first revision Black Macbook and I keep my music and my iTunes data files on an external firewire harddrive. The little fan on my laptop ramped up to full speed I could heard my hard drive chugging was on my desk next to me while Tangerine! was tearing through my library. At first I had music playing in iTunes while Tangerine! did its thing, which worked fine. None of my files were corrupted, or inaccessible for listening while they were being beat-mapped, but it sounded like I was giving my hard drive a workout and I was probably slowing down the beat analysis by having my computer multitask (although it my CPU monitor showed that neither of my two cores were close to maxing out). After listening to a few songs I decided to go study in the other room and let Tangerine! work in peace.

    The analyzing process took 2 hours and 46 minutes for 10,083 tracks. That seems pretty good to me considering some of my tracks are very long (+50 minutes) and most of my library is encoded at 192 kbps or higher bitrates (which are large-ish files) and I was using my computer intermittently for web-browsing and writing email. On one of the sites reviewing Tangerine! they said that they were able to get 2-3 songs analyzed per second. My numbers work out to a little over one song per second...which I think is great. For an overnight application, over the recommended 8 hours of sleep, Tangerine! could analyze ~30,000 tracks.

    The kicker is that the job is not exactly finished once the tracks have been analyzed. Tangerine! has gathered all the beat analysis data and stored it in some log file somewhere (I've not taken the time to dissect where Tangerine! has been lurking on my computer) but it has not yet written the data to the ID3 tags of your music. I guess this is good because it gives you a chance to review the BPM numbers that Tangerine! discovered by analysis. If there are numbers that are really suspicious you can try remapping the files. The default settings of Tangerine! set the BPM limits to between 40 and 180 BPM, so you might have to be on your toes to discover "aberrant" beat markings (for instance some Aphex Twin tracks are significantly over 180 BPM). Also, Tangerine! is still fully functional even before it has uploaded the BPM data to your tracks' ID3 tags. By this I mean that you can still create playlists that make use of the new BPM data using the Tangerine! software.

    Tangerine gives you several options for its expanded “smart playlist” type feature. You can pick the range of tempos you want for your music, the intensity of those tempos (which is a measure of how “sure” Tangerine! is about that tempo), and four different tempo change patterns. The patterns can be best compared to the running “programs” on treadmills (starting at x speed, y incline, and changing to run “up a hill(s)” or whatnot). Its interesting and I'm sure it works, but I have not used that feature yet (perhaps this week). Furthermore, after using Tangerine!'s playlist making tools, you can export those playlists into iTunes (for use on your iPod, to burn to CDs, or whatnot), again before even adding the data to the actual ID3 tags of the tracks (for use in iTunes). However when you decide to “Save BPM Values to iTunes” from the File menu be prepared to wait some more because if you've ever batch edited ID3 tags in iTunes, like redoing album names, you know it is going to take some time. In particular, Tangerine! estimated it would take over three hours to write all of my data. In the end it all made it, but not without some bumps.


    What was supposed to take “about 3 hours” to write the new BPM data to the ID3 tags ended up taking a few days. This is because Tangerine! tanked after the first 2000 or so tracks. When I noticed that the app had stalled and quit, a few hours later, I relauched Tangerine! and tried it again. Thankfully, Tangerine recognized that it had written some of the tracks and picked up where it left off. A few hours later I came back and noticed that after another 3000 tracks Tangerine panicked and quit again. I resumed the track writing the next day and it finally went through to completion. However, the whole process, from Analyzing to iTunes available BPMs took much longer than I anticipated.

    I also changed the settings on Tangerine to include some tracks that had originally been excluded and reran the program. Tangerine burned through my new set of tracks without a problem the second time, probably because there were much fewer and it did not mess with any of the tracks that had already been beat-mapped, which is one of the “safety” features of Tangerine (from the FAQ):

    I had two tracks in my library set to absolutely absurd BPM values: Mexican Hat Dance (a really tacky version) at 12106 BPM, and Spanish Flea (by Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass) at 13000-something. I notice now that Spanish Flea is a more comfortable 162 BPM. Tangerine stepped out of its bounds for at least one track, if it did more I have no idea and I guess I don't care. If you are going to have a machine beat-map your music, you have to be able to relinquish some white-knuckled grip on your library.

    AlsoI have found that since asking Tangerine! to send its beat analysis to the files in my library some of my tracks come up as “missing” with that worrisome exclamation point next to them in iTunes. The problem has been far and in between and all the files end up being right where they are supposed to be , so I am not sure what the problem may not even be a Tangerine! problem, but its something I noticed.

    Final call:
    I really like Tangerine. It is a well thought out program that, even now in its early stages performs nicely. It has a feature set that is aimed at a pretty small audience but has the potential to capture the ears of a great deal more if it added some more features. For instance: I can't help but thinking that Tangerine is a competitor to MoodLogic, which attempts to categorize music by mood. Tempo and mood are pretty closely related and at $0 for the current beta of Tangerine, I am more than willing to massage tempo matched music into playlists than paying $30 for Windows only software. Who knows, perhaps The Potion Factory could find an automated way of classifying music into moods too? I can't wait to see how this product matures.

    Take Tangerine! for a spin while you can!

  3. Flowbee macrumors 68030


    Dec 27, 2002
    Alameda, CA
    Hey - Thanks for the heads up! I'll be giving this a try.
  4. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    i think i'm gonna give it a try as well...thanks:)
  5. johnjeffrey macrumors member

    May 17, 2006
    Thanks a lot for taking the time to write a review. I'm using Tangerine on my library and still having trouble thinking of ideas for playlists (tempos and such). As you said, looking forward to see how this program develops.
  6. reubs macrumors 68000

    Jun 22, 2006
    DLed Tangerine! the other night when I had better stuff to do, and put together a "test playlist" to see how it worked out. I've been listening to it lately, and I like it a lot. One of those lists that you can't really tell when the track switches, so it would be great for hanging out, etc.

    however, I missed out on the free Beta, and my trial is about up. I'm not sure I enjoy it enough for $24.95 for it, so my question is this:

    Are there any other programs out there like this for maybe a little bit less? $15.00 would be about reasonable, so if anyone has any ideas let me know.

  7. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    BPM off?

    The BPM's calculated by the app seem all over the place. I have a lot of songs analyzed at >170 BPM, many of which are actually midtempo and slower.

    I am also trying beaTunes, which is slower (not Universal app) but seems more accurate.

    Tangerine is by far a slicker app with nice interface. But the main function is BPM analysis, and not sure if it is particularly good at it.
  8. mazincaz macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2007
    I agree. I took a sample (about 100 or so) of songs from my library and estimated the BPM with Tangerines manual tool and then compared the results with it's auto mode. The results were not particularly good (and I'm not counting the x2 aliasing problems that all BPM estimators face).

    The auto computed BPM values are definitely not good enough to write back to my iTunes library at this point. Nice interface; a cover-flow format would be nice too.

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