How to solve the "The" and "A" hell in iTunes?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by iRock1, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. iRock1, Feb 10, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    iRock1 macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #1
    I'm sorry about the awkward title, but frankly I couldn't come out with anything better.

    I'm referring to the disastrous mess that you get when iTunes starts sorting albums and artists whose names start with "The" or "A".

    I thought this problem was repaired a few versions ago, but suddenly I've found iTunes doing the same damn thing again.

    To put it in simple words, if the artist is called "The Beatles", please, iTunes, I want it to be sorted by "T" rather than "B". It's THE BEATLES, not BEATLES.

    Any workaround? :confused:

    EDIT: go to post #20 to find a workaround.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Get Info on such a song or album or group of songs by an artist, then click the "Sorting" tab and edit the Sort Artist or Sort Album field to suit your needs.
     
  3. iRock1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #3
    Yeah right, but when I have hundreds of artists and albums that start with "The" or "A" it's not such a great solution. :D
     
  4. lostom macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    #4
    Guess you don't like that workaround then,

    you could try a paid app, i've use both Jaikoz and Song Seargent, they will do the trick.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    You can use scripts to automate the process. Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes is a great resource for managing your iTunes tags and files. Here are a few scripts that I've found particularly useful: It's really a lot of work to go through, just to circumvent the natural sorting that most people expect, but it's your choice.
     
  6. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000

    Nunyabinez

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Provo, UT
    #6
    If you have hundreds of artists then it sucks, but if you select all of an artist's albums and edit (cmd-I) you can replace the name in the sort tab for all of an artist's tracks at one time. But, if you have that many artists then it will take some time.
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    You can use a script to copy the Artist Name into the Artist Sort Name. I have thousands of artists in my library, and such operations work quite well.
     
  8. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #8
    None that doesn't involve editing the Info entries (either editing Sort Group, or add an entry for Grouping, etc.). No preferences/options that I can find.

    For this issue a White Album... sorry, white list might be the right approach. Gives the user a chance to customize the sort (whether title, artist, etc.) without having to edit each individual database entry.

    I tend to be annoyed by media databases that do what you request - those that give me a very long list of TV shows and movies under "T." Once I know that the sort uses the book indexing convention of "Beatles, The," "Rolling Stones, The," and "Yardbirds, The," I know just where to go. But then, I'm an old codger who has actually used (and edited) book indexes.

    Frankly, I prefer a search engine that brings up exactly what I want with a short search string. In iTunes, that means "Beat" beats "The Beat."

    Consistency is the bigger issue for me. In my cable provider's On Demand TV series listing, "The Big Bang Theory" is found under "B," but if it was a movie, it would be found in "T."
     
  9. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000

    Nunyabinez

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Provo, UT
    #9
    Good to know. The default doesn't really bother me, but I'm sure at some point I'll have something that a nice script would same me some time on.
     
  10. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #10
    LOL! When I read that clever title, I assumed the OP was frustrated because all the "A" and "The" names/titles got clumped together instead of the "A" and "The" being ignored!
     
  11. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    Indeed I know when discussing music with my friends we always like talking about Beatles, The and their impact on the music scene of years gone by it just naturally flows off tongue, the...
     
  12. iRock1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #12
    I guess "This Tag That Tag" is the way to go then.

    Unless you, wise people, come with a better solution, I guess I'll just select my entire library and run that script during a few hours.

    ROFL!

    This exactly summarizes my view on the subject.

    It's interesting though. Everybody here prefers the "Beatles, The" kind of sorting, while I've found lots of threads in the Apple Support Communities from people complaining about that.

    I guess iTunes worked for a long time the opposite way for a good reason. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #13
    I actually prefer "Beatles, The" sorting. And actually last I checked, that's how it's filed in stores that sell CDs. But of course everyone has their own preferences. I actually made sure all artists were sorted by last name in my collection.
     
  14. JAT, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2014

    JAT macrumors 603

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    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #14
    I've never before heard of anyone that files the Beatles under T in their head. Most of the time they are typed as "the Beatles". Different strokes, I guess. I can't fathom wanting all bands or songs with a "the" under T. This isn't a problem, it is normal sorting that almost everyone wants.
     
  15. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #15
    Hundreds? Really?

    On the other hand, the huge majority of people sort "The Beatles" under the letter B.
     
  16. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #16
    I get excited going to a music store and going through the "THE" section for CDs.
     
  17. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #17
    To be the first artist in that section, you (or your band) would just have to be The. That's better than the A section, on account of the repetitive use of the letter, made popular by plumbers wanting to be first in the yellow pages.
     
  18. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #18
    Yes that would be "THE A..." List
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Location:
    Palookaville
    #19
    Back when I DJ'ed at college radio stations, we could always count on some knucklehead refiling the Steely Dan albums under "d".
     
  20. iRock1, Feb 14, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    iRock1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #20
    Ok. Mission accomplished.

    I'm going to summarize what I did for future reference, just in case (maybe somebody else will find this helpful).

    1. Create a Smart Playlist with the following structure:

    [​IMG]

    Be sure to add a blank space after each term, otherwise you'll be collecting albums that you don't want to include, as "Abbey Road".

    Also you can note that I've added other terms in addition to "The" and "A". This is particularly useful if you have music in other languages.

    2. Right-click on the Smart Playlist that you've just created and select 'Duplicate'. Repeat this step depending on how many fields you want to fix.

    I suggest following a logical order to name each one of these Smart Playlists, just to keep some mental peace. So for example I created: 01 Fix albums, 02 Fix artists, etc.

    3. Edit each of these copied Smart Playlist, modifying just the first column of fields. So, the first Smart Playlist will display Albums, the second one Artists and so on…

    4. Download this script: http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/ss.php?sp=thistagthattag. Open the disk image, follow the instructions and install it.

    5. Go to your first Smart Playlist, select all the tracks with Cmd+A, then go to the Script Menu on the Menu Bar, launch This Tag That Tag, select Copy on the first field, Album (or whatever other field you chose to fix in that particular Smart Playlist) on the second one, and Sort Album on the third one (or the Sort field related to your previous choice). Then just leave the "Delete this tag" field unchecked and click on Proceed.

    [​IMG]

    6. After the Script finishes its work you'll be notified. Then repeat the previous step with the rest of Smart Playlists that you've recently created, just making sure to adjust the right option on the second and third field of This Tag That Tag, depending on the Smart Playlist that you are working with.

    By the way, if you wonder why making different Smart Playlists for each Sort field that you want to correct, it's just a matter of time saving. Otherwise you will have just one huge Smart Playlist, and you'll have to use This Tag That Tag on ALL of its tracks as many times as fields you want to correct.

    So at the end I just prefer to spend 2 additional minutes making individual Smart Playlists.

    That's all you need to rearrange your music, following the old convention used by Apple to index the iTunes Library. Then you are free to delete the Smart Playlists that you've created. But if you want to avoid this "A" and "The" index problem in the future, don't delete those Smart Playlists yet and follow these extra steps:

    7. Drag the content of all those Smart Playlists into a new, simple Playlist. Then select all of the tracks, press Cmd+I and go to the Comments field. Then write there something for future reference, as "Track modified with This Tag That Tag".

    8. Now feel free to remove all those Playlists (Smart Playlists and the regular one that you've just created) and enjoy your new and clean order. If you want to collect all the new tracks that need some modification and that you'll be adding to your library in the future, then just create a new Smart Playlist like this:

    [​IMG]

    Where "Tag" should be one of the keywords introduced by you in step 7. Also make sure that the first column includes all the fields that you want to take care of (personally I recommend selecting Album, Artists¡, Album Artist and Name), and that you have all the desired prefixes covered for each of these fields.

    The End :apple:

    ———

    All of this might sound unnecessarily complicated and difficult, but believe me it's not. The whole process didn't take me more than 20 minutes, which is a good thing compared to how long it would take to manually edit every track on my library containing a field that starts with "The", "A", "Los", etc.

    And finally, please excuse my poor grammar. Obviously I'm not native speaker. :D

    ———

    UPDATE: I've found that iTunes Match tends to restore your tracks' metadata to their original state (what a crappy cloud service, btw). So if you have it enabled, all this changes will be eventually undone. However, if you sync your iPod, iPad or iPhone with iTunes manually via USB –or just use the iTunes library–, it'll be ok.
     
  21. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #21
    I think you did very well. :)

    Just change "I suggest to follow" to "I suggest following", and you've got it. Here's the extent of my second language ability:
     
  22. iRock1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    iRock1

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    #22
    Thanks. I think this might be my first tutorial in English, if I can call it that way. :D
     

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