iTunes – shortcomings and bugs in the Apple music database

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by nss.aries, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. nss.aries macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2009
    I don't know what you think about it, but I find itunes very dated and poorly supported. For a number of updates the one thing that Apple was concerned was the integration with Ping (...) and the Store, in essence only improve what can give direct profit, without caring much about the user experience.

    I find unbelievable that the main music database software does not allow to tag artist or genre fields with keywords, so that "synth pop" and "electro pop" are considered to be totally different, or that a collaboration between two artists is not recognized as belonging to both, but to a "third" kind of artist. Or that someone can not decide for himself the hierarchy to sort a playlist, but can only use the default ones in the column headings. These are probably issues that relate to a minority share of users, but I'm sure there are others Rate Your Music fetishists besides me that use this software.

    That said (and the hope that some Apple developer might read this is weak but not dead) I expose you my current problem.

    Until recently, I used only the mac speakers and I did not care much about quality when I ripped my CDs to MP3 file. I recently bought a decent sound system and I began to feel the difference between 128kbps and 320kbps (I know, I know, maybe I was deaf), so I decided to re-encode my CDs to a higher quality.

    For "statistic" reasons I like to keep count of the plays of the songs and especially the date on which I added them to iTunes, but these are data that you cannot change in the file, then to update a file without resetting these info (by adding the new file to the library and deleting the old one) I'm forced to manually replace the file to which the itunes entry points to.

    Doing this, however, I often encounter problems, the most common of which is the duration of the song that is not updated, so iTunes marks other than the actual total, and once brought to ipod it often jumps to the next song too soon, as if the piece were cut, because obviously the procedure creates bugs.

    Is there anyone else who has tried to do a similar operation?
    How did you solve?

    Thank you,

    (I would like this thread to be used also for other iTunes related issues, I know you too have tons of them)

    P.S. I hope my English is not too terrible and that is at least understandable, sorry if it is not.
  2. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    Assuming you're importing from CD when you're upgrading the sound quality of your tracks, you just need to make sure the metadata lines up with the metadata of the already existing track in iTunes. To do this easily I use the script "Copy Info Tracks to Tracks" from Doug's iTunes Scripts. When the metadata info matches up iTunes offers to replace the existing file, which saves your play counts, ratings, artwork, etc for the track.

    As for not having certain metadata fields, I just repurpose other fields that I don't use (Category, Description, Sort Show, etc.), that gives you 45 different points of data entry for every track, which should be plenty for just about anyone.

    And your complaint about multi-artist tracks confuses me, in the database itself (iTunes) it comes up when you search for either one, so in that sense it "belongs" to both. Sure on the backend it has be filed in one or the other, but why look there? I suppose they could clutter things up with aliased files in both artists folders, but the whole concept of most databases is that you don't look "behind the curtain".
  3. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    I understand both sides of this discussion. I've repurposed certain unused fields for grouping media together. However, I have felt the pain of having to "force" a genre onto songs that could be classified in more than one.

    The only way for Apple to allow multiple genres per track or "true" multiple artists per track, or to allow tracking album plays as opposed to single track plays, would be to transform iTunes's current XML-based, flat-file database into a relational, multi-table one. This would be a major rewrite, however.
  4. nss.aries, Mar 1, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011

    nss.aries thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2009
    Exactly, dXTC ;) But I think the right time is now, i can see why Apple doesn't want to link with RYM or such things, but these updates are essential in 2011. Not Ping.
    Also: if the same track is in two different albums, there's no way to put it on both of them without re-adding the song.
    The double-artist issue comes with the iPod artist selection menu, for example if I go under "Brian Eno" albums i can't find his "The Plateaux of Mirrors" album, 'cause it's under "Harold Budd & Brian Eno" artist name. This is stupid.

    There are other things I would like to have in itunes (colors? A way to split a song into several parts with names and precise playing time, maybe in an expandable list by clicking on the track, to be used for example in progressive rock suites? Here perhaps we are already too far ahead, but in an ideal software designed by me, such things should be implemented), but these instead are essentials.

    I have to say I doesn't know well the script scene, I have to look after it. And yes, I could convert some fields to the information I need, but doing it now on a library of 5000 songs maybe it's complicated;)

    Reggae: i will try asap your method. Maybe with re-rips it's easier (even if sometimes I cut them differently and this create bugs), but I also have downloaded mp3 added years & years ago slightly different in duration from the CD versions I got now.

    Only when ripping? If I add manually the mp3s i get no notice.

    Obviously if you only buy songs from the Apple Store you may not even see many of these problems, but that is the fictionary Apple World only good for adv and keynotes: with 10€ I buy physical albums, maybe digipacks or limited editions, from webshops, and they give me much more satisfaction of the files on apple store, the only mp3 I buy are by independent artists from their store or Bandcamp pages that are not even covered on iTunes.
  5. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    Don't I know it, I'm currently updating my library to lossless and adding in Producer, label, catalog number, etc. to each of my 70,000 or so tracks.
  6. nss.aries thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2009
    That's insane :p

    And you have new lossless files with the same duration of the old ones?
  7. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    iTunes doesn't require the tracks to be of the same length to replace when importing form disc (as far as I can tell it bases it on track name, artist, album artist, maybe on or two other fields, it used to require the same disc number, but I don't think it does anymore).

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