iTunes file organization... possible to change?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by bcslippers, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. bcslippers macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #1
    Just as it is easy to manipulate how to view your library in iTunes, is there a way (even if it requires other software) to reorganize the files themselves by a different category such as artist? I am not at all a fan of the current organization and it is making me regret letting iTunes organize my music...

    any help would be appreciated, as it is something I would even pay for! After I gave iTunes the chance to organize it, there is just no way I can put in the time to reorganize it manually by artist.
     
  2. samh004 macrumors 68020

    samh004

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    I'm not sure I understand. You can add different fields to the top of each playlist including your library and by clicking on them you can choose to sort by them.
     
  3. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #3
    Ahh, I guess I wasn't clear enough... I understand how easy it is to reorganize within iTunes... via that exact method

    However, when it comes to the actual file organization (how each file is stored on the hard disk)... this is what I want to change to arrange by artist
     
  4. MurphyM macrumors 6502

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #4
    I'm confused because in both posts you make it sound like you want to organize by artist. Which is what itunes does.

    How do you want it organized?
     
  5. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #5
    Same here.

    By default, iTunes should make a folder for each artist, then in each artist folder, it should have subfolders for each album. Then each MP3 is stored as "track# songname.mp3".

    I never look at the actual physical files (except when people have a question like this).

    If I need to copy a physical MP3 file for some reason, I select the songs in iTunes and drag them to my desktop, then do whatever to them.
     
  6. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #6
    iTunes is organizing my files/folders on the HD by Album Artist (which does not make sense to me)...

    which is creating over three times the folders as is necessary...
     
  7. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #7
    Unless you are regularly going into the folder system of your library you shouldn't be concerned about how many folders there are, they almost take no space and do not slow down the computer at all.

    That said, there is no way to have iTunes re-sort the files. But you can set iTunes to not manage your music and manage it manually yourself. Then you can have any sorting scheme you want.

    I also realize that both these answers are not what you are looking for, but they are the only options I know of.
     
  8. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #8
    better than no advice at all... thanks. i had a feeling iTunes couldn't do it.

    it seems like a very odd choice to me that apple would choose to arrange their folders by album_artist instead of artist, especially when the iPod presets do not include viewing by album_artist (you have to change your preferences) and viewing by artist is the first option! it is really a shame.

    anyone know of third party software? it doesn't seem like something that is too far-fetched... just replacing one tag with another in the pathnames... anyone else have suggestions?
     
  9. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #9
    So let me just restate what you're saying for clarification. When a song has no album artist listed, iTunes organizes the mp3 files on your hard drive by

    Code:
    V Artist name
         >Album title

    But when the song's mp3 album artist field is filled in iTunes creates folders on your hard disk that are organized like

    Code:
    V Album Artist name
         >Album title

    And you're saying that even when the album artist field is filled in you want iTunes to always organize the folders on your hard disk in the first manner show above instead of in the latter manner.

    Correct? If so, there are several possible solutions. But before any of us, including you, go to any trouble to figure it out, lets figure out if this is at all important. Why do you care about how iTunes organizes the mp3 folders on your hard drive?
     
  10. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #10
    very clear, thank you and that is exactly what i am saying. a correct hierarchical structure is vital when using non-iTunes players. also, in other applications (let's say you want to make a DVD or even add music to a presentation as two quick examples), the user is prompted to make music selections by accessing these folders. thanks for your help!
     
  11. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #11
    If you don't care about the info in the "album artist" field then you could just delete the info in that field and then have iTunes copy your library which would create a new folder structure that's the way you want it. However you'd need to be sure that whenever you add new music to your library that it has the album artist name cleared first before adding it into iTunes.

    How are you getting music that has different info in the artist and album artist fields anyway? In my experience they're almost always identical.
     
  12. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #12
    Just as a side note...if you have a large collection of music, manually navigating to the song wouldn't be the fastest way anyway, of course.

    It would be faster to...
    • Use the search bar inside the dialog box when you're trying to import music into the other program
    • Find the song in iTunes, click on "show in finder," then drag that folder into the dialog box when you're trying to import music into the other program
    • Spotlight the file, then drag that folder into the dialog box when you're trying to import music into the other program

    That being said, it is weird that it is organizing it like it is...
     
  13. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #13
    I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, I need all of the tags I can get my hands on to accurately tag jazz and classical music (both of which I have tons of).

    Just standardizing which international spelling of a famous composer is a challenge. From one piece of music (always in jazz and classical, but could easily happen in rock and hip hop), I may have 5 or 6 different versions by different album artists. i use artist, album artist, and composer and would like to keep all three of those tags.
     
  14. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #14
    i would be up for the challenge of which is quicker if i were able to organize my folders by artist (especially if my iTunes is closed when I need to find the file)... until then, though, this is a great idea that i would not have thought of. thanks.

    it is INCREDIBLY weird. especially since the artist copies the album_artist string if artist=null... but not the other way around. iTunes seems to have no problem having album_artist=null as long as there is an artist. in fact, it all seems like an accident that nobody cares enough about (which is fair). i can't think of any reason that album_artist would be preferred... there has to be one but i certainly can't think of one
     
  15. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    Dec 2, 2003
    #15
    In that case I suggest you just set iTunes to manual file management instead of auto management. It'd be almost just as easy and you could organize things however you like on the hard drive.
     
  16. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #16
    agreed, but does anyone know of third party software that will do this... it is a mess right now and i don't have the time to go through 100+gb... any other ideas besides manually doing it myself would be appreciated.
     
  17. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

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    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #17
    Uhh...

    Who cares how your music is organized in your Music Folder? If you need a song, drag it out of iTunes onto your desktop, do with it what you will and then delete it.

    Simple.
     
  18. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #18

    in addition to you probably not reading through the thread to read quick & useful reasons to know where your music is, what about those who care about archiving and backup. it seems like on the average computer, music libraries take up the largest amount of disk space and are among the most important. if you want to back up these files, why wouldn't you want them organized neatly and correctly.

    what if iTunes does not remain a leader in computer applications? i know it is far-fetched for some to think that apple does not provide the best of everything, but what if a better application comes out? it doesn't seem like it would be hard for apple (or a lot of programmers) to swap out tags (album_artist with artist) in an auto-generated path name, so maybe someone has already done it. why shouldn't both parties be satisfied when it is just changing one field name? it isn't like i am asking apple to do the impossible. i would bet that the people that care about where their music is and how it is organized would be just as happy, if not WAY happier, if it were organized by artist instead of album_artist.

    the overarching point is not why would i care... there is little to no effort required to make iTunes MUCH better in this respect and i am not alone here, so why not help those who care?
     
  19. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #19
    Artist = the default tag that has existed for YEARS to define who created the track, hence album artist being copied to it if it's null. Since Album Artist is an extended (read: extra) field, it has lower priority.

    As for why you'd want album artist preferred, I'd imagine it's intended for things like hip-hop albums, which often have featured artists on many tracks. You might want to list the artists working on the individual track in the "Artist" field (say Lupe Fiasco & Sarah Green), but the track is from an album that is credited to just Lupe Fiasco, so you'd set that in the "Album Artist" field. That way the album would appear in the Lupe Fiasco folder in your iTunes structure.

    The only downside to THAT is that it doesn't solve the "Genre > Artist > Album" hierarchy which is hard-coded into iTunes' Browse mode, so you end up with a lot of "Lupe Fiasco & [whoever]" entries in your Artist list. Plus you run into complications doing "Album by Artist" that way, I believe. One would assume you'd typically want to browse by the least granular methods, not the most granular ones. In that case it'd make more sense for the "Artist" area to be "Album Artist" or at least switchable to it.

    In any case, there's still no perfect solution that works well on both the file structure and iTunes organization sides.
     
  20. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #20
    You're right, I didn't read the entire thread before replying. Your request makes a bit more sense now. My apologies for the flippant remark.
     
  21. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #21
    Again though, it seems like your cares about file on disk organization are not actually an issue. Any half way reasonable music library program will be just as unconcerned about actual mp3 file location and organization as iTunes is, because they all will do their browser song sorting according to info tags rather than actual file name or location. Meaning if you want to use a program besides iTunes, you'll just be able to drop your entire disorganized or 'incorrectly' organized mp3 folder onto the new program and it'll still import and sort all your songs correctly in its browser. So your concern about long term song organization independent of program consistency is unfounded.

    Regarding your concerns about file backup organization, that is equally as unfounded for similar reasons. If you ever need to restore your library from a back up, it wouldn't matter how the files are organized because every music library program will just import the whole folder and then sort your songs in its browser according to the mp3's info tags. And if you're imagining needing to find a particular song or artist individually inside your backups then the file folder organization is equally unimportant because in that case you'll be doing a search to find it anyway, and OS X lets you search by mp3 info tags directly through the OS. So you could use spotlight or time machine or whatever to search just for files with the mp3 info tag of 'album is "Thriller" ' or whatever.

    So while I understand your feeling that you want your mp3 files organized in a particular way on your hard drive, I still can't really imagine an occasion where it will matter at all.
     
  22. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #22
    by your logic, a new application that is better than iTunes would solve the problem. fine... i should hope so. but doesn't it make sense for me to ask if this problem has been addressed rather than just waiting to find the right application that does it for me? it isn't a matter of long-term song organization as much as it is probably not hard to do and should be done (or may have already been done by now).



    fine, the two previous points that i brought up spur-of-the-moment without spending the time to think all the way through do have ways around them. i would like to think that we don't need to pick on the question, but just answer it. i could keep trying... what if i want to bring my library in but i can't download iTunes on my day-job computer (true story by the way, but fortunately i have an iPod)?

    my overall point still stands... it is just changing a field name and it will make the application better. has this been done and/or can someone help me do it?

    no need to waste time questioning or proving wrong... i'll bet that i am not the only person who would prefer it this way and it WOULD be an improvement. so, has anyone done this?

    also, i don't have OS X until i buy the mac pro later this month so i do not know any OS X features. if the mac did not have such a stranglehold on the music/film industry then i probably would not have to make the switch like i do now. even if OS X can search through the mess... my point is why have the mess to begin with? it is just as easy to not have it...
     
  23. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    Dec 2, 2003
    #23
    I think you're misunderstanding me. iTunes already does what I'm talking about, as do all other music library programs. I'm talking about browsing through the music library program, not browsing the files on your disk through the finder.
     
  24. bcslippers thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #24
    i do understand that the browser w/in the app can solve most uses... that is why my next word after the quote was "fine." you made a fine point but it is not really what i want to talk about in this thread. i agree with it. iTunes does it AND any future application will certainly do it (or it will be far less capable). however, my question still remains unanswered:

    iTunes currently organizes as follows: library/album_artist/album/track.

    instead, it makes more sense (and i would like my files to be organized as follows): library/artist/album/track. it is just swapping out one field name out of the tag into the path (i think old versions of iTunes used this method as well).

    is there a script that can accomplish this or does anyone have any ideas as to how to do this? it is WAY cleaner and is not unthinkable to accomplish. any help you can provide would be appreciated. i am not willing to spend a week reorganizing these files manually, especially when i think that someone may have solved this by now. thanks.
     
  25. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #25
    There's only 2 things I can think of that might achieve what you want. You can search versiontracker.com and macupdate.com to see if anyone wrote a program or script to do what you want. Or you can write a script (such as something like a .bat file if you aren't a Mac user yet) that'll change the folders to the way you want.
     

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