My iTunes music files are messy. How to reorganize everything all over again?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by hajime, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Hello. I am a "sort-of" new iTunes user. I used to use it to play music without care of how to use it properly. Since I did not want to carry many CDs around, I copied all the CDs into the HD of my MBP. For simplicity, let's say I named the folder of the first and second CDs to be CD1, CD2. I don't remember how I stored the files. Either by drag and drop to the list when iTunes is launched or by some kind of import function from iTunes. The files in the iTunes folder do not seem to correspond to those shown on the iTunes list. My music files are all over the places. Some in the library folders and some seem to be in the playlist. Some of them seem to be in the unknown artist folder, etc. It is like a mess. As I just bought the IPT, I want to re-organize the files before syncing the music files from my MBP to the IPT. What is the best way to do in this case? Thanks.
  2. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    First of all, are all the items in your library in the iTunes folder, or scattered elsewhere? If not, you can copy everything from their original locations into the iTunes folder by consolidating your library (iTunes > File > Library > Organise Library > Consolidate Files). Of course, there must be enough disk space available, as it will leave the originals where they are. You can delete the originals after consolidating if you wish.

    Then, the easiest way to organise the iTunes folder is to let iTunes deal with it (Preferences > Advanced > Keep iTunes Folder Organized). Now all you have to do is make sure everything is tagged correctly, and let iTunes sort out the rest.
  3. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thanks for the reply. Under the "Music folder", there is an iTunes folder. Within it, there is a folder called "iTunes Music". Some of the music files are within the subfolders of this "iTunes Music" folder. Meanwhile, under the "Music folder", there are several folders (e.g. CD1, CD2, CD3) along with the iTunes folder.

    What is the best action in this case?
  4. macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2009
    Jolly Jimmy,--Thanks for the tips.

    I too am in a similar boat except I'm about to make the switch to an iMac and I want to clean things up to make a fresh start.

    My iTunes library scattered across multiple disks. However, my C drive is about full so I can't let iTunes organize things for me. Any thoughts? Is there an easy way to change/move/migrate my files to say an external hard drive?
  5. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    This is what I would do, if I was in your situation.

    I never used iTunes before i got my Mac last year. I would use winamp and just make folders for my music..

    Now everything is organized in iTunes library.

    When are you getting your new iMac?
    I would move all your music to your external HD, and keep it all there. Then when you get your iMac, just simply connect your HD up and drag it over to iTunes. You will no doubt need to change info under "get info" on some of the songs, but whatever:) .
  6. instaxgirl macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Edinburgh, UK
    Like Jolly Jimmy said, you want to consolidate your library.

    Right now all the music files on your hard drive, wherever they might be, are imported into iTunes right? So you can play the tracks in iTunes but the individual files are just stored in folders all over the place?

    Consolidating your library takes all the tracks imported into your iTunes library and copies them into the "iTunes Music" folder (within which files are stored in folders based on artist). After that check the "keep library organised" option that Jolly Jimmy directed you to. This means that every new file you import into iTunes will also be copied into the iTunes Music folder.

    Once you have done this you will not need all the random CD1, CD2 folders you have strewn all over your hard drive. As long as the files in those folders were imported into iTunes before you pressed consolidate they will now be stored in the iTunes Music folder. Therefore you can delete all those random files and folders.

    After you've taken these steps every new file you import into iTunes simply needs to be dragged and dropped into iTunes and it will be stored in the Music folder. You do not need to make anymore random CD1 etc folders. iTunes will manage your files for you.
  7. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thank you very much for the advice. I consolidated the files. When I went to Preferences > Advanced, I found that the option of "Keep iTunes Folder Organized" has already been checked. When I clicked music under library on the left, there is a music icon (in a square box) with the name unknown artist. There are 111 pieces of album and 151 songs. What shall I do next? It seems that iTunes is unable to find the artists for these albums/songs.
  8. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    Now you need to tag your tracks with the correct info (song name, album name, track number, etc...) within itunes. Select the song(s) you want to edit the tags for and hit cmd + I.
  9. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thanks Jolly Jimmy. Do you mean doing it one by one manually?
    Will it be faster if I somehow start fresh with iTunes (perhaps delete the program and reinstall?), copy all the music files/folders to an USB drive, group them as if they were like the physical CDs and then import to iTunes?
  10. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    Unfortunately iTunes can only grab the song info when you rip from the individual CD's, so re-installing or re-adding already ripped songs will not help. There are programs than can help with tagging if you are having trouble doing it manually, like Media Monkey, but don't quote me on the reliability of such apps, as I've never used one myself.
  11. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thanks for the advice. How about burning each folder of files back to a CD and then reinstalling everything? Will that help?

    When I double clicked the unknown artist icon, a long list of artworks is shown. In the list, there is a CD title followed by 19 songs from the original CD. Strangely, after this artwork, each song is listed as an individual artwork. Is iTunes being confused?
  12. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Also, what shall I do with the original playlist after consolidation? I see something like "CD1", "CD2", etc. Is it better not to manually add/delete files in the "iTunes Music" folder as this might mess up everything?
  13. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    You don't need to touch the music folder. Any edits you make in the itunes library will be reflected there. Messing with the folder will break the links itunes has to it.
  14. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a


    Dec 27, 2008
    You are able to rename multiple albums/artists by selecting the whole hog of them. I spent many an hour a long time a go, sorting my itunes library out like this. 50/60 gigs worth, and it was a mess lol!

    If your on itunes 9.0.1 you can also make your itunes folder alot more organised than it is by default. by going itunes>file>library>organise library. It will automatically consolidate the itunes library into the same folder, and then also organise the folders for as well. 2 checkboxes come up asking you what you want to do.

    If you then go back into finder, on your mac at least- dont quote me on this for PC it will be all in order. A folder for applications (iphone/ipod for instance) videos, tv shows, music, stuff to automatically add- i think this is where you download stuff off itunes store and quit before it adds to the library.

    Good Luck, it sounds like your library isnt as big as some others on this board, so it shouldnt be too hard-comparitively speaking at least :)

  15. macsarethebest macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2009
    You wouldn't be able to do this because when you burn a cd it burns the info you have, so when you import it, it will be the exact same thing you burned. ;) good luck with what the others said, though! :D
  16. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thank you very much for all of your replies. Under Consolidate Files in the Organize Library window, there is an option of file organization method (upgrading to iTunes Media). Should I check that as well?
  17. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    The iTunes Media organisation method puts different media kinds into their own seperate folders instead of everything being in the music folder. If you only use iTunes for music (like me) then it's not necessary to upgrade to the new sorting method.
  18. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    Thank you for the advice. I plan to use iTunes for both music and videos. So, I checked on the option about file organization method.

    Under Music->Unknown Artist-> Unknown Album, I see a lot of music files are repeated. For instance:

    1 Dashing Tree
    1 Dashing Tree 1
    1 Wandering
    1 audio track
    01 track 01 2.m4a
    01 track 01 3.m4a
    01 track 01 4.m4a
    01 track 01.m4a

    Why there are repeated files? Could you please let me know how to solve this problem? I suppose that it is not a good idea to manually delete the files myself. Thanks.
  19. Freis968 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2007
    Winter Park, Florida
    I am having this same issue but figure that if I hit that Consolidate Library option I am going to end up with about 300GB of files with no information about my tracks. I have a library of 677GB currently and I have them all tagged and set up the way I want them however I also have, like the thread starter, an iTunes folder and an iTunes Music folder within that folder that has total albums and some folders with only one or so song in them from another album within the main iTunes folder.

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