new to Mac and new to iTunes and need help

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by psywzrd, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. psywzrd macrumors 68030

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #1
    I recently purchased my first Mac and I am attempting to use iTunes for the first time (I've been using Ephpod and Anapod on my Windows PC). Like a lot of Windows PC users, I have my music organized in a directory strutcture where I have 100's of folders each containing multiple mp3 files.

    For example, I have a folder called "Rap" - inside that folder are random rap songs by random artists. I have similar folders for Rock, R&B, etc.

    I also have tons of folders that are my actual albums that I ripped from CDs that I own. For example, I have a folder called "Coldplay X&Y", a folder called "Keane - Under the Iron Sea" etc.

    The way I handle this on my Windows PC is that whenever I sync my ipod, the software automatically creates "playlists" on my ipod based on the names of my directories. In other words, I had playlists on my ipod called Rap, Rock, Coldplay X&Y, etc. This worked great for me because every time I added new songs to any of those directories on my PC, they would automatically get added to my ipod on the next sync.

    iTunes appears to work completely differently and I'm not quite sure how to best utilize the program to suit my needs. Obviously for playlists that are actually just full albums (Coldplay X&Y, etc.), those will never change since I never add songs to them; however, I am constantly adding new songs to my "genre" playlists like Rap, Rock, etc. and I want to make sure that those new songs make it on to my ipods when I sync them with my Mac.

    How would you guys recommend I handle my music via iTunes? I'm very open to suggestions since I'm trying to fully convert from a Windows user to a Mac user, but I also want to make sure iTunes can meet my needs.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #2
    All you need to do is make sure your files are tagged. You don't need any playlists to accomplish what you're talking about here.
     
  3. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #3
    Can you please elaborate a bit? My mp3s are tagged but I'm not sure if the completeness of the tag matters.

    Also, what happens if I have an mp3 that exists in multiple playlists? For example, let's say I have a song that I put in my Miscellaneous directory (that's basically just a mix of every type of music) as well as my Rap directory. How is that handled?
     
  4. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #4
    Wait, you have duplicate files?

    Wow. See, this is the exact place where a metadata-indexed system like iTunes will help you out.

    Since genre, artist and album are important to you, you'll want all your MP3s to be well tagged in those fields (plus title obviously, and probably track number, since you have full albums).

    Because iTunes organizes based on tags, you can use its Browse mode to drill down via whatever category you want. Just want Rap? Click "Rap" in the Genre browse column, and you'll be looking at just tracks tagged as "Rap." Want everything you have by Keane? Click "Keane" in the Artist browse column to see just the tracks by Keane. Want a specific album? Click it in the Album column and you'll be looking at just that album. The columns update too, based on your selections in the other ones. So if you select "Rap" in Genre, only rap artists will appear in Artist, and only their albums will appear in Albums. If you then select a specific artist (let's say Lupe Fiasco, 'cause he's got his go go go go go go go go go go gadget flow), only his albums will show up in Albums.

    Now, if you want a Misc playlist that just has a certain selection of tracks you want, just make a playlist in iTunes and drag songs into it from your Library. You're creating just that—a list, not duplicating files (as you seem to be in your current setup).
     
  5. benlangdon macrumors 65832

    benlangdon

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    Jan 13, 2008
    #5
    you can do a couple things.

    1. put everything in itunes in one folder
    you can have itunes organize your music for you while you can also organize it your self.

    2. add each library separately
    i do not really suggest doing this but if you want me to help you ill show you how

    i really suggest doing it the first way.
    to do it this way, go into preferences click off do not copy music to folder.
    then just move all your music into one folder, it shouldn't really matter about your genre just put them all in the itunes folder, then in itunes go to add to library and add the music in the itunes folder.
    after the add go back to preferences and click add to files to library, and now when you add music just select it and drag over to itunes window and it will add it.

    you can have songs with genres in itunes and you can multi select songs just use shift and ctrl and change all of those selected genres or w/e. you do not need to organize your i tunes folder as if you click organize folder it does it for you and there is no need to mess with those folders.

    every time you add music to itunes it syncs it, or if you change it or w/e.

    i still am kinda lost as to what you want to do.
     
  6. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #6
    Thanks for the replies so far. I guess I should have been a little more clear about what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm really not that concerned with listening to music on my Mac via iTunes since I rarely listen to music on my computer. I'm more interested in how my ipod is going to turn out when I sync it with my Mac for the first time.

    Like most people, I like to listen to my music in a very specific way. I sometimes choose an album and listen to that album only. Other times, I choose a genre (rap, rock, etc.). Sometimes I just want to hear really mellow music and that's when I choose to listen to one of my "Slow Songs" directories which is made up of assorted songs from various artists.

    It sounds like the album aspect of it will be simple enough. I may run into some issues with the other scenarios though. If I'm understanding you guys correctly, I'll have to create a playlist for anything that's not considered a genre (slow songs for example). I may have a slow song that's tagged with a Rock genre so if I want to listen to Rock, I can hear that song. If I want to listen to Slow Songs though, that same Rock song will have to somehow be classified as a slow song and I guess I would need to add it to a playlist, right?
     
  7. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #7
    Album, Genre, and Artist scenarios will be simple. But for something like "slow songs," yes, you'd need to make a playlist (called "Slow Songs" perhaps) and add that song to it. You'd access it by going to Playlists and then choosing that playlist.

    Again, navigating the iPod is pretty much the same as navigating iTunes. If you go into "Genre" on the iPod, it will show you all the artists in that genre, and then when you select one, their albums. If you wanted to listen to Coldplay's X&Y, you could get to it by going into Artists, then choosing Coldplay, then choosing X&Y.
     
  8. benlangdon macrumors 65832

    benlangdon

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    Jan 13, 2008
    #8
    yup pretty much.
    playlists are your friends, along with genre

    you could always have a playlist according to how you rate the song, but i never found a reason to do that as its to much work really

    itunes will take care of you wether you listen to it on your computer or ipod, it will pretty much be the same for both
     
  9. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #9
    Is there an easy way to have iTunes automatically import new songs that I've added to a playlist? For example, let's say I purchase a new song that I want to add to the "Slow Songs" directory on my Mac (it will obviously be tagged under whatever genre). Will iTunes automatically detect that a new song has been added to the Slow Songs directory and then add it to the Slow Songs playlist or do I have to manually add it to the playlist in iTunes?
     
  10. benlangdon macrumors 65832

    benlangdon

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    #10
    kinda vague as to what your doing but...
    yes if you add a song and your smart playlist is those songs it will add it.
    thats why its called a smart playlist
     
  11. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #11
    You add songs to iTunes first. Then you add to a playlist. I believe there are some Applescripts that will act like watch folders, but just for the Library at large.

    Think of the iTunes Library as your music folder. From there, placing the song in the Slow Songs playlist is like putting it in the directory. iTunes is designed to eschew the static "files/folders" metaphor you've been using to organize, so you really have to break out of that mold of thinking. Optimally, the goal is that you will never think about or worry over the folders that your music lives in, and just use the library to sift through your collection in a more flexible fashion.
     
  12. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

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    Apr 11, 2003
    #12
    You need to release the idea of organizing things this way in the finder. Let iTunes do the work and keep it organized for you.

    In iTunes, you can make smart playlists that will automatically contain songs that meet the criteria you have set. For instance, genre = Slow Songs. But in the finder, this is not how they will be organized. And for that, you should not care. The organizational power of iTunes will over time far outstrip any organizational methods you could do manually in the file browser.

    Set iTunes to copy music to the iTunes folder, set it to 'keep music organized', import all you music, and say goodbye to the finder.
     
  13. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #13
    I understand what you guys are saying about letting iTunes organize my music for me but doesn't it still make sense for me to maintain some type of directory structure in Finder rather than just lumping everything into one directory?
     
  14. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

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    #14
    No- Itunes will keep the finder tidy as well. You don't dump it all into a directory, you dump it all into iTunes. It will sort it in the finder on it's own, but that's not important.
     

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  15. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #15
    Love the BBD in there!

    I guess I just need to let go of my bad Windows habits and let iTunes do the work for me. I'll need to go through my mp3s and make sure they're all tagged correctly first though. It sounds like I have some work ahead of me but hopefully once that's done I won't have to worry about it again.
     
  16. benlangdon macrumors 65832

    benlangdon

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    Jan 13, 2008
    #16
    its pretty easy to change song names and artists

    basically when using os x
    let it do the work for you.
    it just works
     
  17. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #17
    Sorry for bumping an old thread but I had put this whole itunes thing on the backburner for a while to concentrate on other things. Anyway, I need to get itunes going so that I can sync my ipod (I've gotten a lot of new music in the past few months). I need help though. What I want to do before I import my music into itunes is figure out how I can make sure itunes creates the playlists I need.

    For example, I have a folder on my Mac that is called Rock & Alernative. Within that folder I have a bunch of mp3s that I consider Rock & Alternative (they aren't necessarily tagged as such under genre though). What is the best way for me to import these songs into itunes and then create a smart playlist called "Rock & Alternative" that includes all of these songs? I know I can add them to the playlist one at a time but there has to be an easier way. Also, how can I set it up so that one song is automatically added to two or more smart playlists? For example, let's say I have a song that I want to add to both my Rock & Alternative playlist as well as another playlist called Miscellaneous. Is there a way for me to tag the song in some way so that itunes knows to add it to both the Rock & Alternative playlist as well as the Miscellaneous playlist? I know you can set up smart playlists so that itunes automatically adds songs that fit certain criteria but can you tag your mp3 in such a way so that itunes can add the same song to more than one playlist?
     
  18. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    Apr 19, 2005
    #18
    I have separate smart playlists for genres of 'rock', 'pop', 'latin', etc. If I have a song that I want to go into all of those I just separate their genre with commas like - 'rock, pop, latin' in the 'get info' window within iTunes. You can do mass changes (again within iTunes) by sorting your columns in different ways and click -shift click to select multiple songs and change all the selected items from the 'get info' iTunes window.
     
  19. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #19

    I think I understand what you're saying. Let's say I have 100 songs that I want to be put into a playlist called Rock & Alternative and another playlist called "Miscellaneous". I would first need to tag each of those 100 songs under the genre tag so that each of them has both Rock & Alternative and Miscellaneous listed as the genre. Then I create a smart playlist for Rock & Alternative that says add any songs with Rock & Alternative in the genre to this playlist. Does that sound right?
     
  20. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    Apr 19, 2005
    #20
    You're pretty much on the right track. But in my case you wouldn't have direct control of '100' songs. The smart playlist will automatically select ALL songs that meet the parameters you set in your smart playlist. For your example say you have a song that you genre tag as song 'rock, alternative, miscellaneous'. Then you create a smart playlist that selects Both 'rock' AND 'alternative' and you create another smart playlist that selects ' miscellaneous' and another smart playlist that selects ONLY 'rock'. Your song would populate ALL of those playlists.
     
  21. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #21
    Gotcha. I guess the problem is that any song that is tagged as Rock & Alternative will end up in the playlist even if I don't necessarily want it to. I'll have to be really careful as to how I tag everything so that I don't get songs I don't want in these smart playlists.
     
  22. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    Apr 19, 2005
    #22
    Yes, tagging is THE key to smart playlists. I would suggest separating 'rock & alternative' and have three playlists. One for each and one for both. Remember that you can do mass changes as described earlier. This is particularly useful for genre and for ensuring that 'artist' is spelled exactly the same for all appropriate songs.

    This forum link might also be of interest:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=493564&highlight=bdj33ranch
     
  23. psywzrd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #23
    How can I do mass editing of tags without actually importing the songs into itunes? Is that possible or do I have to bring them into itunes first? What I'm thinking about doing is finding a field other than genre that isn't really being used and use that as my "playlist" field (I'll point my smart playlists to that field). I could use the Grouping field.
     
  24. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    #24
    That is outside my limited knowledge. I have only worked iTunes files from within iTunes. I do know that between using various column sorts in the iTunes Music folder, using the 'get info' and setting up various parameters for Smart Playlists that I have my iTunes working quite well for me. You can select which columns will display in your iTunes Music folder (View Options). Once I decided to move away from 'managing folders' and 'non-smart' playlists it only took me a couple of evenings to reorganize my music (about 3300 songs) to take advantage of the database power in iTunes. Let me acknowledge 'killmoms', 'benlangdon' and others whose forum posts got me started down a much better path of doing things with iTunes a few months ago. You might want to search for forum posts by them.
     
  25. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

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    Apr 19, 2005
    #25
    >>I could use the Grouping field.

    Pondering your thought. You might consider the 'star rating' field. There is nothing that says it HAS to be used to indicate how much you like a particular song. So it could give you six sorting options within a particular genre.
     

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