Sorting Out My iTunes Library

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by simontarr, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. simontarr, Dec 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2010

    simontarr macrumors 6502

    simontarr

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    Over the years, I have amassed GBs worth of music, spread over many different iTunes libraries, as a result of having desktops, laptops, replacement machines etc. When I first started my collection, I stupidly "let iTunes manage my library" which has resulted in all my tracks being put into thousands of different folders because iTunes likes to create a separate folder for each artist.

    I was wondering if there was any way of exporting all my music in the iTunes database to a new location, organised by album. eg. A State of Trance 2010 Yearmix being exported to a folder called that, not each of the 80 tracks going into a separate artist folder.

    If this can be done, I'm hoping to consolidate my music collection into one library, once and for all!

    It's probably worth noting that I'm now on Windows, but I thought I would ask here as iTunes is an Apple product. I have access to a Mac should I need to do anything "Mac-specific" to make this happen.

    Many thanks.

    Tune up looks like a promising piece of software. However, it only seems to clean up the music files themselves, not their organisation within my music folder. Does anyone have any experience with it?

    Sorted!!

    I'm sure there are loads of people out there that would like me reorganise the file structure of their music after iTunes obliterates it...so here's what I did.

    1) Downloaded Songbird. What a great application! It has addons!

    2) Went into the applications options. (Tools >> Options)

    3) Selected the 'Manage Files' tab.

    4) Ticked the box to 'Allow Songbird to manage files'. In the 'Structure Folders' section underneath I changed it to 'Album/Song Files'.

    5) Clicked OK at the bottom to save changes and Songbird then wizzed through my collection and put all my music into Album folders!

    6) Uninstall iTunes.
     
  2. scooterguitar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #2
    I'd like something similar, but still want to run itunes. I dislike the rearranging as well. Mostly bothers me with mixed albums or cllections. Say a tribute album to an artist, I want that album in-tact, not sorted into different folders by the other artists.
     
  3. PatrickCocoa macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    #3
    Glad your issue was resolved

    Glad your issue was resolved, but long term the concept of files is going away.

    By long term I mean the next 10 years or so. By "the concept of files going away" I don't mean that the files themselves will go away, but that they will not be exposed to the user.

    In 10 years or so, all applications will handle their data internally and not let you see what's going on. The reason is that people have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of files on their computer. The computer is supposed to do things for you (for example play music), not require or allow you to spend time organizing the files.

    This will be the next generational divide - the old people (people over, say, 20 years) like you and me will be all "WHAT? I need access to the file structure! I want to organize my music/photos/saved games however I want!" and the youngsters will be all "whatever".
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #4
    iTunes handles this two ways
    1. by the "Part of a Compilation" flag, albums go under Compilations/<Album Name> or
    2. Album Artist where the album would go under <Album Artist>/<Album Name>

    Pick your poison.

    B
     
  5. simontarr thread starter macrumors 6502

    simontarr

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #5
    Is there are way to stop that altogether?

    For example, one could use the above method to get all their tracks into Album folders, import it back into iTunes "as is" so that it doesn't change all the folders?

    I haven't tried this myself but would be interested to know.
     
  6. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    #6
    I see these threads pop-up frequently. What I can never figure out is why people need to change the iTunes database structure. Is this because you are putting the music onto non-Apple devices want access to the album song order?
     
  7. simontarr, Dec 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2010

    simontarr thread starter macrumors 6502

    simontarr

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #7
    That's an interesting thought, I can't say I have thought about it before. I could certainly see it happening.

    That's part of the reason, yes. I own a HTC Hero and it's easy to just cherry pick the folders that I want in Finder/Windows Explorer when I want some new music on my device.

    Another reason is that sometimes I just happen to use Finder/Explorer to browse my music. No idea why, but I do!
     
  8. scooterguitar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #8
    I'm not quite getting this. Can't find how to change that preference. I right clicked on one song from a compilation and chose album by album, it did it, but then from the main music menu it didn't show up.
    I see the compilations selection under artists, click that and there are only 7 shown, likely have 50. How to assign others?
     
  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #9
    Select all tracks from the same album, Get Info, Options, Part of a Compilation -> YES.

    Note that the step along the path PatrickCocoa was describing is to open iTunes, use iTunes to find the tracks you want and use "Show in Finder/Explorer" to reveal the actual location of the files. You can also select tracks in iTunes and just drag them to the USB device of your choosing. This is what I do when I load up the USB flash drive for the headunit in my car.

    B
     
  10. simontarr thread starter macrumors 6502

    simontarr

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #10
    Thing is, on my Windows machine, I like to use Winamp if possible because it's so lightweight. I think the folders need to be more organised when I'm browsing using that.

    I think I'm going to look into this further when I get back to my main machine (it's in my room at uni, at the moment). I do like iTunes, just not how it organises the back end.
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #11
    Yeah, the point is that you should never have to see the back end. Organization should be handled by metadata (i.e. the tags in the files) not the directory structure.

    It could be A LOT worse. They could use the format they use on iPods etc... which is all based on hashes.

    B
     
  12. scooterguitar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
  13. simontarr thread starter macrumors 6502

    simontarr

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #13
    I know but I just find it unnecessary having millions of folders littered on my hard drive. On top of this, if I ever want to switch media players for whatever reason, I'm going to have a mess of a music folder.

    As most of my music is in the form of compilations, I have hundrerds of mix CDs with thousands and thousands of different artists...I just don't want them being organised by artist.

    Anyway, I'm giving Songbird a run-out for a while. It doesn't meddle with my file structure, syncs to my phone and has add-ons that you can download to improve the functionality of the program, with more themes and functionality being added daily. Looks good.
     

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