Ultimate iTunes Music organization

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jayrobinson, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. jayrobinson macrumors newbie


    Sep 8, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    My iTunes library has always been immaculate. And I intend to keep it that way.

    However, one thing I've always struggled with is how to group songs with multiple artists. I've found a way I like, but I'd like to hear what you have to say as well.

    Name : Song Titles Only, No Featured Artists, Always In Title Case (Acoustic Version/Remix/Live)
    Artist : Artist
    Album Artist : Artist
    Album : Album
    Grouping : f/ Artist 1, Artist 2, Artist 3, etc.
    Composer : Producer/Song Writer if possible

    This way works for me. The Song Name column is shorter and cleaner, and featured artists will be accessible by search if the Grouping column is shown. Also, I understand I could include all artists featured on the song in the Artist field, then group the album under one Album Artist... however then you could not use the Browse feature very effectively, as your Artists browse list would now look like (for example):

    • ...
    • Jay-Z
    • Jay-Z f/ Big Boi, Killer Mike, Twista
    • Jay-Z f/ Dr. Dre, Rakim, Truth Hurts
    • Jay-Z f/ Notorious BIG, Faith Evans
    • ...

    And that wouldn't be very fun. So, what do you do?
  2. ScootPatoot macrumors regular

    May 16, 2008
    Name : Song Title [Remix] (if needed, or type of remix in [])
    Artist : All Artists on the particular song
    Album Artist : Album Artist
    Album : Album
    Grouping : Currently left blank, not sure what I would put here to make it more organized
    Composer : Currently blank, unless auto-filled when importing

    Yes, I know the grouping is all screwed up this way but I haven't found a workaround for this.

    Say I have a song from E-40 with a guest appearance from B-Legit. If I were to label the song the way you do, B-Legit wouldn't be listed from this song in his own Group (did that make sense?). So because of this, I don't use the grouping view, because the way I do it there are too many groups for all the different ways I have my Artists listed.

    I create smart playlists for every artist I have that. This way when I create a smart playlist for B-Legit, the above example has that song listed in his playlist.

    I hope all that makes sense to people! Any ideas on how to do this more efficiently, I'm all ears.
  3. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    I use the Artist field to fully name all the artists (Woody Guthrie & Pete Seeger), and the Sort Artist tag to put them in proper name order (Guthrie, Woody) so they sort properly.

    I use the Grouping tag for (depending on genre) the producer (Jamaican music) or original release label (everything else). I then put the current release label in the Category tag.
  4. Corrosive vinyl macrumors 6502

    Corrosive vinyl

    Sep 22, 2006
    I do things similar to you. I like the album artist area because I can simplify things, or in some cases fix things. I have a peter tosh album which has some of the songs as the wailers as the artist. a quick fix is to put peter tosh in the album artist field. It is a quick and easy fix to most of my annoyances.

    I am also taking raggaefire's idea and putting classical music under name of composers by last name. very good idea indeed.
  5. Fiveos22 macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2003
    We need more boxes to fill in the ID3 tags?!!

    Crap, I can't even get through filling most of mine.

    Perhaps we need ID4 tags.
  6. Galley macrumors 65816


    Mar 24, 2008
    The Artist should always be the actual artist: Artist & Guest Artist
    The Album Artist should be the artist the album is attributed to.

    Grid View sorts by Album Artist.
  7. RITZFit macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2007
    In my Corner
    For me, if a song features another artist then I just put ft. ... in the song column rather than artists. That way, I don't have multiple instanses of the same artist on my other devices like my iPhone when say I want to shuffle ALL songs by a certain artist without fiddiling w/ the thing every 5 min. Just more convinient for me
  8. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    That's what the 'Sort Artist' field is for. In your 'Artist' field you can have 'Mr. X & Ms. Y & John Doe" and if you just put in 'Mr. X' in the 'Sort Artist' field it will be filed under Mr. X on your iPhone.
  9. Creibold macrumors regular


    Feb 27, 2006
    My Take.

    Good Post. This happens to me all the time becuase I am a major Classical music buff. Therefore Almost all songs look like this:

    Number of work (I.E. Symphony No.3, Piano Sonata No.32)

    Key the Piece Is In

    Opus Number

    Song Number Within Opus


    Movement Number, and Name of Movement

    Generally, I just list the artists names, with the soloist(s) first, followed by conductor, and then the orchestra or group the soloist(s) is/are performing with.

    Album Artist, I do not use. To me, it is superfluous. Maybe I have not found a good way to implement it, but I simply do not see a point, unless I use it as a placeholder for the record label name.

    As you can see though the one problem with my method, although very information and organizational, is that the names are almost always to long for the iPod to display. :cool:
  10. GooliZAP macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2009

    .....fasho...i struggle with the same thing, but i think it depends on how well i know the artist too! for instance, if i know it's on a certain artist's album, then i won't be as hesitant to put all the artists under the "artist" column

    wouldn't it be just easier if you could search your ipod just as easy as you could search your itunes :(
  11. sneakyzeal macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2009
    New Zealand
    Album Artist is good for compilation albums (like movie soundtracks) - for these I put Various Artists into this column and the actual artist into the Artist column.

  12. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    Song Title: Song Name feat. x, y & b - I always use commas and use the & before the last name. I like having featured artists in the song title.
    Artist: Artist - I try to shy away from having multiple artists unless its an honest to goodness collaboration (Jay-Z & Linkin Park, Ron Isley & Burt Bacharach).
    Album Artist: Same as above.
    Grouping: Full Albums, Partial Albums, Singles, Mixtapes, Bootlegs, Unreleased, Music Videos, Podcasts, Movies, TV Shows, Audiobooks,

    Full albums for exactly that, partial albums for stray tracks, singles for exactly that, mixtapes for exactly that, bootlegs for bootlegs and dvd rips, Unreleased for audio ripped from TV performances, random DVD performance rips, unreleased tracks or remixes, etc.

    Composer: Not too bothered. I've got too many to try to keep this field done correctly. If it's something I know that's easy, like Prince, McCartney, etc., then I'll fill it in.

    Everything is capitalized. Disc number, track numbers, etc. all filled in correctly. Comment is used for misc. info on select items only.

    Year is a pain in the ass with purchased tracks because iTunes usually has the date the disc was released instead of the actual album year. If an album comes out with new mixes or unreleased material, I'll put the year of the original albums tracks as the original album year, and the year the disc came out for the bonus stuff.
  13. devburke Guest

    Oct 16, 2008
    I only use it for compilations (various artists…actually on second thought usually I leave it blank then cuz I like albums with various artists to sort at the end, not in V) and tribute albums (where I actually DO put “various artists” and sort album artist is the artist it’s a tribute to).
  14. minlshaw macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2009
    Name Song Title (Version)
    Artist Album Artist & Guest Artist
    Sort Artist Album Artist [Last, First] & Guest Artist*
    Album Artist Album Artist
    Sort Album Artist Album Artist [Last, First]
    Album Album - Edition
    Sort Album Depends. If I only have one album by this name and there is no edition information, I generally leave this blank. If I have a specific edition, then I just sort it by the base title; so while the Album might read, "Album - Anniversary Edition," the Sort Album would just be, "Album." If, however, I have two or more albums that have the same name, then they are sorted as, "Album [Album Artist Last Name]"
    Grouping [Typically, I use this for where I got the song; Amazon.com Free Download 2009; iTunes Single of the Week 2009, etc.]

    So, for instance, I just downloaded "No Importa" as the 13-19 October 2009 Cancion de la Semana. That track tag looks like this:

    Name No Importa
    Artist Noel Schajris & John Legend
    Sort Artist Schajris, Noel & John Legend
    Album Artist Noel Schajris
    Sort Album Artist Schajris, Noel
    Album Uno No Es Uno
    Grouping iTunes Cancion de la Semana 2009

    I have a Smart Playlist for each type of Grouping that I've set up. I can then easily go directly to every Single of the Week for the year, which is updated as soon as I add the correct Grouping tag information.

    I've got some other Grouping tags that I use, such as "American Cash" for Johnny Cash's American Recordings output, which helps isolate that era from the rest of his catalog.
  15. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    Name: Empire State Of Mind (Live/Acoustic/Remix)
    Artist: Jay-Z (Feat. Alicia Keyes)
    Album: Whatever Album It's On

    That's it.

    My iTunes displays four columns and four columns only: Name, Time, Artist, and Album.

    Every word is capitalized to maintain consistency, "Feat." is always written as such, and in the case of something both live and acoustic, it would read as (Acoustic, Live) with the comma separating the two special conditions.

    Works fantastically. I understand your point about searching by artist, but of course any Feat. situations would just put them right below the main artist, and I already kind of know who or what I'm looking for.

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