Why is iTunes so inflexible!

skp574

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 16, 2005
280
0
greenwich.london.uk
I am trying very hard to bring over my very large MP3 collection from my PC. I am having great trouble getting them into iTunes.

I have the MP3s in a folder structure like this:

Artist/Album Title/ ....

Each folder contains the tracks plus a playlist folder.

I tried the "Add to Library" function. I selected the root folder where the files are. I left if for about 5 minutes then came back. The stupid program has not only scanned the folders for music files but also playlist files. So in effect has added everything twice! :eek: . And as it has copied the music into the iTunes folder I now have three copies of the music on my hard disc. So in short iTunes has turned a 40GB collection into a 120GB one! WTF!

Also I don't like the way iTunes rips music. There is no way of controlling how the ripped music is named. I want to have complete control of the ripping process and how the music is filed. But no. I am getting totally annoyed with it. I can't be that difficult can it??? The only option is to add the track number to the filename, ohhh that's useful.

Am I missing something. I did not use iTunes when I had a PC, as I preferred to use good ol' Windows Explorer and Winamp. Then 3rd party ripping software (Easy CD-DA Extractor). Where I had complete control of the ripping process.

I tried to use the "Import" command but that won't work, as you have to select an individual playlist file, it won't look through folders. That's pants, it will take ages to manually go through each folder. And, there's more. When it imports a compilation CD it want to create folders for each artist. NOOOOO, leave the layout the same, just move the folder into iTunes!

Am I the only one who find this annoying or are there others that feel the same.

If there is a work around I am all ears.
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
Use the iTunes interface as your music management interface, and let iTunes handle how it names and sorts the music files under the hood. iTunes will name your music according to the ID3 tags in your mp3s. It aint rocket science. As long as you let iTunes handle the actual music files and you manage from the iTunes interface, everything will run smoother and you'll still get to keep your hair.

Yeah, you don't want to import .m3u or playlist files as it will add them again. Use Show Duplicate Songs from the Edit menu to get rid of the 80GB duplicates.

ps. I don't find it annoying at all. In fact, I find it more efficient and faster if you let iTunes manage the songs on the HD.
 

decksnap

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2003
3,070
70
It sounds to me like you have a different way of doing things, not a better way. I think once you get used to iTunes you will find it way more efficient than something like winamp.

I don't understand what you mean about controlling how you name files when you rip them. You can name them however you want- you have complete control. track numbers are also stored in the meta data of each song. (Apple+i)

there is almost infinite meta data, tons of ways to sort, and smart playlists makes it capable of far more advanced organizational methods than winamp.

Importing multiple versions of songs will do just that- so my advice is starting over with the playlist stuff in iTunes and you'll never look back.

Edit: There's also a checkbox in the meta data for whether or not you want iTunes to treat an album as a compilation.

Also, the 'import' option os not for adding to your library, it's for ripping to your library. That's why you can only select one thing at a time.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
skp574 said:
Also I don't like the way iTunes rips music. There is no way of controlling how the ripped music is named. I want to have complete control of the ripping process and how the music is filed.
No idea on how to make iTunes forget there's a playlist - I'm sure there's an Applescript out there somewhere online though.

You can get a little more control over how stuff is named though. Highlight the tracks and Get Info (command i) will allow you to change the artist/title/album. You can use this to highlight stuff that you know was a compilation and retrospectively put them back together.

When I had my Windows PC, I use Winamp and was fairly precious about my filing system although when I switched I only had a about a GB of MP3s so life was easier. Now I've got iTunes and I honestly don't care where the files are. I just let iTunes handle it all the way it wants to.
 

mduser63

macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
3,038
30
Salt Lake City, UT
I can see how you would be frustrated if the things that are annoying you were really limitations of iTunes, but they're not. If you don't want iTunes to copy all your music files over to your iTunes Music Library folder when you add them, go into Preferences -> Advanced and uncheck the box for "Copy file to iTunes Music Folder when adding to library".

You have complete control of how to name tracks when you import them. When you stick a CD in, it will probably use the CDDB names for everything. If you want to change them, just select the track(s) you want to change and go to File -> Get Info (command-I works too) and enter in whatever information you want. After you've done that, hit import. If you change the information for tracks that are already in your library, it won't actually modify the ID3 tags for those tracks unless you tell it to. To tell it to change them, select the tracks in question and go to Advanced -> Convert ID3 Tags, then pick which ever ID3 version you want to use (I always go with the newest, v2.4).

Finally, if you don't want iTunes to stick Compilations in their own category (I hate this behavior as well), go to Preferences -> General and uncheck the box that says "Group compilations when browsing." You can also use the Get Info command and then uncheck the box that says "Part of a compilation" before you import compilation discs.

I hope this helps. I used Winamp before I switched to Mac as well, and to be honest iTunes is 10 times better IMO. Winamp is nice as a lightweight player for when you want to just play a few songs at a time, but iTunes beats it to death for actually managing and listening to a big music library like I have.
 

skp574

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 16, 2005
280
0
greenwich.london.uk
When I mean complete control of the filing I don't mean ID tags, I mean how filenames.

All my MP3s are created with the filenam <track mum> - <artist> - <title> (<comment>).mp3

e.g. "01 - Carl Cox - Phuture 2000 (Original Mix).mp3"

When they are ripped (non compilation) they are placed in a folder structure <Artist>/<Album>/ file name as above

e.g. Carl Cox/Phuture 2000/...

(Phuture 2000 is a track as well as the Album name BTW.)

If it's a compilation album (all tracks different artists) then it's filed as <Album>/

I use the comment field for remix information, that way I can see the different versions without having to get info all the time.

I guess I will have to relearn how my music is stored and recalled.

At the moment I am manually importing the playlist files. As it creates the playlist on the left hand side of the iTunes window and moves the files into the iTunes folder. However, I still don't like the way it pulls my albums apart and files the tracts under artist. Keep the files from my albums together!

Ok rant over. I know I'm picky :p
 

goodtimes5

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2004
778
0
Bay Area
Does it really matter where your files are all organized? Once you import the song into your iTunes library, you're good. You play the song through your library, you make playlists through your library, you edit the ID tags through your library...you won't even touch the actual file again.
 

skp574

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 16, 2005
280
0
greenwich.london.uk
goodtimes5 said:
Does it really matter where your files are all organized? Once you import the song into your iTunes library, you're good. You play the song through your library, you make playlists through your library, you edit the ID tags through your library...you won't even touch the actual file again.
I will. I'll be backing them up! ;) .
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
7,472
180
visiting from downstream
skp574 said:
Ok rant over. I know I'm picky :p
I'm even pickier than you are... I rip my songs using RealPlayer 10, because (1) that's what I've always used and (2) RealPlayer has, by far, the most superior management capabilities of the Big Three (Real, WMP, iTunes). I name my songs using the convention:

Artistname - Albumname - Trackname​
with songs stored in folders by artist (Asia, Basia, Peter Gabriel, etc.). In addition, I make sure that the file name matches the values stored in the file's metadata, so characters that can't be used in file names ("", /, etc.) can't be used.

Once the songs are ripped, I import them into WMP, use its Advanced Tag Editor to set the Album Artist value (which is different from the Artist value), and then mark the songs as read-only. (I HATE when programs make changes to my data without my consent.) I use WMP to drive my home theatre system, so iTunes is not an option. (I'm running on a Windows Media Center computer here.)

Right now, I am in the process of converting all 4785 tracks from WMA 192 kbps (why WMA? because that's what I've chosen to use) to AAC 192 kbps, so that I can port them to my new iPod. Looks like this process is going to take about 20 HOURS to complete... this is one reason I'd like the iPod to support WMA natively. Conversion sucks.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
But with 40GB of music, you're not going to burn then all onto DVD to back em up are you?

If you're doing it using an external drive, you just have to copy your iTunes folder onto the external drive from your Users/Music folder - if you're copying files to iTunes rather than leaving them in their original places.
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
7,472
180
visiting from downstream
Applespider said:
But with 40GB of music, you're not going to burn then all onto DVD to back em up are you?

If you're doing it using an external drive, you just have to copy your iTunes folder onto the external drive from your Users/Music folder - if you're copying files to iTunes rather than leaving them in their original places.
In my case, yes. I have a dual-layer DVD burner and after my re-rip (completed this afternoon) to 192 kbps WMA, it will take 4 DVDs to store 380+ albums' worth of music, totalling about 32 GB in size.

Hard drives fail. Back up your data (and your music) to something that won't die on you.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
clayjohanson said:
Hard drives fail. Back up your data (and your music) to something that won't die on you.
True - but since getting the external HD, I've been much better about backing up than when i had to get a pile of CDs/DVDs out - and with the 2x in the Powerbook, it would take a LONG time.

I'd like to hope that with one copy of my music/photos on the PB, another on a safely hidden external drive and another copy on my iPod, that they wouldn't all fail/get lost simultaneously!
 

Mavimao

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2005
854
5
Lyon, France
Why don't you just take the Mp3 files that you have, drag them into the iTunes library, have it sort it out and then delete the original files?

iTunes sorts them out for you, and I for one LOVE the way iTunes organizes my music. Too bad I can't say the same about iPhoto...

Also, the album name, artist, etc is stored in the meta data of each song, so there's no NEED to add all that extra wording on your file name.

Just my two cents.
 

skp574

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 16, 2005
280
0
greenwich.london.uk
I started doing the backup thing on DVDs too. Only single layer mind you, and have got to more than 10! That's how I got my collection from my PC to the Mac.

I will probably go down the external hard disc route. But leave it in a safe place, and not have it connected and up all the time. I bought a G5 iMac for a reason: reduce desk clutter! I don't really want to add on external bit and pieces if I can help it.

Then again, when my music collection gets bigger than the internal hard disc, I may have to change that! Maybe a NAS?
 

Eastend

macrumors 6502
Aug 1, 2004
376
7
Nara, Japan
skp574 said:
I am trying very hard to bring over my very large MP3 collection from my PC. I am having great trouble getting them into iTunes.

I have the MP3s in a folder structure like this:

Artist/Album Title/ ....

Each folder contains the tracks plus a playlist folder.

I tried the "Add to Library" function. I selected the root folder where the files are. I left if for about 5 minutes then came back. The stupid program has not only scanned the folders for music files but also playlist files. So in effect has added everything twice! :eek: . And as it has copied the music into the iTunes folder I now have three copies of the music on my hard disc. So in short iTunes has turned a 40GB collection into a 120GB one! WTF!

Also I don't like the way iTunes rips music. There is no way of controlling how the ripped music is named. I want to have complete control of the ripping process and how the music is filed. But no. I am getting totally annoyed with it. I can't be that difficult can it??? The only option is to add the track number to the filename, ohhh that's useful.

Am I missing something. I did not use iTunes when I had a PC, as I preferred to use good ol' Windows Explorer and Winamp. Then 3rd party ripping software (Easy CD-DA Extractor). Where I had complete control of the ripping process.

I tried to use the "Import" command but that won't work, as you have to select an individual playlist file, it won't look through folders. That's pants, it will take ages to manually go through each folder. And, there's more. When it imports a compilation CD it want to create folders for each artist. NOOOOO, leave the layout the same, just move the folder into iTunes!

Am I the only one who find this annoying or are there others that feel the same.

If there is a work around I am all ears.
First off as with any program you need to study iTunes and how it works. There are many good ideas in this Thread from the list members. I also suggest You go to this site and study it also,

http://www.malcolmadams.com/itunes/index.php

(Many useful scripts on the site) I am not affiliated.

I use their iTunes Library Manager, it's a script that lets me keep a couple of Libraries and you can change back and forth with this script. I use it to store 200 GB of Aiff files on an external hard disk. Anyway, just study the program, iTunes can do a lot with help.

Brian
 

goodtimes5

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2004
778
0
Bay Area
I think it all comes down to the Windows-lifestyle vs. the Apple-lifestyle. Total control vs. simplicity. Whatever floats your boat.
 

yippy

macrumors 68020
Mar 14, 2004
2,087
3
Chicago, IL
If it helps any, whatever you name the song is how it names the music file on your hard disk, plus the track number. So name the songs how you want the files to be named and they will be.
 

martintyler

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2005
27
0
I agree that iTunes is inflexible for some things. I posted this before, i want to use iTunes, but my music is all wav files (no tags) and organised using folders, but itunes cannot use this info when it adds to the library.
 

ahonneck

macrumors newbie
Mar 22, 2005
1
0
Wrong contrast

goodtimes5 said:
I think it all comes down to the Windows-lifestyle vs. the Apple-lifestyle. Total control vs. simplicity. Whatever floats your boat.
Total control vs. simplicity would be the Linux-lifestyle vs. the Apple-lifestyle. The Windows-lifestyle would perhaps be best simplified as "everyone else is doing it".
 

rainman::|:|

macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2002
5,438
2
iowa
It does not matter what the files are named as, ID3 tags are everything-- If you decide to move your library to another player, it will either leave them alone or rename them according to it's own structure, and the ID3 tags will still be all you'll see. There's no reason for you to really worry about filenames, they are simply irrelevant.

a good example would be the Acquisition program, which can share, search and locate music whether it's named "<songname> - <artist> - <album>" or "2343245.mp3". It assumes filenames are pointless and goes straight to the ID3 tags, which are more sophisticated and superior (since the files are really just database entries anyway).
 

Mav451

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2003
1,657
0
Maryland
Eh, my recommendation. Even as a long (well 1 year) iTunes user, I NEVER let it do things automatically.

Syncing with my iPod? Um, I don't think so. I got > 40GB of music. Not fitting in a 20GB. Library management? Again, I don't think so. I prefer to add the music by dragging it in (thereby using whatever location the file is located at).

Trust me. I hate the auto "1984"-esque type of control. But believe me, you don't have to succumb to it. You can always find an alternative. iTunes is still one of the better organized music applications (next to Foobar).
 

Mav451

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2003
1,657
0
Maryland
martintyler said:
I agree that iTunes is inflexible for some things. I posted this before, i want to use iTunes, but my music is all wav files (no tags) and organised using folders, but itunes cannot use this info when it adds to the library.
In these cases, foobar is the superior app. Using Column UI + Masstagger should help in organizing them. Plus, you can literally drag music files into their respective playlists.

(vs. the massive library system of iTunes)
 

d-m-z

macrumors newbie
Feb 2, 2005
16
0
Just a note about depending on ID3 tags...

I had a relatively large collection of MP3s from BEFORE the time when ID3 tags were common (pre-napster if you will).

Everything was organized by filename / directory structure. Imagine my chagrin when importing these to iTunes. Can you say "Track01 / Unknown / Unknown"? I was a bit disappointed that in absence of an ID3 tag, iTunes wouldn't show the filename.
 

redeye be

macrumors 65816
Jan 27, 2005
1,138
0
BXL
skp574 said:
However, I still don't like the way it pulls my albums apart and files the tracts under artist. Keep the files from my albums together!
Applespider already pointed the "is part of a compilation" checkbox out.
When this box is checked iTunes will put all song with the same CD title in the same folder (found in youritunesfolder/compilations).

I like the way iTunes sorts things out for me.
The only thing about iTunes i don't like is the drag/drop limitation, but that's a totaly different thread ;) :D
 

skp574

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 16, 2005
280
0
greenwich.london.uk
redeye_be said:
Applespider already pointed the "is part of a compilation" checkbox out.
When this box is checked iTunes will put all song with the same CD title in the same folder (found in youritunesfolder/compilations).

I like the way iTunes sorts things out for me.
The only thing about iTunes i don't like is the drag/drop limitation, but that's a totaly different thread ;) :D

That is if you are importing from a CD, not if the files are already on your computer. I have them sitting on my hard disc and there is no way of telling iTunes that they below to a compilation. They still get filed in Artist/Title folders not the compilation folder.