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iTunes Oddities

Although I’ve been up since 5 and mostly been in front of my computer, I haven’t gotten any writing done.  I’ve been lazily marking things to write about later and slowly ripping my CD collection into iTunes alphabetically (I’m currently halfway through George Jones).

While the program is robust, it’s rather quirky.   For one thing, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the album cover art.  It’ll frequently find covers to very obscure CDs (such as digitized re-issues of poor-selling albums by artists who subsequently became stars) that I bought 20-odd years ago that aren’t widely available and yet even more frequently not be able to find cover art for albums that were atop the charts and sold millions of copies.   And, sometimes, it’ll insert a cover from an album whose artist or title is vaguely similar — almost invariably in the direction of substituting a very obscure record for one much more popular.

The other thing, which I find even more odd, is that it’ll frequently break up albums because of some quirk in the metadata.   For example, a duet will be shunted off to a separate artist and not be listed with the album in artist view.   Or the artist will somehow be listed differently (for example, The Allman Brothers and Allman Brothers) in the retrieved data from the same CD and thus organized separately.

These things are all fixable manually, of course.  But more than mildly annoying.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Stan25 says:

    The breaking up of the song titles has been a quirk in the software since iTunes was in beta. I have just learned to just ignore it and fix it by changing the artist.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    Yeah, it’s not that hard to fix.  Except when I can’t find the album at all, which happened with Jones’ Bradley Barn Sessions, which iTunes thinks is a “Various Artists” CD.  Found it with search, so no biggie, but it’s definitely an oddity.
    Much less since I just installed version 10.0. You’d think they’d have fixed it by this point!  Although I find Apple much less consumer friendly than the average tech company. Since they have so many cult followers, I guess they figure they don’t have to put out good software.

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  3. DC Loser says:

    I’m meh on iTunes.  I use it on my Mac since it came installed and it works reasonably well on it. I use it mostly to listen to internet radio.  I keep my music on a windows laptop (I have a Sony Walkman, and it doesn’t like macs).  I use the Windows Media Player on it because I think it works better on that machine and isn’t the resource hog that iTunes is.  But WMP does the same thing with my albums as it does with yours.  My personal preference is to keep the tracks together as part of an album, not break them up into artists, since I have many compilation albums.  WMP’s move to along the same functionality as iTunes was not an improvement IMHO.

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  4. Dodd says:

    iTunes for the PC is a pretty crappy product. Don’t even think about trying to easily delete dupes from a large library.

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  5. James Joyner says:

    iTunes for the PC is a pretty crappy product. Don’t even think about trying to easily delete dupes from a large library.

    Well, we have iPods and an iPhone, so having iTunes is nigh unto mandatory. But it does take far more work than it ought to at this stage.

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  6. DC Loser says:

    If you’re tied to Apple products, you might as well go all the way and do iTunes on a Mac, as that was the platform it was designed for, and has a tightly integrated feel and function to it.

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  7. James Joyner says:

    If you’re tied to Apple products, you might as well go all the way and do iTunes on a Mac, as that was the platform it was designed for, and has a tightly integrated feel and function to it.

    Mac’s just not a serious option.  Our work computers are PCs and I have two PCs and a Windows laptop at home.   It just doesn’t make sense to re-orientate my life because I happen to use an Apple mobile phone and my wife occasionally uses their portable music player.

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  8. DC Loser says:

    You do know that you can run Windows on a Mac?  You can run it inside OSX via a VPN (WMware Fusion, etc.) or dual boot it (either OSX or Windows) right out of the box, all you need to do is buy a copy of Windows to install on the Mac.

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  9. James Joyner says:

    You do know that you can run Windows on a Mac?

    But that would require thousands of dollars in new hardware and software and still wouldn’t solve the office computer.  A lot to go through to run a piece of music software that doesn’t suck.

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  10. sam says:

    Geeks.

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  11. Thomas Carr says:

    The problem as I see is that when you RIP, you are depending on the charity of strangers for the content of the metadata.

    When the metadata is screwed up, iTunes gets confused.

    When I ripped “Songs in the Key of Life” one of the songs got separated from the rest of the album because someone had named the artist as “Stevie Wonde” instead of “Stevie Wonder”.

    I had the same problem with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Will The Circle Be Unbroken albums, incomplete spelling for the album titles, extra artists sometimes in the song titles .. sometimes in the artist field. I had to manually fix the metadata and re-add the albums to iTunes to get it right.

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  12. James Joyner says:

    When I ripped “Songs in the Key of Life” one of the songs got separated from the rest of the album because someone had named the artist as “Stevie Wonde” instead of “Stevie Wonder”.

    I had the same problem with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Will The Circle Be Unbroken albums, incomplete spelling for the album titles, extra artists sometimes in the song titles .. sometimes in the artist field. I had to manually fix the metadata and re-add the albums to iTunes to get it right.

    I’ve had similar problems. Indeed, I ripped “Circle” this morning.

    It’s not a huge deal to fix, really, unless you’re doing a lot of albums in a row.  And I’m doing hundreds.

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