How anal are you about your iTunes music?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
As can be seen by a picture of the typical state of my home office, I'm not that excruciatingly anal about being tidy:







However... I've recently finished the process of re-ripping a mountain of CDs (a lot more than you see sitting on the desk). I've gone from an MP3 collection of about 3.5 GB, mostly select cuts from albums, to a 15 GB AAC collection with a lot more complete albums.



It's not that much work to stick a CD into your Mac, click Import, eject, rinse, and repeat. You can do that pretty mindlessly while getting other work or play done at the same time. But my fussiness about two things slows me down:



(1) Tag info: I really love CDDB. It makes life much, much easier than it would be if I had to type in all of my album and song titles from scratch. But I nearly always tweak what I get from CDDB: Fix capitalization and spelling. Change artist names to "Last name, First name" format -- because, damn it, that's how I like things sorted. Daphnis et Chloé, not Daphnis et Chloe. And what kind of genre is "Alternative & Punk"? Alternative isn't anything like Punk!



This tag editing adds an extra minute or two to ripping each CD, which adds up when I'm going through hundreds of CDs.



(2) Lack of gapless playback in iTunes: If I'm playing a CD and track two ends with someone singing "Oooooooooooooooooooooooh!" straight through into track 3 on the CD, I don't want to hear "Oooooooooooo[drop out]oooooooooooh!" when I'm playing back this music with iTunes or on my iPod. So I take the time to seek out "play through" tracks like this and join them with the "Join CD Tracks" option in the Advanced menu.



If a song that plays through like this is something I want to be able to play on its own in shuffle play, (say, "Black Magic Woman" from Santana's Abraxas) I'll rip the joined tracks an extra time as an AIFF file, edit in a nice fade-in or fade-out as required using Amadeus II, and then convert the edited results to 192K AAC like everything else in my collection.



Is anyone else out there this fussy about their iTunes music collection? I imagine that a few of you are, but I also suspect that the vast majority of iTunes users do what comes easiest -- use CDDB info as is, put up with inter-track dropouts when they occur (if they even notice them), and certainly not playing around with audio editing software to add fade-ins and fade-outs.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    I don't do the Last, First thing...thats a bit extreme



    However I do check the spelling (CDDB doesn't always get it right), and correct the capitalization, and usually go to Amazon to get cover art for each album group. However, sometimes Amazon's cover art is either scaled wrong or has an annoying (X% Off) tag in the corner, and no larger format version. I wish someone had a definitive online collection of cover art, or that CDDB would add them to its collection.



    Thats about the extent of my organizing.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by VanDeWaals

    ...and usually go to Amazon to get cover art for each album group...



    I've started doing that too. The artwork isn't always the best quality, but it's better than nothing (when you can find it), and I'm not quite motivated enough to scan cover art myself.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    My being picky about quality and tagging is why I've stopped using P2P.



    I like having my Tags follow "my" format. I hate when songs cut off abruptly because of encoding issues. Eventually I'll encode all my music.



    The key is being able to change tagging info in batches. Musicmatch does this well but I don't have a mac that can run iTunes so I'm not sure how it's done.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    The key is being able to change tagging info in batches. Musicmatch does this well but I don't have a mac that can run iTunes so I'm not sure how it's done.



    FYI, just select the files you want to edit in iTunes and get info on them (command-i). Multiple Item Info
  • Reply 5 of 24
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I sometimes organize my music well, and sometimes not. The main thing I have a problem with is genres. I'm always flip-flopping between lots of specific genres, a few general ones, and back again. I can't decide whether I want just one huge "Rock" genre, or a bunch of them: Classic Rock, Alternative, Punk Rock, Hard Rock, Metal, Light Rock, etc. The problem is, when I have one huge category, it's hard to find something. But when I have a bunch of smaller ones, I never know how to file each song. Most fit squarely into one category or another, but quite a few span the borders. And then there are really weird ones like Pink Floyd that don't fit anywhere.



    Playlists too. Sometimes I have no playlists at all. Other times I have one for each artist I have a significant number of songs from. Other times I have one for each genre, sorted by rating (descending). I rate my songs sometimes. Rarely on my computer, usually on the iPod while I'm working in the library stacks. I'm guessing about 1/3 to 1/2 of my songs are rated. What gets me is that sometimes, even when I sort music by descending rating in iTunes, after it gets on the iPod it ends up being in reverse order. So instead of starting with the best songs and getting worse until I decide to switch playlists, I have to start it partway up the playlist. I'm going to try switching the sort order to ascending rating, and maybe it'll get it right on my iPod when I do that.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    maniamania Posts: 104member
    me me! i re-ripped all my 700 cd's to 160 kbps AAC, cleaned up the cddb tags and when i found a looong song at the end of a cd with a so called bonus track i ripped it twice into two individual songs to cut out the dead space. what a pain! i hate hidden bonus tracks - just add another song dangit. as for artist last, first i used to do that but decided i didn't like seeng last, first in the itunes window or in g-force so i am training myself to browse for peter gabriel instead of gabriel, peter.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    I won't even listen to songs that have tags I still need to correct.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Luca Rescigno

    The main thing I have a problem with is genres... And then there are really weird ones like Pink Floyd that don't fit anywhere.



    Pink Floyd? I'd immediately go with Classic Rock, or just Rock, for that. If you want a challenge, try to classifying Material's album "Seven Souls", Euphoria's eponymous album, or the Fibonacci's "Repressed: The Best of The Fibonaccis, 1981-1987".



    I don't worry too much about genres other than not wanting the genre label to be totally wrong. I sometimes look at Yahoo's directory of musical artists to see how they classify a particular performer or group.



    Playlists too. Sometimes I have no playlists at all.



    I'm not much for using playlists. I only have three playlists now: Purchased Singles 01, Purchased Singles 02, and The Big Shuffle.



    The first two are just CD-sized collections of singles that I've purchased from iTMS, gathered together to burn for back-up (whole albums get burned to their own CDs). Purchased Singles 02 isn't even full yet -- I've been leaning towards buying complete albums.



    The Big Shuffle, now containing 587 songs, is a collection of everything from my whole iTunes library that I think works well as stand-alone music in shuffle play with everything else. For me, I find a big collection like this is the only way to use really enjoy shuffle play. It's like having a radio station that only plays my favorite music.



    Other than that, I only use playlists as temporary collections. For instance, if I want to play just the music from one album and not have iTunes keep playing straight through to the next music that follows it in the Library, I'll select all of the songs in that album and drag them over into the playlist column. (iTunes nicely creates an automatic new playlist for you if you drag to a blank spot.)
  • Reply 9 of 24
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    I always check the tag info after encoding a CD for the reasons mentioned above: spelling, capitalization, genre, etc.



    I'm semi-anal about it all, I guess. I really only care about 3 types of info, for the most part: artist, song and genre. Those are the three I use most to search for something or build playlists with.



    Actually, I only have those fields, plus Album and Time, viewable in iTunes. I don't care about ratings, bit rate, composer, etc.



    But I almost always have to go back and fix a capitalization error or genre misplacement. Example, I encoded Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder's incredible bluegrass album "Bluegrass Rules" and it tagged it with "Country".



    Close, but it's really bluegrass (a complete and separate style unto itself, of course), so I had to fix that.



  • Reply 10 of 24
    I try to keep the first letter in every word in every title capitalized. Not as crazy as how I like to keep the iTunes window PRECISELY 10 pixels from the left edge of the screen, and PRECISELY 10 pixels from the bottom edge of the title menu.



    It drives me up the wall that the music store's frames don't match the settings I have for every other playlist and the library.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    baumanbauman Posts: 1,248member
    You know, you can make an applescript to do that for you, right?
  • Reply 12 of 24
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Dog Almighty

    I try to keep the first letter in every word in every title capitalized.



    These are the rules I (try to) follow: Capitalization Rules for Song Titles
  • Reply 13 of 24
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I'm currently also re-encoding my music with more complete albums and stuff. I'm being very careful of tags, and set them as soon as the CDDB lookup is done, before I import the songs. I often have incorrect capitalization (some of you might want to pick up a Chicago Manual of Style book! ), incomplete tags like composer, discs, whether or not it's a compilation, etc., (I especially hate it when the album title tells you the number of discs in the set), and I flip-flop on genres a lot too though I think I have a fair system for myself down. I often add comments like "instrumental" or "remixed by xyz" or "cover of xyz song" as well. Makes smart playlists more useful. I use mainly smart playlists except for specific mixes I make for friends and family. I have 80's/90's/00's playlists, instrumental and classical/jazz, most/least played, recently added or recent releases, etc. I go back through compilation CDs and change the song dates to their original release too. Finally, I often set equalizer settings for the songs, though I often leave off the EQ.



    Someone else mentioned some of those tracks that have nested tracks on the end. I use QT Pro to split the tracks, then export them as MP4s, and import them into iTunes. I label the extra tracks as "Untitled" if I can't look up some name for it online (some bands actually have names for these, you just have to comb the fans sites for the info), with the comment "Nested Track with XYZ."



    BTW, Walmart.com sometimes has better cover art than Amazon, usually bigger scans too. A few bands have pretty high quality images of their album covers on their web site or on a fan page. Much of my stuff is really poorly scanned though. I'm debating whether to include cover art, scan the art myself, or what.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally posted by shetline

    These are the rules I (try to) follow: Capitalization Rules for Song Titles



    Whoa, you made a website about it? I've always thought that every word should be capitalized for song titles.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BuonRotto

    Someone else mentioned some of those tracks that have nested tracks on the end. I use QT Pro to split the tracks, then export them as MP4s, and import them into iTunes.



    Do you do this after having ripped a track as AAC? If you do, does QT Pro directly edit AAC directly, or does it decompress it, then recompress when you export from QT Pro?



    To play it safe, I rip tracks like these to AIFF so I can edit (using Amadeus II, as I mentioned earlier) and not worry about adding an extra generation of compression. AAC only gets applied after editing the uncompressed audio.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Dog Almighty

    Whoa, you made a website about it? I've always thought that every word should be capitalized for song titles.



    I only found the site... I didn't create it.



    In most album cover art, you'll notice the creators of the artwork skirt the issue of capitalization entirely by going all caps or all lowercase. When they're brave enough to use mixed case, they often don't get it right.



    I suspect in 50-100 years the rules might change to the simpler policy of capitalizing every word. I have to admit that the rules as they stand now (even if I do try to follow them) are a bit silly.



    The capitalization you see in album cover artwork might be deliberate, but it's hard to know when that's the case. I have one song on the album Grace In Gravity by The Story called "love is more thicker than forget". This is a poem by e. e. cummings, and the all-lowercase format is definitely deliberate and should be followed as the poet intended.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Gapless playback does exist doesn't it? Or perhaps ever so slightly overlapping playback anyway!



    It's under preferences and i switched it off cos it bugged me.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally posted by david101

    Gapless playback does exist doesn't it? Or perhaps ever so slightly overlapping playback anyway!



    It's under preferences and i switched it off cos it bugged me.




    Preferences - Effects - Crossfade Playback, set to your liking. I think this came in with iTunes 2.

    I'm not sure however if gapless playback exists on the iPod in the same way.



    For my iTunes library I go with what most people are saying here, vigorously check what CDDB give you.

    I never really got into adding album artwork, perhaps that's a feature that should be built in like CDDB is? I have to say I still prefer listening to music from CD on my hi-fi though, that would probably change if I had my own iPod though (and not nick my dad's).
  • Reply 19 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally posted by VanDeWaals

    I wish someone had a definitive online collection of cover art, or that CDDB would add them to its collection.



    I get my cover art from WalMart.com



    They generally have all the albums I need and the pictures are perfect size and scale for iTunes!
  • Reply 20 of 24
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by david101

    Gapless playback does exist doesn't it? Or perhaps ever so slightly overlapping playback anyway!



    It's under preferences and i switched it off cos it bugged me.




    The term "gapless playback" has nothing to do with iTunes' crossfade settings. It's NOT about using shuffle play or your own playlists and making all of the songs meld into each other without any silence in between.



    "Gapless playback" refers only to eliminating unwanted gaps, fraction-of-a-second drop-outs, that should not occur between consecutive tracks from the same album. Since most of the time an album fades to silence between one track and the next, there isn't typically any problem with these gaps. It's only when the music on an album keeps playing straight through from one track into the next that the issue of gapless playback arises.



    You can actually get gapless playback out of iTunes if you're playing AIFF files. The problem of unwanted gaps is brought about by MP3 and AAC files because of the way these files are encoded: the MP3 and AAC encoding processes pad the music with a brief amount of silence at the beginning an end of each file. There are extensions to AAC to support gapless playback, but iTunes (and therefore, almost certainly the iPod as well) doesn't support these extension yet.



    Without support for gapless playback, playing one track after another, tracks that should flow smoothly into each other without any silence in between, you instead hear a brief drop-out of sound -- this the padding at the end of one track and the padding at the beginning of the next that you hear.



    The only way around this problem currently is to use the "Join CD Tracks" option when you rip. This eliminated the gap, but it also means you no longer have a separate file for each song. The song you join are treated as one big song. You also have to know ahead of time which tracks need to be joined -- joining is not done automatically. It's up to you to find the problem tracks.



    If you're picky about gaps, the problem is worse if you buy the music from iTunes. The gaps have already been encoded -- it's too late to do a "Join CD tracks". Buying an album like "Dark Side of the Moon" from iTMS right now would really suck because of all the gaps you'd get stuck with*.



    *You can repair these gaps yourself with a bit of audio editing work, but you then have to choose between keeping big AIFF files or losing sound quality to a second generation of compression when you're down with your editing. Your edits won't ever be quite as good as the original material either.
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