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How To: Fix iTunes

It took quite a while for me to come around, but iTunes eventually changed the way that I listen to music (and download podcasts) on my PC. I was a long, long, long time WinAmp user, and until iTunes released a version that minimized to my system tray, and I could find a way to control iTunes with keyboard shortcuts, I wasn’t interested. Well, the first problem was dealt with a while ago, and for my second problem I found iTunesKeys, a program dedicated to solving iTunes’ woefully missing keyboard shortcut access. But, after using iTunes for awhile, I realized that while Apple has given us an incredibly elegant and fun to use media player, its developers suffer from some serious delusions that iTunes users will never make mistakes, or decide to delete songs. I can’t quite fathom why you would have an application show a [!] symbol when it finds a missing file, yet offer no way to actually remove the reference to that missing file.

Enter idleTunes. idleTunes was made for people who love iTunes, but wish that it would just:
  • Find and insert album artwork into tracks
  • Copy iTunes playlists to any MP3 player
  • Export iTunes playlists as M3U, PLS, or B4S
  • Remove "dead" tracks from your library
  • Create playlists for all of the albums in your library
  • Create playlists for all of the artists in your library
  • Delete user playlists
By far the coolest feature of idleTunes is the way that it makes iTunes compatible with non-iPod portable music players, including intelligently renaming files when copying a playlist onto a screenless flash player to ensure the play order stays intact. Brilliant! And did I mention it’s free?

Finally, no post about how to fix iTunes would be complete without some directions on how to clean up your library and get consistent ID3 tags. For that, I'll direct you to Connected Internet, who has a great primer on how to use MusicBrainz Tagger to rationalize your music collection. It takes some time, but MusicBrainz makes it as quick and painless as it can be, and the results are definitely worth it.


Tags: freeware, howtos