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Itunes: Do you let it sort your files or not?


blownsi

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I do. I think this is what a database should be doing. I cannot be bothered with sorting files myself. Actually this is one of the drawbacks of Audirvana for me that it doesn't sort any new files into a folder structure. Hence, for the foreseeable future, I'll let ITunes handle my file management and just sync with A+ for the database.

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I do. I think this is what a database should be doing. I cannot be bothered with sorting files myself. Actually this is one of the drawbacks of Audirvana for me that it doesn't sort any new files into a folder structure. Hence, for the foreseeable future, I'll let ITunes handle my file management and just sync with A+ for the database.

 

That's me too, exactly.

 

In fact, of all the different -- and too often disparate -- functions jammed into iTunes, I've found its database capabilities to be perhaps its strongest.

 

And as I noted in another thread, A+ 2.0.4 syncs with my iTunes library files faster than ever. It's easy and simple and painless.

 

Dave, who says iTunes' other functions if you haven't counted are as CD ripper, music player, video player, digital files shopping center, iPhone and iPad sync machine and probably more that I'm forgetting

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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I too use iTunes for sorting files. It is fast, efficient and seems practically bug-free for this task - as it should be considering the large number of man-years it has had for development.

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I do too. iTunes organizes your music files in a logical structure, so why would you want to manually manage them yourself ? There are a lot better things to use your time and mind space on, IMHO.

 

The only exception to iTunes 'Artist Name/Album Name' folder structure is the special folder "Compilations", which then has 'Album Name' sub-folders.

 

I do have, and manage, separate music file folders for FLAC and DSD files, which iTunes doesn't recognize.

 

If you are interested I could tell you a little more about how iTunes determines where it puts music files.

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have always maintained my own structure...

 

Truly, I'm very curious, because I've read other people in this forum say something similar, but why do you want to maintain your own file structure?

 

What's the advantage in that?

 

I mean, I want to use the music files, find them when I need them, back them up easily, use them with different applications -- such as iTunes and Audirvana and Amarra -- and get pleasure from them.

 

So how does maintaining your own file system structure help with any of that?

 

Dave, who continues to try to learn from people who see things differently than he does rather than being the stubborn cuss he can sometimes be

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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iTunes is a great file management tool: it provides an easy to use User Interface that automatically grabs most metadata, allows the user to add some extra tags if wished and sorts the music files and folders in the background, on-the-fly, even when the user decides to change something like a subtle artist name change etc etc. It has a few flaws like most tools, but for database management and file organization I agree that it's excellent.

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I enjoy letting iTunes take care of my files, as long as it does not meddle with them, so:

 

- NO conversion on the fly (using PureMusic)

- NO cloud service (who knows what they may come up with?)

- NO AAC'ing them to my phone).

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Truly, I'm very curious, because I've read other people in this forum say something similar, but why do you want to maintain your own file structure?

 

What's the advantage in that?

 

I mean, I want to use the music files, find them when I need them, back them up easily and get pleasure from them.

 

So how does maintaining your own file system structure help with any of that?

 

Dave, who continues to try to learn from people who see things differently than he does rather than being the stubborn cuss he can sometimes be

 

My answer is because of all the reasons you noted and I guess ignorance. Years ago when I first messed around with computer audio I discovered that tags were usually messed up and the file names were often worse. Once HDDs were big enough to actually hold a decent collection of flacs I guess I never changed my way of thinking. Tags were evil and so were all databases so I painstakingly name each individual file after completing a rip. Now that I've amassed quite a collection of music, I'm tired of manipulating files and want to find an easier solution.

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I would appreciate that. I have always maintained my own structure but it's becoming overwhelming to say the least.

 

OK, first a few basics:

 

Keep in mind a clear distinction between the collection of music data files (.aif, .m4a, aac, etc.), and the iTunes database (.itdb). They are in different locations (through either may be moved), and serve different functions.

 

The iTunes database contains all the metadata from every music file that has been added to the iTunes library, as well as some additional metadata fields (rating, playlists, date added, last played, etc) that are specific to iTunes only (and can be rather easily lost). It is also called the 'iTune Library file'. Located in /Users/'your_user_name'/Music/iTunes/* by default. You can change the location by starting iTunes with the Option key held down.

 

The music files that iTunes manages contain the actual music and meta data. Also called the 'iTunes Library' (see the confusion !). They can be scattered over all the volumes connected to the Mac running iTunes. If you let it "Keep Media folder organized" they are located in the default location of: /Users/'your_user_name'/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media (or .../iTunes Music in older versions). Or, you can point iTunes to different locations for your library in Preferences.

 

Now to the music library organization:

 

Music files are located in iTunes library by the values in 3 metadata fields: 'Artist Name', 'Album Name', and the 'Compilation' flag.

 

iTunes will create a folder for each different 'Artist Name'. There could be a tiny difference of spelling, or two or more artists names in that metadata field, creating multiple folders for, seemingly, the same artist. I watch for little differences like these, and fix them, or move a guest artist name into the 'Track Name' field, to minimize multiple variations of artist name folders (just my organizational obsession :) ). You can see these changes happen in real time as you make changes in iTunes 'Get Info' dialog while watching your library in the Finder.

 

If you can't find an artist name folder for an album you know is in your library, look for the "Compilations" folder (like between Beatles and Creedence). When the "Part of a Compilation" flag is set (lower right, Info tab, of the Get Info dialog) then the album will be located in .../iTunes Media/Compilations/'album name'/. This is usually due to having multiple artist names in the same album, but can sometimes be set in error.

 

Underneath the /'artist name' or /Compilations folder, will be one or more /'album name' folders, and within those folders, the actual music data files.

 

If artist or album metadata is missing, iTunes will place the files in 'Unknown Artist' and/or 'Unknown Album' folders. You should look in your library to see if you have these folders and fix the metadata of the music files you find there. Once fixed those folders will disappear.

 

Hope this helps...

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Just to add to the previous explanation, there are two artist-related fields in the track: artist and album artist. Normally you use the former, and iTunes takes the artist name from there. But if in an album there are tracks in which the main artist plays with other artists, you can put the name of the main artist in "album artist" and then something like "XXX feat. YYY" in the artist field. This way, iTunes show the correct artists playing while still maintaining all the music organized under the main artist.

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I do. I think this is what a database should be doing. I cannot be bothered with sorting files myself. Actually this is one of the drawbacks of Audirvana for me that it doesn't sort any new files into a folder structure. Hence, for the foreseeable future, I'll let ITunes handle my file management and just sync with A+ for the database.
The point of a database is to separate the library organization from the underlying file structure.

If your player organizes its files based on your directory structure, then it's either not using a database, or not using it well.

 

I'd much rather organize the files myself than let iTunes make a mess of it. Trying to fix that when someone wants to move away from iTunes is always a pain.

 

iTunes is a great file management tool: it provides an easy to use User Interface that automatically grabs most metadata, allows the user to add some extra tags if wished and sorts the music files and folders in the background, on-the-fly, even when the user decides to change something like a subtle artist name change etc etc. It has a few flaws like most tools, but for database management and file organization I agree that it's excellent.
I really can't agree with that. It doesn't have any file management, and its tagging capabilities are extremely limited. JRiver seems to set the standard in this area as far as players with tagging/file management capabilities are concerned.

 

My answer is because of all the reasons you noted and I guess ignorance. Years ago when I first messed around with computer audio I discovered that tags were usually messed up and the file names were often worse. Once HDDs were big enough to actually hold a decent collection of flacs I guess I never changed my way of thinking. Tags were evil and so were all databases so I painstakingly name each individual file after completing a rip. Now that I've amassed quite a collection of music, I'm tired of manipulating files and want to find an easier solution.
JRiver's "Fill properties from filename" feature makes this trivial to fix.

If your files are: C:\Music\Genre\Artist\Year - Album\Track - Name.flac

Then you just create a template of: C:\Music\[Genre]\[Artist]\[Year] - [Album]\[Track #] - [Name]

And the program will fill out the tags based on the areas you have selected. It usually does a good job by itself in the automatic mode, but I prefer to be specific.

 

If you ever want to rename/move the files to a different structure, the rename tool works the same way, where you can build your own template based on any library fields, and if you want to do anything more specialized, you can build complex rules with the expression language.

 

JRiver never touches your file structure unless you want it to though. It only makes changes if you use the rename tool, everything is kept inside its database.

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The music files that iTunes manages contain the actual music and meta data. Also called the 'iTunes Library' (see the confusion !).

 

I see someone's confusion. :)

 

The music files (and video files, etc.) are referred to as the media, distinct from the library (the database).

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The point of a database is to separate the library organization from the underlying file structure.

If your player organizes its files based on your directory structure, then it's either not using a database, or not using it well.

 

I'd much rather organize the files myself than let iTunes make a mess of it.

While I do agree that library organization of the metadata for accessibility and keeping a files in a certain organized file structure are different services, I personally would like my software to take care of both, as I cannot be bothered to maintain folder structures etc.

 

And I would disagree on Itunes "making a mess", it has a consistent way of storing files as nicely described by Daudio before.

 

I suppose it all comes down to individual preferences.

 

I do agree though that the tagging capabilities of JRiver are far superior to Itunes.

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And I would disagree on Itunes "making a mess", it has a consistent way of storing files as nicely described by Daudio before.

 

Yes, not only do I disagree, too, but I've read various comments here on various threads over time talking about how iTunes "messed up" the person's library.

 

Instead, I maintain, truly truly truly truly maintain, that if there's a mess in a music library maintained with iTunes -- or really with any other application -- that's simply because the person has not been consistent about exact spelling for things like artist, album names, et cetera.

 

And that also tends to mean a fair amount of cleaning up data -- aka, tags -- both when albums are imported through downloads or rips and then afterwards when you notice things that are either incorrect or don't follow the patterns each individual prefers. That's been my experience.

 

It's hard to be consistent, not everyone who loves music through computer sources is also a very detailed-oriented person, but computers of course are really stupid beasts. And at this early stage of computer audio, being exact with computers is part of the game.

 

Dave, who is just kinda summarizing what Detroit's Dave Audio said above

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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And I would disagree on Itunes "making a mess", it has a consistent way of storing files as nicely described by Daudio before.

 

Yes, not only do I disagree, too, but I've read various comments here on various threads over time talking about how iTunes "messed up" the person's library.

 

Instead, I maintain, truly truly truly truly maintain, that if there's a mess in a music library maintained with iTunes -- or really any other application -- that's simply because the person has not been consistent about exact spelling for things like artist, album names, et cetera.

 

It's hard to be consistent, not everyone who loves music through computer sources is also a very detailed-oriented person, but computers of course are really stupid beasts. And at this early stage of computer audio, being exact with computers is part of the game.

 

Dave, who is just kinda summarizing what Detroit's Dave Audio said above

 

+1

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I prefer to do my own organization as I rip/download each recording. I've found iTunes' automated organization and metadata (including cover art) just different enough from what I want to be really irritating. :) (Example: Some songs from Beatles for Sale were organized under The Beatles; some, for whatever reason, under Compilations. Another: The compilation The Gathering, of tracks produced by former Windham Hill principal Will Ackerman, was all properly organized under Compilations - except for the first track, which was organized under the artist, Masako, and album on which the track first appeared.)

 

I wouldn't expect any software to do this perfectly. So I do it manually.

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I prefer to do my own organization as I rip/download each recording. I've found iTunes' automated organization and metadata (including cover art) just different enough from what I want to be really irritating. :) (Example: Some songs from Beatles for Sale were organized under The Beatles; some, for whatever reason, under Compilations. Another: The compilation The Gathering, of tracks produced by former Windham Hill principal Will Ackerman, was all properly organized under Compilations - except for the first track, which was organized under the artist, Masako, and album on which the track first appeared.)

 

I wouldn't expect any software to do this perfectly. So I do it manually.

 

For me, it's a mix of automatic and manual.

 

That is, when I rip a CD using iTunes, it fills in many of the data fields using Grace Notes.

The main fields it tends to fill in are track name, album name, artist, sometimes year.

And often enough, those data fields are correct, especially for newer albums.

 

However, sometimes as Jud and others have seen, the iTunes generated tags are not accurate.

 

But in either case, before I press the import button, I go over all the metadata tags that matters to me.

But I don't often have to type, or retype, all of it. That saves time and energy.

And I always check whether the "Compilations" check box is correct or not, even with CDs that are clearly one artist.

 

BTW, in the iTunes preferences, under the General tab, the setting I use for "When a CD is inserted" is "Show CD." That way, the ability to go through all the iTunes generated tags is separated from the iTunes import/rip.

 

And I never, never use iTunes for finding or automatically inserting cover art. Instead, I just search for the art using Google Image search, download the best image, clean it up if needed, and then paste into each album's info box. That also makes cover art part of each music track file, so I can separate the iTunes created library from iTunes -- say when I use A+2 -- and don't lose the album cover eye candy.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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I prefer to do my own organization as I rip/download each recording. I've found iTunes' automated organization and metadata (including cover art) just different enough from what I want to be really irritating. :) (Example: Some songs from Beatles for Sale were organized under The Beatles; some, for whatever reason, under Compilations...

 

Jud,

 

It was not iTunes fault, it was bad data in Gracenotes db, that mistakenly put 'Beatles for Sale' tracks in /Compilations. All you need to do is correct the 'Part of a Compilation' flag in those tracks, and they will be properly placed.

 

 

Cycleman,

 

These are not "iTunes generated tags" that are not accurate, the data for the tags came from a database originally created by people freely contributing their time to enter the CD data, and making plenty of mistakes, as humans are wont to do :)

 

Itunes does have it's own metadata tags where it controls the data in them, but we are not talking about 'Rating', '# of plays', 'Date Added', etc.

 

I agree with your method of ripping, then checking/correcting metadata, and manually adding album art. That is the way I do it too !

 

One note on album art. When I first started ripping my CDs I used the imperfect iTunes 'Get Artwork' tool, in addition to the manual method for those that it couldn't find, so after a while I had a mixture of embedded and iTunes stored artwork. I needed to find out which tracks/albums had the iTunes art, and found that by moving the contents of .../iTunes/Album Artwork/* to a different location (later to Trash), all those tracks now showed up in a smart playlist I made that displayed anything without artwork. I manually added all those and haven't worried about it since.

 

......

 

I have spent a goodly amount of time fixing bad metadata (all d/l'ed from Gracenote), embedding artwork, and applying some metadata standards of my own, within my iTunes Library. I found the iTunes tools reasonably functional and learnable to do the job, through it does take some practice :)

 

From what I have seen of JRiver, it does have some more capability then iTunes, but I'm not willing to pay the price of its steep learning curve and Windows style.

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I choose not to let iTunes sort my music files. I like to keep a folder of artwork such as large scale front and back cover art, and downloaded booklet scans when they can be found, in an album's folder. iTunes does not move anything other than the music files, when it is allowed to sort files according to metadata edits, so an album’s artwork folder would be left behind in the old album folder if iTunes moved the music files to a new album folder.

 

 

I try to ensure the metadata is to my liking, and add a cover image to the tracks, when ripping with XLD. Any subsequent editing is done in iTunes, and that has never “messed up” my library.

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Jud,

 

It was not iTunes fault, it was bad data in Gracenotes db, that mistakenly put 'Beatles for Sale' tracks in /Compilations. All you need to do is correct the 'Part of a Compilation' flag in those tracks, and they will be properly placed.

 

I have spent a goodly amount of time fixing bad metadata (all d/l'ed from Gracenote), and appling some standards of my own, within my iTunes Library. I found the iTunes tools reasonably functional and learnable to do the job, through it does take some practice :)

 

+1

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Thank you to everyone for the great discussion. It sounds as though J River may be of more help to me with the advanced tagging and such.

 

If Itunes gets it's metadata from Gracenote just how hard is it to update Gracenote and does that process also fix your local tags or must the data be entered twice (locally in itunes and globally in Gracenote so the next person doesn't face the same data)?

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Thank you to everyone for the great discussion. It sounds as though J River may be of more help to me with the advanced tagging and such.

 

If Itunes gets it's metadata from Gracenote just how hard is it to update Gracenote and does that process also fix your local tags or must the data be entered twice (locally in itunes and globally in Gracenote so the next person doesn't face the same data)?

 

Jriver has probably the best tagging options on Mac. However, also Audirvana 2 with its new library feature has significantly more tags than ITunes. I'd try both (free trial periods available) and see which one you like more.

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I really can't agree with that. It doesn't have any file management, and its tagging capabilities are extremely limited. JRiver seems to set the standard in this area as far as players with tagging/file management capabilities are concerned.

.

 

.???

On my iTunes installation I have the "keep organized" checkbox set. When I (for example) rename a song title iTunes changes the media filename fir me. When I (for example) rename an Artist or group 2 "discs" from a double album together iTunes changes the media folder name, merges media song files into the same artist/ album folder etc.

 

That's what I meant by "file management"; moving/ renaming/ restructuring the media folders/song files in response to UI Modifications without the user having to go anywhere near an Explorer or Finder window.....

 

I appreciate that others may have a different definition, but the "it doesn't have any file management" statement maybe suggests you're not using or aware of the "keep organized" functionality ? (if not you should try it !)

 

mike

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