14 Replies Latest reply: Jun 29, 2013 5:30 AM by Scott Nash
ebaauw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I'm new to iTunes Match as it was only recently made available in the Netherlands.  After two days, it finally processed my iTunes library (~9400 songs).  I can browse through the iCloud library from my iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and AppleTV, and download songs OK.  However, the sort order on these iDevices is different from the sort order in iTunes.  It appears that some of the sort tags are igored/overwritten.


Over the years, I have manually applied the Sort Artist and Sort Album fields to all songs in my iTunes library, so that albums are sorted chronologically per artist in Cover Flow, in the Column Browser, on iOS devices as well as on the iPod Classic.  E.g. for The Beatles, I use Sort Artist "Beatles, The" and Sort Album "Beatles, The 1969a" for The Yellow Submarine and "Beatles, The 1969b" for Abbey Road.  Note that Sort per Artist/Year incorrectly puts Abbey Road before The Yellow Submarine.  The Alan Parsons Project has Sort Artist "Parsons Project, The Alan" and corresponding Sort Album, so they're listed under P instead of A.  Dutch group De Dijk has sort Artist "Dyk, De" and corresponding Sort Album, so they're listed between Ian Dury and Bob Dylan (in Dutch, the combination "ij" is considered a single letter "y").


When I download/browse my iCloud library from iTunes, this meta data is preserved, and the songs are sorted as before.  However, when I download/browse my Albums from the iDevices, the sort fields are ignored for album names starting with particles (like "the" or "a") or containing quotes (like David Bowie's "Heroes").  Now, "Heroes" is listed between Jimi Hendrix and John Hiatt, where in iTunes it's listed between Bowie's albums, Low and Lodger.  All "The Best of ..." albums are listed under B instead of under the respective artists.


Something similar happens to artists names when browsing Artists: The Alan Parsons Project are listed under A on my iDevices.  Similarly, De Dijk are listed between Dido and Céline Dion, however their album with Solomon Burke (artist: "Solomon Burke & De Dijk", sort artist "Dyk, De") is listed between Dury and Dylan, indeed.


Has anyone else seen this behaviour?  Any clue as to what's happening and how to prevent it?



iPhone 4S, iOS 5.0.1
  • 1. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,710 points)

    I've not seen this particular sorting issue myself, but I have a suggestion....


    Maybe I just missed it in your original post but do you also have an Album Artist specified? For example Artist: Beatles, The and Album Artist: Beatles, The.


    If you do not have an Album Artists specifed try turning off sorting by this tag on your iDevice. Go to Settings > Music and set "group by album artist" to OFF. See what this does for you.


    I've got Album Artists specified in all my music and it displays correctly on all my iDevices.

  • 2. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    ebaauw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Michael,


    Interesting suggestion.


    No I don't use Album Artist, nor Sort Album Artist (all these fields are empty).  I'll try to see whether filling these fields makes any difference, but I have little hope as the changed sorting isn't just related to Artists, but to Albums as well.


    Switching the iDevice setting Group By Album Artist off (apparently it's on by default?) seems to do nothing on my iPhone and causes my iPad to show all individual artists from compilation albums under Artists.  On either device, no difference to the sorting order.

  • 3. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,710 points)

    Yeah... I didn't expect that to do a whole lost for you. But thought I would make the suggestion anyway. I suppose it is possible that iOS ignores those sort fields. I'm guessing that when you were directly syncing any music to your iDevices they were being listed in the order that you expected?

  • 4. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    ebaauw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Indeed, with direct sync I got the order I want (that's one of the reasons why I use the Sort Artist and Sort Album fields the way I do).


    The sort fields aren't completely ignored (in fact, most of the albums are actually sorted like I want them), but sometimes they are simply overruled.  I suspect that, for iDevices, somehow the sort fields used in the iTunes store take precedence over my own sort fields.

  • 5. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,710 points)

    Unfortunately I don't know what else to suggest. I've not see this particular type of question before.

  • 6. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Stephen Banks Level 2 Level 2 (190 points)

    i have a similiar issue, no matter what I do, my albums displayed via icloud seem randomly listed. It's very frustrating. My tags are spotless, i have compiliations set properly, album artist, etc.. everything.


    On my MBP my albums list perfectly, in plain alphabetical order. Now that my IOS devices are managed by icloud however, everything is jumbled. I have tried with the album artist flag on & off - no difference. It's like my tags are getting jumbled when itunes match syncs.


    Incredibly frustrating. And don't get me started on the duplicate albums that should not show as duplicates!



  • 7. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    amcgrogan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Stephen, I have the exact same issues that you do. My Artist/Album Artist is the same on iTunes on my Mac, however on my iPhone the sorting is all over the place! For example, under Artist on my iPhone, the sort list is as follows: ABBA, Ellen Meijers, AC/DC, Accept, Ace of Base, Adam Skorupa, Nobuo Uematsu.


    Why the heck did Ellen Meijers and Nobuo Uematsu get sorted under A??? I've got this with 'Sort by Album Artist' turned off; if I have the option turned on it gets waaaaay worse.

  • 8. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Jean Dewater Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hi Erik - I'm having the same exact problem. I use the "Sort Album" tag to manually sort my albums chronologically. After running iTunes match, the vast majority of my albums are sorted on my iPhone the same way they are on my Macbook - just the way I like them. But any albums beginning with "The" or "A" ignore my custom sort order and resort to the second word in the name - for instance, U2's "The Joshua Tree" is sorted under 'J', instead of in chronological order like the rest of my U2 albums.


    I have found a temporary solution. If I change the name of the album to simply "Joshua Tree", then it jumps down into the spot where I want it on my iPhone. I am doing this for now - but I'm hoping someone has found another way to solve this. Otherwise, I'm sure Apple will fix this little bug at some point.

  • 9. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Rafik! Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just thought this deserved to get bumped up.


    On my desktop system, in iTunes, in the Sort Artist and Sort Album Artist fields, I change 'Tom Petty' (for example) to 'Petty, Tom' so that he shows up in the 'P' section. When doing a straight sync with my iPhone Music app, Artists show up exactly as they should... it says 'Tom Petty' (like I want it to) but he shows up in the 'P' section (like I want him to).


    When using iTunes match on my iPhone (iOS 6.1.3), however, Artists do not sort correctly in the Music app. No matter what I try (and I have tried a lot) the sorts fields are ignored. 'Tom Petty' shows up in the 'T' section.


    I spend a lot of time and effort to keep my music organized. Honestly, this topic is covered in so many discussions on several forums... one would think Apple has turned a blind eye to it. If Apple can't get such a simple thing worked out after all this time, I'm dropping the Match service after this year is up.


    Additionally, if Apple is listening in (which is a mere fantasy, I know) I also use Sort Album by release date. For instance, in the Sort Album field for "Tom Petty — Wildflowers" I don't have the word 'Wildflowers'... instead I have '19941101' (Nov. 1, 1994)... that way albums show up in iTunes chronologically under Artist. A small, thing, I know, but that's what the Sort Tabs are for... so users can organize their music to their liking. *I* like albums to be listed chronologically.


    Well the Sort Album field is ignored not only when using iTunes Match, but also when one does a straight sync.


    This has to be a simple fix... c'mon already.




  • 10. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Scott Nash Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)

    Still a problem.  Bumping up again.  Any fixes at all?  I'd really like to hear the first part of an Audiobook mystery BEFORE I learn who the killer is.

  • 11. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    nachdenki Level 3 Level 3 (625 points)

    I can also confirm this is still a problem and only happens with iTunes Match. Sort fields are completely ignored for me.

  • 12. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,710 points)

    Scott, for audiobooks, first you should change the Media Kind to be audiobook so they are not added to the cloud. This way you will be able to sync them via USB to your iOS device.


    Second, make sure you have the track # information filled in correct. See this web page for help in getting everything lined up: http://samsoft.org.uk/iTunes/grouping.asp. It is directed at music albums but the information is relevant to audiobooks as well.

  • 13. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Easybourne Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)



    It's not ideal as it ends up listing all artists featured on compilation albums, but I found that if you go to Settings>Music and switch 'Group By Album Artist' to OFF, it seems to respect Sort Artist tags better than with it switched to ON. Peculiar, but might be worth a try.

  • 14. Re: iTunes Match changes sort order on iDevices?
    Scott Nash Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)

    I've reanalized the problem and think I have it figured, though not solved.  I guess apple is thinking your will use either music or audiobooks, not both.  Cloud will sync music (defined by Media Kind) but not audiobooks.  However, if you turn on iCloud, it WILL sync your playlists, even if they contain audiobooks.  For reasons I don't understand, iCloud can NOT sync play order.  So, even though your Audiobooks are not synced, the playlists you might be using ARE.  So they are out of order too.


    What someone needs to do is either fix the sort order problem in iCloud, or make the playlists smart enough to distinguish what they contain.  If they contain audio, they should sync though the wire only, if music then the cloud.