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Am I the only one to HATE the new iTunes?!

202085 Views 2,239 Replies Latest reply: Apr 22, 2014 7:25 PM by pegaudet RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • joefromnc Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)
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    Aug 8, 2013 3:47 PM (in response to uneek777)

    My iTunes library is approaching 50k songs... about 6k have been added since updating to iTunes 11, plus at least another 5k songs that have been updated to higher bitrate rips, remastered versions, etc.  Nobody can say that I have not given 11 my best effort to adapt. 

     

    While there are still several items that annoy the crap out of me, by far the biggest fail is the lack of multiple windows.  In particular, when I upgrade/update albums already in my library, I take advantage of the "replace" feature when ripping the CD... this ensures that all ratings, playlist associations, etc. remain intact and eliminates the need to tediously transfer those attributes to the new rip and then deleting the old versions.  To use the replace feature, the artist, album artist, track names etc. all have to match EXACTLY from the CD to the existing tracks.  The slightest discrepancy will cause iTunes to add the new track rather than replace the old version. 

     

    Prior to 11, I could have the CD window and the song library open simultaneously so I could easily compare, copy and paste information between them to insure a match.  Not anymore.  Initially with 11, I was just switching back and forth between the song list and the CD list, comparing one track at a time.  That got old really fast, especially given the fact that any filter set in the song list is lost when switching back and forth and has to be re-entered.  My workaround, which still is a pain, is that now I use Windows Snipping Tool to make a snapshot of the filtered song list and use that to stand in for the song list window.  I can't copy and paste from it, but at least I can use it to compare, side by side, the track listings and manually make the corrections in the CD window to ensure a clean song replacement.

     

    The second biggest annoyance remains the lost artwork window at the bottom of the sidebar in song view.  Nothing in 11 replaces the functionality that little window provided.

     

    The changes in the views and such do not bother me very much at all.  I don't particularly like them, but I never use them anyway so they are really inconsequential.  99.9% of the time I'm in song view, the only view that has ever worked for me in any version of iTunes.  I rarely ever use iTunes for media playback... it's first and foremost a means to maintain my music library and transfer it to my three 160GB iPod Classics.

     

    I had already been slowly migrating my digital music purchases from iTunes to Amazon (along with a significant number of new and used CD purchases), but the pains caused by iTunes 11 have pretty much stopped me from purchasing from the iTunes Store entirely.  I suppose that makes my opinions of their "free" software irrelavant to Apple, but they would not have been completely shut out from my fairly significant music purchasing habits if iTunes 11 hadn't so badly colored my view of Apple.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (44,115 points)
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    Aug 8, 2013 4:17 PM (in response to joefromnc)

    Can't help with the multiple windows thing but have you notice you can now display artwork in the Songs view a la the old Album List view? CTRL+J will bring up the necessary controls.

     

    tt2

  • 24GHz Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2013 4:19 PM (in response to cargaut)

    Hi,

    to make it like the previous version, go to view, and click sidebar

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (44,115 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2013 4:21 PM (in response to 24GHz)

    Not really... Wade through a bit more of this thread to get a feel for it.

     

    tt2

  • pegaudet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 8, 2013 6:40 PM (in response to joefromnc)

    @joefrommnc

     

    (hope you'll find this useful.. or maybe inspire a friend to help you automate the process. I know how much a pain it was to replace my own music library of about 7500 songs or so at the time)

     

    One thing I noticed that works is, if it's the same file type (mp3 -> mp3 or m4a -> m4a), you can usually get away with copying the new file right over the old one then in itunes right click the first song in song list mode, "get info" and click "next" until you reach the last file of the album to make sure itunes resyncs the DB from the files.

     

    As long as itunes manages the library, the albums should be self contained and organized in a single folder (compilations use the "part of a set" checkbox so it groups the entire album from various artists) so it should be simple enough to copy & rename (though tedious enough if you don't have the tools)

     

    If you can find a tool that allows you to "export" the id3v2 tags from the existing one, and "import" to the new one (especially if you can get it scripted), itunes should not even know or care that you swapped out the files. I had written a PERL script that parsed out the itunes library xml file and had renamed the re-ripped file copy, updated the id3 tags using a command-line tool once I had the right album identified, so I didn't really have to compare anything. Embedded artwork would have to be re-loaded once you swap out the files, if you're unlucky to not have the itunes "downloaded" artwork.

     

    I did that to quite a number of albums when I reripped them at the lame mp3 encoder VBR level 3 setting to replace the first rip of 128kbps CBR from many years ago. I'm sure there are tools for windows or mac out there that will do some if not all of it, but I'm using linux to rip my CDs (itunes just couldn't seem to get the error-free rip thing 100% of the time, no matter how hard I asked it) with a command line tool called abcde that is a unix shell script to call various other utilities like cdparanoia to rip the CD, cddb tools to get track listings, flac to make a lossless copy, the lame mp3 encoder to make the mp3 version for itunes and id3v2 to tag the mp3. I then applied the PERL script trick later on to make sure the re-rip replacement copy was exactly like the old. That trick saved me a whole lot of time and effort, and possibly what little sanity I have left.

     

     

    In summary:

     

    1) if the filename is the same (which also means same audio type like mp3 or mp4, from its extension)

    2) if the id3 tag information is the same (some exotic id3 tags don't need to be transferred, but the main ones should)

     

    the only thing you'd lose by copying the new media files right over the old would be embedded artwork, but that goes quickly enough if you have the artwork handy to add back in (as a matter of habit, I scan the album artwork from my CDs at 600dpi and scale down to 600x600... the printers the factories use drop dots of ink of varying size to get the shades of colour and at 300dpi scan you get some serious aliasing when you scale it down)

     

     

    If you DON'T have the same id3 tag info, itunes will update its database rather than push the database info back to the file. It depends how anal you are about accuracy (an extra space, a spelling mistake, a slight variation of the album like "deluxe edition" added/missing, etc).  For me it was important to also have the same genre, year, disc info, etc, but I didn't bother with some of the extras like comment, audio bitrate etc...

     

    Something like PERL could very easily get the tag information of the two files in question (exiftool, see dump below, itself is a PERL script that works on many different file types) and compare them looking for differences between the two files. If you also have a tool like id3v2 or similar command line, you can then call it from PERL to sync the two.

     

    e.g. Here's a dump of the id3 tags from an experimental rip I made of one of my CDs from itunes. Some of them like 'Beats per minute' and 'Movie Data Size' tags I really wouldn't care about, but if that was the dump of the file you were replacing, you'd have enough to copy over the main tags to the replacement copy.

     

    ExifTool Version Number     : 8.63
    File Name                   : 1-01 Whole Lotta Love 1.m4a
    Directory                   : /extra/paulg/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/Led Zeppelin/Led Zeppelin [Disc 1]
    File Size                   : 5.7 MB
    File Modification Date/Time : 2010:08:06 23:11:22-04:00
    File Permissions            : rwxr--r--
    File Type                   : M4A
    MIME Type                   : audio/mp4
    Major Brand                 : Apple iTunes AAC-LC (.M4A) Audio
    Minor Version               : 0.0.0
    Compatible Brands           : M4A , mp42, isom
    Movie Header Version        : 0
    Create Date                 : 2010:08:06 23:11:04
    Modify Date                 : 2010:08:06 23:11:22
    Time Scale                  : 44100
    Duration                    : 0:05:34
    Preferred Rate              : 1
    Preferred Volume            : 100.00%
    Preview Time                : 0 s
    Preview Duration            : 0 s
    Poster Time                 : 0 s
    Selection Time              : 0 s
    Selection Duration          : 0 s
    Current Time                : 0 s
    Next Track ID               : 2
    Track Header Version        : 0
    Track Create Date           : 2010:08:06 23:11:04
    Track Modify Date           : 2010:08:06 23:11:22
    Track ID                    : 1
    Track Duration              : 0:05:34
    Track Layer                 : 0
    Track Volume                : 100.00%
    Matrix Structure            : 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
    Media Header Version        : 0
    Media Create Date           : 2010:08:06 23:11:04
    Media Modify Date           : 2010:08:06 23:11:22
    Media Time Scale            : 44100
    Media Duration              : 0:05:34
    Media Language Code         : und
    Balance                     : 0
    Audio Format                : mp4a
    Audio Channels              : 2
    Audio Bits Per Sample       : 16
    Audio Sample Rate           : 44100
    Handler Type                : Metadata
    Handler Vendor ID           : Apple
    Title                       : Whole Lotta Love
    Artist                      : Led Zeppelin
    Composer                    : Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
    Album                       : Led Zeppelin [Disc 1]
    Genre                       : Rock
    Track Number                : 1 of 15
    Disk Number                 : 1 of 4
    Year                        : 1969
    Compilation                 : No
    Play Gap                    : Insert Gap
    Beats Per Minute            : 0
    Encoder                     : iTunes 9.2.1.4, QuickTime 7.6.6
    Movie Data Size             : 5933337
    Avg Bitrate                 : 142 kbps
  • joefromnc Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 8:50 AM (in response to turingtest2)

    Thanks, Steve.

     

    Yes, I was aware of the display option you've noted, but it does not appear to help with my particular issue.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but it appears that this display mode just picks up artwork from only one track in an album (the first?), not from each individual track that is selected within an album.  My primary use for the old artwork display was to very quickly scan through all of the tracks in an album and verify that all had the same correct artwork.  It was very easy to visually detect when one track had different artwork than the others.

  • pegaudet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 9:13 AM (in response to joefromnc)

    joefromnc wrote:

     

    Thanks, Steve.

     

    Yes, I was aware of the display option you've noted, but it does not appear to help with my particular issue.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but it appears that this display mode just picks up artwork from only one track in an album (the first?), not from each individual track that is selected within an album.  My primary use for the old artwork display was to very quickly scan through all of the tracks in an album and verify that all had the same correct artwork.  It was very easy to visually detect when one track had different artwork than the others.

     

    Though not quite as quick as the album art widget of older versions, you should be able to "get info" on each of the songs and flipping to the "artwork" tab (or pick the first one then keep clicking "next"). All versions of itunes seemed to display the artwork for the first song it encountered in the artwork display widget (well, before version 11... not sure what 11 does), but the older ones were nice enough to change the artwork to reflect the selected song, even the one that started playing.

     

    The "get info" dialog also lets you fix the individual info right there if one of a dozen songs is not right, so if you're using version 11, I'd suggest that method. I've also been able to spot and fix one or two songs that way that had managed to get multiple copies of artwork embedded (not sure how that happened) that screwed up the thumbnail artwork on the ipod.

  • joefromnc Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 9:19 AM (in response to pegaudet)

    Thanks for the detailed response.  I actually use the method which you describe for replacing existing tracks with purchased digital tracks (e.g., from Amazon).  After downloading the purchased tracks via Cloud Player (without automatically importing to iTunes), I make an intermediate copy of the folder, edit all of the tags to match my existing iTunes version using Mp3tag, set the file name to match, then overwite the existing itunes files with the new versions. 

     

    I've never been particularly unhappy with iTunes' CD rips (I rip everything at 320kbs normal stereo), so the extra steps of ripping externally and importing "back door" always seemed even more tedious than editing the song info in iTunes... even without the availability of multiple windows.  I guess its a matter of picking your poison.

     

    I am very OCD about my song database... spelling, punctuation, capitalization, artwork, track and disk numbering, genres, etc... both for accuracy and consistency (e.g., always use "ft." rather than a mix of "feat.", "Feat.", "featuring", etc.).  I have spent a lot of time over the past 8 years or so getting the library in the amazingly good shape its in, especially considering it's size.  Steve's scripts have been a GREAT help in getting there.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (44,115 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 9:21 AM (in response to joefromnc)

    Ah yes indeed, that is sadly no longer possible. I also liked the fact that I could occassionaly have a multi-disc album under a single cover, but have the correct cover for each disc displayed for review.

     

    I have a couple of scripts called CreateFolderArt & EmbedFolderArt that might enable you to ensure each album has consistent artwork.

     

    tt2

  • joefromnc Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 9:24 AM (in response to pegaudet)

    Yeah... been there.  All that works but, as you noted, not as well or as quickly as the simple little artwork window of yore.  My current modus operandi is to just get fresh 800x800 or 600x600 artwork from AlbumArtExchange.com and paste it in using Get Info with all tracks selected.

  • pegaudet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 9, 2013 11:38 AM (in response to joefromnc)

    joefromnc wrote:

     

    I've never been particularly unhappy with iTunes' CD rips (I rip everything at 320kbs normal stereo), so the extra steps of ripping externally and importing "back door" always seemed even more tedious than editing the song info in iTunes... even without the availability of multiple windows.  I guess its a matter of picking your poison.

     

    Despite going in and saying "use error correction when importing cds", my main problem was that itunes would still mess up a track or two on some CDs and still not guarantee it grabbed everything, let alone tell me it didn't. The result was I'd have a gap of a few seconds of silence in the song, forcing me to re-rip it again and again, and only when I actually noticed it wasn't a clean rip, which made for some interesting surprises months later. The main culprits were scratched CDs or those that were somehow not "pristine", I've had itunes carry on without warning or anything and it's quite annoying having to pay very close attention looking for those rip errors by playing them.... which is why I switched to something else to rip the CDs (cdparanoia is very good at detecting and correcting a number of errors on problem discs that itunes was known to throw its hands up in the air over. What cdparanoia can't rip clean, at least it will say it couldn't, so it's easy to know when you have a bad rip). I buy a lot of used CDs that sometimes come fairly badly scratched and after resurfacing them, I usually can get them ripped error free (and which I get feedback that it was good or not good).

     

    I only did the bulk re-import once and wrote a number of scripts to ensure correct tag information was preserved. The next time I do (if I do), it would still be scripted so it would be fairly hands off. I'll simply ensure the tags are the same as those for the files I'm replacing... I'm really big on getting the computer to do most of the work. For me, what's tedious is getting the script working error free but about 10 to 15 hours of meticulous work on the script pretty much makes the rest of it hands off.

     

    Any correction to the tag info is constantly done on my library, which is my definitive source of info, so getting that info transferred to any replacement copy is easy enough to do.

     

    As for quality settings, It may be my personal preference but I found the compression fidelity trade-off to filesize gives me as good as itunes purchased music (I would argue ever so slightly better than itunes fidelity compared to the original CD) by using lame mp3 "-V 3" setting. I even get that with about 5Mb v.s. itunes 8Mb equivalent (correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure itunes bought music is 256 full stereo CBR... I use variable joint stereo rather than constant bit rate and I get passages that go as high as 320kbps and in some very few cases as low as 32kbps. I lose a bit of definition on stereo aspect, but not enough to notice and the overall average is around 170 to 180kbps. I am very attentive to the loss of definition on instruments though and it's unpleasant to compare most compressed against the lossless version).

     

    Since perfecting my current M.O., the steps are:

     

    1) rip as I had previously described (fix the major artist, album, track info errors up front before the computer rips)

    2) import into itunes by drag & drop method

    3) finagle the details in itunes, along with ensuring proper album cover

    4) consolidate the files

    5) don't think about re-doing it.

     

    #5 mainly for the new purchases because I now rip lossless and back up to a network raid disc, along with a destructive itunes library mirror on the same raid disc (I listen to a lot of podcasts that are auto-download, watch, delete so I don't want to maintain an ever growing list of files I don't want to keep)... I even make dated backups of the itunes library xml file so I can go back later to retrieve earlier song info if needed.

     

    Overall, the  only tedium to my process is the fact that I keep adding new albums (just added 6 new albums today) and spend the time making sure it's correct up front (right artwork, right spelling, etc), but that would be true no matter how it got added.

     

    I think though, I'm reaching my saturation point... 15,000+ songs or so is about as much as I can handle so if I can get my library in a steady-state (right tags, audio quality I can live with), this shouldn't be a problem for me any more.

  • urbanan Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 1:03 PM (in response to cargaut)

    I'm using iTunes ver 10.7 and have noticed that the Buy All option in the My Wish List window is no longer available.  Is this true in ver 11.*?

  • pegaudet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 5:15 PM (in response to urbanan)

    urbanan wrote:

     

    I'm using iTunes ver 10.7 and have noticed that the Buy All option in the My Wish List window is no longer available.  Is this true in ver 11.*?

     

    I suspect it's a feature that was once in the itunes store. It seems itunes uses the base safari web browser engine to display content from the itunes store. It would not surprise me if this:

     

    https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/stairway-to-heaven/id266075192?i=266075552

     

    was coming from the same source as if you had type "stairway to heaven" in itunes and navigated your way to led zeppelin's "mothership" album. Their servers would see that it comes from itunes through the "Browser-Agent" or some other like trigger and format it differently, but it would probably look the same as if you could trick their servers using something like chrome or firefox.

     

    Any such features like the lack of "buy all" from your wish list is quite possibly a redesign of their store and has nothing to do with the version itunes.. Since they both come from the same company, it would be in their interest to redesign both store and itunes to be similar in style.

     

    Just one of many many redesigns from apple lately that removes useful features or makes them harder to use/find and seems to serve very little purpose in changing the design. There used to be a "power search" feature of their store that allowed you to limit a title search to a specific artist.... It was very useful when you knew what you were looking for and didn't want all the extra "oh I see you typed this word it's close to that word so I'll return that item as well". At least I can't seem to find the power search any more.

     

    Now I just go to google and search for "itunes store " followed by what I'm looking for.. it seems a bit more intuitive at times and about 1000 times faster... not that I really buy anything from itunes, but it's good for browsing and previewing.

  • urbanan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2013 7:27 PM (in response to pegaudet)

    Well, I reverted back ot 10.7 last Dec and haven't had any complaints until now with the removal of the "Buy All" option in the My Wish List window of the iTunes Store. Sounds like it's an across the board removal of this feature.  "Buy All" showed the total cost of all items in My Wish List and I could download them all with the click of the "Buy All" button.  Now I have to use a calculator to total up the cost of all the items and click the "Buy" button on each album and/or song to start each download.  This results in numerous emails from Apple to verify the sale of each item and multiple charges for the items on my credit card. Please bring back the "Buy All" download option in the My Wish List window. Or explain to me how not having it is making buying easier.

  • imnokid2 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2013 11:36 AM (in response to urbanan)

    Just sent the following. Been sending similar ones on and off since they changed.

    So do you ever plan on allowing Itunes users to open multiple windows again for creating playlists?

    And how about putting Power Search back in your store?

    I have bought everything from amazon since you eliminated it.

     

     

    Remember, there are a lot of users who have external harddrives with lots of music and you need to please us as well as your kids with limited space on their portables.

     

     

    WE are the users that gave you your start, and you shouldn't forget that.

     

     

    Waiting for the fix,

    KK

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