2 Replies Latest reply: Aug 30, 2009 1:35 AM by turingtest2
Zan5hin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello, I have a problem saving "media kind" - audioboks as file metadata independent of iTunes.

I recently purchased an iPhone however I am pretty apathetic to iTunes - I use it as my only media player at the moment because of the iPhone, however I want my collection to work with whatever software I use now as well as whatever platform I use 10 years from now, hence my dependence on 3rd party tools to save metadata. iTunes has it's own nice little database but I do not want to be at the whim of this database everytime I want to transfer files to another computer, or in the event of a catastrophic data failure. I have already witnessed this with album art, where I add art in iTunes but it does not save the art in the actual mp3 file.

So I sorted my music collection using MB Picard, Tag&Rename, MediaMonkey and Evillyrics. It's all looking nice, with full ID3 metadata including genre and cover art. Now it's time to organise my collection of DRM-free Audiobooks which are currently in MP3 format.

Initially I looked into converting all the MP3s into AAC files, then into M4B, and I tried this method manually in iTunes as well as using various software, including one called MarkAble, which saves the chapter info, and does some other nice stuff. While this is one way of organising audiobooks, it is a time intensive method. In iTunes 8, with the new ability to select "Audiobook" as media kind, I can keep my files as MP3s and save some time and effort.

My problem lies in the fact that this new media kind field is not actually saved in the ID3 metadata. When I add an audiobook to iTunes and set the media kind to audiobook, if I then remove the files from my iTunes library, then add them in again, iTunes has forgotten that they were tagged as Audiobooks, and they are back in my main library with my music, and media kind is set back to music, with remember position and skip when shuffling also unticked.

Unfortunately, 3rd party tools are of little help here. Tag&Rename does have a music/video field where you can select Audiobook, however after tagging that, iTunes does not see these files as audiobook, so I assume "media kind" must be a non-standard field for iTunes, like how Apple used TPE2 band/orchestra as "Album Artist". Mediamonkey users have the same issue with no "media kind" field available, as described here: http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=41731

So can anyone help me - is there a way I can save the media kind, skip when shuffling and remember position information independent of iTunes?

Intel, Windows Vista, iPhone 3GS 32GB v3.0.1
  • Chris CA Level 9 Level 9 (76,980 points)
    I have already witnessed this with album art, where I add art in iTunes but it does not save the art in the actual mp3 file.

    If you manually add art to songs in iTunes, they do get added to teh ID3 tag.
    If iTunes gets the artwork, they do not.
    My problem lies in the fact that this new media kind field is not actually saved in the ID3 metadata.

    That is not the problem. There no standard for identifying audiobooks.
  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (53,680 points)
    With iTunes 8.x you have the option to tell iTunes to treat any audio file as an audiobook. Simply select the tracks, *Get Info.*, then on the options tab set *Media kind* to Audiobook. You can also set options to *Remember playback position* and *Skip when shuffling*.

    Assuming, however, that the books consist of more than one file you may have problems if you plan to listen to them on an iPod. The Audiobooks feature was originally designed for books that have been stitched up into a single file and hasn't been updated to reflect the changes that now make multi-track audiobooks easy to work with in iTunes. The main issue is that the iPod lists all audiobook files by track title/chapter name so unless you rename every track using a scheme such as *Book Title, Chapter XX* the tracks will play out of sequence. There are tools for creating iPod-friendly audiobooks for which Aldo on Audiobooks is probably the best reference. Personally I don't bother with the extra effort and just have an "Audiobooks" playlist folder containing sub-folders for each author and within these playlists for each audiobook. Although I still mark the files as Audiobooks to keep them out of my main music section when it comes to the iPod I ignore it's Audiobooks feature and use my own playlists for access.



    Note that I've used leading digits in the playlist names to arrange these in chronological rather than alphabetical order.

    As Chris notes Media Kind, Remember Playback Position & Skip When Shuffling are not recorded in the tag and so forgotten if files are removed & reimported. Apple could have implemented these via custom fields as with their Compilation flag but have chosen not to do so. If you give all your audiobooks the genre "Audiobook" then it is fairly simple to create a smart playlist with the rules *Genre is "Audiobook"* AND *Playlist is not Audiobooks*. Any files that turn up in this playlist can then have their attributes adjusted.

    tt2