4 Replies Latest reply: Mar 20, 2010 11:58 PM by Gerry Harrison
Gerry Harrison Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
How can I move large mp3 song collection into Itunes without losing my names and organization existing currently on hard drives? Most of the material collected 10 years ago and original sources no longer availble.

Have mp3 music collection, 24000 songs,on external hard drive and computer hard drive.
Songs already imported into Itunes and content saved in computer should be easy to keep names and organization and move.

All songs (40%) with no tags, my renames and organization manually added or changed on hard drive in past (pre-Itunes). When moved into Itunes, all names are lost. "Add file or folder from File menu" and "Automatically add files to Itunes" folder both cause names to be lost.

Songs (50%) with tags, my renames and organization manually added or changed on hard drive. All renamed songs when moved into Itunes change names back to orginals.

Manually renaming songs is too large a project to consider.

KEY QUESTION: How do I move files into Itunes and keep names with no changes?

MINOR QUESTION: How do I keep my organization system? I think that using playlists is my answer.

imac intel - windows xp, Windows XP, ext - hd 500gig i-o data
  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (58,145 points)
    Turn off the iTunes preference to *Keep iTunes Media folder organised* as if you let iTunes apply its rules to tracks without complete tag information you will lose the information you may currently have via the parent folder names.

    Before importing into iTunes use a tag editor to create tags and populate fields such as Album, Artist, Track Name & Number from the filename/folder structure. MediaMonkey is one example of a program that can do this and is also a handy alternative media player/manager. If you do choose to use MediaMonkey then I suggest that during installation you uncheck all its options to take over file associations and, one installed, set its tag creation options to only generate ID3v2.3 tags. Likewise if you choose to use another tool only generate v2.3 tags and not a combination of v1.x & v2.x tags as iTunes works best with a single tag. For files that currently have tags try to make sure that they only contain a v2.x tag.

    iTunes doesn't care where your files are located or what they are called - it works with tags. As you've discovered it has a very crude mechanism for converting the file name into a Track Name when there is no tag, but that's as far as it goes. You can use playlists for organising within itunes. The genre and grouping fields may also prove useful. Genre does what it says, but the grouping could be edited before you import into iTunes to record aspects of your strcuture that you want to be able to access in iTunes. E.g. If you have a folder containing says stuff you call "Dance" regardless of the genre embedded in the tags then setting the grouping field to "Dance" before import would let you have access to this selection criteria from within iTunes.

  • Gerry Harrison Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thank you.

    I can now focus on getting the project started. Still looks like a massive job for renaming files, however, results should be usable and permanent in the long term.

    Organization of files to create playlists Seems to be big job still but simple. Leads to next question at bottom.

    Amazing Grace: "Was blind but now I see".

    New questions re tags useage:

    I want to rename eg Artist "Tag" for large numbers of files then import into Itunes. Will I experience conflicts in Mediamonkey or Itunes if my name format is different than the ones used by them?

    Am I restricted in Mediamonkey to naming files one at a time?
    Can I use Windows search term eg Liona Boyd to collect all her files?
    Next, move all group of files into Media Monkey?
    Next, edit the Artist name to read eg Boyd, L?

    Many thanks for your help.

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (58,145 points)
    As with most media tools you can update common properties of many files, e.g. all tracks in an album, in both iTunes & MediaMonkey, by selecting the files you want to alter and then using the *Get Info.* or Properties dialogs respectively.

    A typical structure for media files is *Artist\Album\## Track*. In MediaMonkey *Auto-Tag from Filename* using the string *<Artist>\<Album>\<Track#> <Tiitle>* would populate the four fields from the filename & path. If your untagged files have a different structure than simply create a pattern that reflects it and apply to a few test files. Once you're happy things work as you wish you can apply choose the All node in the MediaMonkey browse to select all files in a given folder and its subfolders to be processed. N.b. making a complete backup before you start is a good idea.

    You can let MediaMonkey scan your entire media folder and build a complete alternate library, but I just use it to browse into particular folders to tweak things the way I like them, e.g. I use *Auto-Organise Files* for my compilation tracks with the command *..\..\<Album Artist>\<Album><Track#:2> <Title> - <Artist>* which ensures that the full path reflects any changes I've made to the tags and means all of the key data in the tag could be reconstructed from the filename/path. For regular albums where artist and album artist are the same I leave out the trailing " - <Artist>". After renaming files I remove & reimport into iTunes.

    If you have files that are already in iTunes and you edit the tags outside of iTunes *without renaming* then you get iTunes to update its information from the tags by selecting the relevant tracks, using CTRL-I to "Get Info.", then clicking OK +without making any changes+. iTunes should now display the changed information.

    If you import everything into MediaMonkey then you can use the search features to find tracks regardless of where they are stored.

    You can use whichever layout you wish for artist names, however you might prefer to use *Liona Boyd* as the Artist name, and then when you finally import into iTunes you can use its Sort Artist & Sort Album fields so that she is sorted under *Boyd, L*.

    For more on organising things within iTunes see http://www.samsoft.org.uk/iTunes.grouping.asp

  • Gerry Harrison Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Short reply:


    Long reply: Clear, concise, incredibly helpful.

    A nearly unusable Itunes collection with a year's work to fix (inadequately, based on last week's plans and understanding).

    Now, a few weeks/months of intense computer time to create a long term fix, Itunes/Ipod friendly collection for home and travel, backup with full information, CD set for wife and stereo system and a long term usable collection.

    This is a big deal at age 67.


    Message was edited by: Gerry Harrison