7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 19, 2011 5:36 AM by parison
scrapdog Level 1 (0 points)
I downloaded a bunch of older cd's (80's music) to my itunes library and they all came up as Unknown artist and are listed as track numbers. So I have 12 track 1's a bunch of track 2's etc. I have tried to identify these tracks and artists thru itunes and media monkey, but to no avail.

1. How do I convert them to the artist name and song name?
2. How do I prevent this from happening again. Evidently the technology back then didn't include the information the Ipod/Itunes needs to identify it.


Dell, Windows XP Pro
  • the fiend Level 6 (8,285 points)
    First off -
    2. ... Evidently the technology back then didn't include the information the Ipod/Itunes needs to identify it.


    iTunes use a database called Gracenote to fill in that information about a CD and it does it for the very first CDs ever made (1982/83) and for music originally released (on 78RPM shellac discs) in 1926 and subsequently re-issued on CD! Very few (and I mean very few) commercial CDs are not listed by Gracenote. It would have to be a home CDR, a very obscure CD or an artist self-produced CD for it to be missing. And even then, an artist self-produced CD will be listed eventually.

    iTunes must be able to go online and connect to Gracenote when you import a CD to iTunes, in order to fill in the track information. So you need to check your iTunes settings and your firewall. In iTunes, check Edit/Preferences/General and look the second section; *When you insert a CD...* and just below that is *Automatically retrieve track names from Internet.* There should be a tick in that box.

    If that isn't the problem, check your firewall to make sure it is allowing iTunes access to the internet, although if it isn't, I would expect an error message from iTunes every time you import a CD.

    1. How do I convert them to the artist name and song name?

    The quickest way would be to import the CDs again _once you sort out why iTunes hasn't been getting the track information._ The only other way is to enter the information manually yourself.

  • scrapdog Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Phil,
    I had a very weak connection while I was importing and did go offline. I just assumed that since I put the cd in, it would have all that info embedded and not need to use the internet...similar to the exif data on a photograph.

    So if I reload the cd's, and then do I just delete all the unknown artist songs and songs that start with track?
  • the fiend Level 6 (8,285 points)
    scrapdog wrote:
    So if I reload the cd's, and then do I just delete all the unknown artist songs and songs that start with track?

    Yes, although you will have to experiment a bit to find the best way of doing this because when you try importing an album a second time;
    a.) you will probably need to tick the track's select box on the import window, because iTunes will assume that you do not want to import the same song a second time and un-tick them (leaving ticked, any songs on that album that you didn't import before).
    b.) iTunes should then tell you it's already in your library - even though it doesn't have track names. Hopefully, you should find that if you continue with the import, iTunes will ask you if you wish to replace the existing album with the new one. If it does, accept it and see if it puts the track names in. If it doesn't, you may have to try the following method.

    Delete the album before tryingto import it again. (A neater way would be to delete everything without track names and then just keep putting your CDs in to add them new. You may not want to do it this way.)

    To help you understand how this has happened and why, I'll explain. (It's not compulsory reading though! )

    iTunes (and other computerised players) can distinguish between two different CDs because when it reads each CD (which is what it's doing while loading the CD) it finds that CD one will run for 68 minutes 34 seconds and XX "frames", it has 16 tracks and track 1 ends at point "Z" on the CD and so on. Meanwhile CD two also has 16 tracks, but it is a different total time (say 63m 52s XY frames) and track 1 finishes at point "Y". Let's refer to this as the "Unique Signature" for that CD.

    But the actual text information is not on the CD because (and this is the "prehistoric technology" you referred to) it wasn't designed that way. So as I said previously, iTunes - and any other programme that retrieves track titles and album names - does so by sending the Unique Signature to Gracenote, which then supplies the track information.

    Very ocassionaly, Gracenote cannot distinguish between two albums and you may be asked to choose the correct one.

    So how does Gracenote get the information, you ask? (You did ask, didn't you?) Well, sometimes a bored record company employee may enter the information, or it may be a fan of the band, the band themselves , or simply a "member of the public", such as you or me.

    I've done a few albums, either because I was the first one to look for that album, or to replace hopelessly "wrong" entries.

    I hope this helps you, good luck with your task.

  • scrapdog Level 1 (0 points)
    Phil...you are awesome, patient and smart.

    That explanation totally made sense to me. Thanks for all your wisdom and help.
  • turingtest2 Level 9 (69,313 points)
    See also MusicBrainz Picard tagger. It creates an audio fingerprint for each file which it attempts to match in an online database. It isn't always successful but it may save you some detective work.

  • Threejays Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, I've had this problem and changed/added information in the respective columns successfully. It's tedious but it works.
  • parison Level 1 (0 points)
    This also happened to me in the early days of learning how to use the system. My biggest problem was classical organ CD's. very few seem to be found on Gracenote.

    I manually punched in all the information and then did everyone else a favour and sent it down to gracenote using the advanced section.