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PapaTom112562 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Aside from my own three iPods, I manage the background music for several community centers.  At each, I have installed a PC running iTunes, have loaded about 5000 songs into the program, and have created various playlists from Lite Classical to Current Top 40.  Each file in my local folder has been named or renamed "Artist - Title" for convenience and clarity.  However, when I load the files into iTunes, all **** breaks loose and the file names change.

 

Needless to say, this creates an enormous amount of hassle, as songs by certain artists get split up and spread out across my music library (ie: songs by The Beatles show up in two or three different places, such as "The Beatles - Yesterday" and "Help / Artist The Beatles."  This makes locating songs for certain playlists a huge pain in the butt.

 

Even worse, though, iTunes will very often completely misidentify a song.  For example, whenever the song "I'm Sorry" by Brenda Lee comes up in a playlist, it actually plays "Great Balls of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis.  Or a relaxing classical song by Vivaldi will actually play Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven.  This has produced a lot of embarrassment for me, the audio tech wizard who is in charge of programming all the music for these centers.

 

FYI, the same problem occurs on all my iPods.  So how do I force iTunes to keep the file names as I named them?  Please do not suggest that I manually change all the names in iTunes.  I started that project one day on one computer and it took me about an hour to get through fifty songs or so.  I manage five community center computers, so this is just not practical.  Also, it does not work when I uncheck the box that reads "Allow iTunes to organize my library" or something to that effect.

 

And why would Apple continue to leave such an annoying feature in the software?


iTunes Software, Windows XP, Same problem on Windows 7
  • ed2345 Level 7 Level 7 (20,900 points)
    So how do I force iTunes to keep the file names as I named them? 

     

    Go into Edit > Preferences > Advanced, and make sure that "Keep..." and "Copy..." are both not checked.  Then iTunes will not modify your music.

     

    In addition,  you need to make sure that no other program on the PC is attempting to modify those same music files.  In particular, go into Windows Media Player, and on the Library tab, and make sure that all those funny options like "Rename music file using rip settings" are all not checked.

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (55,110 points)

    Just to add to what Ed has said, unchecking the "Keep..." option won't restore files to their original names/paths. As for the wrong file playing that would suggest either an error in housekeeping so that a file has the wrong metadata attached to it (you can after all write anything you like in there) or a crosslinking error where data for one file gets accidentally attached to another. You can run CHKDSK at a command prompt to check for crosslinked files and other disk errors.

     

    tt2

  • PapaTom112562 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks.  Neither the "keep" nor "copy" box is checked.  That was one of the first things suggested to me a while back and it didn't change anything.  I will check Windows Media Player now regarding your other suggestion. 

     

    What really puzzles me is how this issue doesn't bother more people.  To me, it's infuriating!

  • PapaTom112562 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just checked Windows Media and the boxes you told me to look for are also unchecked.  This, by the way, is on my home computer and my home version of iTunes, which behaves exactly as the ones in the center do.  I think it's an iTunes problem.  But...why???

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (55,110 points)

    Ah, I see more clearly now... In Windows Explorer you may name a file as <Artist> - <Title>.<Ext> but iTunes will read any embedded tag in the file. Most programs that you might have ripped the files with will attempt to add data such as artist, album, track number, composer, year of release etc. If this data has been attached then, when you import the file into the iTunes library the data will be displayed. The track can be called anything you like, it's not relevant to what gets displayed in iTunes. If, on the other hand, there is no tag then iTunes uses the filename, e.g. <Artist> - <Title> with your example, as the track name and all other fields are blank, including artist, album artist, album etc. In this case the filename becomes important.

     

    iTunes doesn't expose filenames/paths in the main user interface or allow them to be used in smart playlist rules. What matters is the metadata. Although I personally have the physical structure of my library organized just the way I want it, the truth it is makes no difference to the way I use iTunes or select tracks to be part of playlists. That's not to say I haven't also had to do a lot of logical organizing within iTunes, but the physical organizing just satisfies my OCD.

     

    tt2

  • PapaTom112562 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You've got a razor sharp understanding of what my problem is, tt2, so I was a bit disappointed that you didn't rattle off an answer that would change my life forever!

     

    Anyway, you've prompted me to do a search for some kind of program that deletes meta tags from songs.  Thanks!

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (55,110 points)

    You want to delete good metadata? Sacrilege! Why not edit the metadata so that it can be used to support whatever organizing scheme you have in mind? Anyway try mp3tag, though I think if the files are already imported into iTunes and you remove the tags then you would have to remove and then reimport the files for it to to update properly. Alternatively I have a script called TagFromFilename which could be modified to insert the data you want into the tag.

     

    tt2

  • PapaTom112562 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    >>>You want to delete good metadata?...<<<<

     

    Well, I just did it.  Downloaded a program called ID3Kill and ran my entire collection through it.  Now I can't import any of the files into iTunes.  What have I done?  All I want to do is bring them back in with the file names I took months and months to create for them...you know, the "Artist - Title" format.  Help!!!!

  • PapaTom112562 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    HOLY SMOKES!  It gets even worse!  I just went back to my original music folder and I see that most of my music files are completely gone!  Zap!  Disappeared!

     

    Good thing they are backed up on an external drive.

     

    What happened????

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (55,110 points)

    Perhaps ID3Kill is more effective than it is supposed to be... Good to know you have a backup. Always a good idea if you're going to perform radical experiments!

     

    tt2

  • PapaTom112562 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I spent a good part of Saturday night - and now Sunday morning - re-importing all my song files into iTunes and manually changing the names to the way I intended them.  I just figured I'll bite the bullet, do it once, and be done with it.  Still, songs using the same title format - "DaveClark5 - BitsAndPieces," "DaveClark5 - GladAllOver" - are being separated for some unknown reason.  Shuffle is off and the files are supposed to be alphabetized by song title.

     

    I freaking HATE iTunes.

  • turingtest2 Level 9 Level 9 (55,110 points)

    iTunes is quite unforgiving if you try to use it any other way than the way it expects to be used. See my article on Grouping tracks into albums for some advice...

     

    tt2

  • msandrin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You're not alone, Papa. This problem drives me nuts.

    There must be millions of people who've named their songs in the format "Pink Floyd - Time.mp3" then find the names mangled by iTunes. Seems like a major flaw which should have been corrected long ago.

     

    To tt2: Is the follow statement true?

    You cannot force iTunes to import the above file and have the artist listed as "Pink Floyd" and the name as "Time".

     

    Thanks.

     

    Mike

  • Amp2140 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Check and see if you have organize music checked under edit-> preferences-> advanced, maybe if it leaves it where you put it, it won't change it.

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