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Question: How to solve multiple entries for same artist?

I would love to solve this vexing, nagging problem for once and for all...for some reason, iTunes does not allow us to sort Artists by last name, one of the most glaring and annoying flaws in the program. I always just go in and edit the names so they are last name first, and usually, things work OK. However, for some bizarre reason, sometimes, when the album is loaded onto my iPod Classic, there are two entries for the artist. This happens for CDs as well as albums purchased from iTunes. The ONLY thing that I edit is the Artist name. Is there any way to get iTunes to NOT do this?? The last time this happened, it put 8 songs from a just-purchased-from-iTunes album in one folder for the artist, and one song in another identically named folder on my iPod!

iPad Air Wi-Fi, Windows 7

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Dec 12, 2017 9:14 AM in response to RobS10 In response to RobS10

If iTunes shows multiple instances of an artist or an album then what generally works is to select all related tracks and use Get Info to add say a trailing X to each of the fields that the tracks should have in common:

  • For an album; Album, Album Artist, and Artist (if artist is the same for all tracks) *
  • For an artist; Album Artist (and Artist unless there are guest/featured artists listed which should not be changed)

Apply the change which merges things together, then remove the excess characters. Occasionally it may help to close and reopen iTunes between the two renaming operations. Part of a compilation should also be set consistently.

* If tracks are to be synced to a non-iOS device (e.g. iPod classic) there should be a common Artist and/or the album should be set as a Compilation. My workaround for guest and featured artists is to put this information in the track name and make Artist and Album Artist the same.

Use the songs view and display the fields Album, Sort Album, Album Artist, Sort Album Artist, Artist and Sort Artist side by side so you see whether or not it is appropriate to edit Artist and if sort values could be causing any further problems. See Grouping tracks into albums for more help if required.

One further tip for really stubborn duplicates. At one point I had three lots of Various Artists in the artists view of my iTunes Match library that wouldn't respond to the usual trailing X treatment. What I found worked was to add the trailing X to start with, but then with each group that iTunes wanted to keep separate start typing a value and let iTunes autocomplete from Var... to Various Artists. Picking from the autocomplete lists seemed to work when pasting/editing the whole value didn't.

FWIW you can use the Sort Artist & Sort Album Artist values to sort by <Last Name>, <First Names> while displaying as <First Names> <Last Name>, but that might be a round of reorganization that you don't want to bother with after making the changes you've already made.


Dec 12, 2017 9:14 AM

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Dec 13, 2017 6:33 AM in response to turingtest2 In response to turingtest2

Everything looks OK in iTunes, it's on my iPod where the multiple entries happen. It does it to Artist only, not duplicate Albums. I the one new looking issue is when I purchased my first and only full album from iTunes, the songs are displayed in ascending order on iTunes "3 of nine, 4 of nine, 5 of nine, 6 of nine, 8 of nine, 9 of 9, 1 of nine", with song one displayed after 3-9, skipping 2 completely. On this (my home computer that I did not download the album to), I deleted the album on my iPod, and re-added it to the iPod. Seemed to take this time.

With the other albums being split between two entries for the same artist, I can't see any differences in how the artist's name is spelled, spacing or anything. Are you saying add the letter X at the end of each Artist name in Song Info?

Dec 13, 2017 6:33 AM

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Dec 13, 2017 6:44 AM in response to RobS10 In response to RobS10

You may not see a difference, and in some cases there isn't one, but somehow iTunes has decided that there are two sets of tracks instead of one and you need to make a change and then undo it to get iTunes to reevaluate.

Select all of the tracks by an artist you're having this issue with. Then use Get Info. Add the X to the Artist value, click OK. Use Get Info again without changing the selection, remove the X and click OK again. Repeat for each affected artist. Sync to your device. If needs be remove these tracks and then add them back again.

The track sequence issue is usually caused by some tracks being set to Disc 1 while others have a blank disc number. Be consistent. I prefer Disc 1 of 1 for single disc albums, but <Blank> of <Blank> works just as well. A mixture will cause problems.


Dec 13, 2017 6:44 AM

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Question: How to solve multiple entries for same artist?