My iTunes library has over 10,000 songs. I’ve been accumulating music for years now and in that time, I’ve built my collection from ripping my own CDs and umm… by other methods too. As a result, my library is pretty messy. I have tracks with very descriptive names like Track 1 and Track 2 and unforgettable artists names like Unknown. That’s why I accepted an offer to try out an iTunes plugin called TuneUp. Let’s see if it can tame my wild musical forest.
TuneUp is compatible with both PC and Mac versions of iTunes and has the following features:
- Clean mislabeled music (artist names, genres, track numbers, genres, etc.)
- Find missing cover art
- Alert users of local concerts by their favorite artists
- Pull in the best music content from the web to enhance the listening experience (e.g. YouTube videos, Google News, etc.)
You can download a free version that will give you 500 track cleanups, grab 50 album covers and receive unlimited concert info and news. The Gold version is $11.95 per year or $19.95 lifetime and has no limitations.
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The install is simple and once completed, it will add a window to the right side of iTunes, with the TuneUp options.
Basically, there are 4 main features: Clean mislabeled music, Album art finder, Now playing and Concerts.
Cleaning Mislabeled Music
To clean your mislabeled music, you have to select the songs in the main iTunes panel and drag them into the TuneUp window. They suggest that you do about 500 tracks at a time.
I’ve mainly been doing several albums at a time and have found that it’s pretty slow even doing less than 50 songs at a time. The problem here is that you have to use the tool interactively. First you drag the music to the window and then wait for it to find matching track info in the database (you obviously have to be online for this tool to work…) and then you click the Save All button for it to apply the changes.
Sometimes TuneUp won’t be sure that it’s found the right data for your tracks and will list them as likely matches. When this happens, you’ll have to click Save on each match instead of allowing the Save All button to do all the work.
This is the feature I used the most while testing this plugin. Although it does a very good job finding and fixing track information, I found the whole process to be slow and and monotonous. There really needs to be a one click do it all kind of button. Dragging chunks of music at a time and waiting for it to find the info so I could click the Save All button got old really fast for me. Also I had a lot of beach balling (Mac speak for an app that freaks out and is too busy to allow access) activity going on with this plugin. Quite often, I would drag music to the window and it wouldn’t accept them. I would have to click on one of the other tabs and then go back to the clean tab before it would allow me to drag and drop the tracks.
Finding Missing Album Art
TuneUp does have a feature where it will scan your whole library for missing artwork and allow you to click a Save All button to fix them in one shot.
The first time I tried this feature, I had 427 missing cover art. I pressed the Save All button and came back hours later and it had only fixed about 25 of them… That’s when I noticed that each song could have several cover art choices associated with them. If you click on the art for a song, it will show the various choices. You can then pick the one you want and have it save that one. So again, this is an interactive feature that will take time to use. If you have a big library, it will take quite a bit of time.
While a song is playing the Now Playing screen will give you options to other content such as YouTube videos, concert notifications for your area, other song purchase recommendations and news.
Honestly, I wish I could turn off this screen because when I am working on cleaning up my library, I don’t want to automatically load this info and switch over to this tab every time I click play on a song.
The concerts tab is useful for keeping up on shows in your area.
It shows dates, times, prices and even links to purchase tickets.
There’s also an Analyze screen that will show you a graph of what specific information is missing out of your iTunes library.
Hmmm, it looks like mine still has a LONG way to go…
TuneUp does a good job at finding and fixing missing information, but do wish it was faster and had a less interactive mode. As is, the price is not bad at all and I do have my fingers crossed that it will evolve as time goes by.
What methods or applications do all of you use to keep your iTunes library in tip top shape?