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Help! My iTunes Folder Has Unknown Albums!

written by: normaking•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 10/12/2010

Every music collection usually ends up with a few unknown albums in the mix. There is a quick way to get rid of all the Unknown albums in your iTunes folder and retrieve labels for them by using the magic of music ID tagging.

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    Where did this track come from?

    icon Now isn't that a question that you've asked yourself a bunch of times? The very fact that you need to look around your iTunes album filled with Album names that say Unknown and ditto for the Artists field means that you're in a bit of a tight spot. Worry not, for it happens to all of

    The problem of the unknown folder will be more intense if you don't have iTunes set to copy all music to its own iTunes library folder from the start. This will mean that not only is your iTunes library filled up with name-less tracks, but so is your computer.

    The great iTunes purge requires that you get all of this straight. But maybe the word purge is a bit too strong. What if hidden in those Unknown folders is your favorite music or the one piece of Mahler that will inspire your next big piece of art? There is a way to solve all of this and it is simple but it can take up a bit of your time. If your music library has more than a couple thousand songs you will need to set aside a weekend for sorting this out. Rest assured that once you do this, you will end up with a music library that is much easier to navigate.

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    Quick! What is that song?

    t3 The first thing you need to do is set iTunes to organize your music by itself. Once that is done find a copy of either one of the following applications — SongGenie or MPFreaker. I've used both these apps in the past and my vote (and money) definitely goes to SongGenie for its amazing UI as well as its ability to help sort through a bunch of songs quickly. Just turn on automatic detection and set it loose. SongGenie also plugs into more databases than MPFreaker so there is a pretty good chance what you want is in there. When I ran it, it even managed to find songs that I had picked up on my travels to India and even some quick Latin numbers. There really is no competition when it comes song recognition. Not only will SongGenie find out the name, artist and album of the songs that you select, it will also retrieve the cover art while you're at it.

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    I still have 30 Untitled songs…

    Since we've narrowed down the number of songs that are nameless we need to track down the rest with old detective work. Listen to a snippet of each of the songs and decide if you like it. If you don't delete it ASAP. If it is one of your favorites then you'll know it instantly and if it is some unheard track that you like, then just Google the lyrics! This isn't the quickest method, but at times it may be your only option.