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Organizing Music on iTunes & your iPod
The era of digital music has brought with it advantages like its ubiquitous presence and access as well as discomforts in organizing content. We showed you how to download songs to your iPod, how to copy CDs to your iPod and now we will give you some tips on organizing your iPod, which means organizing your music collection. No more "Unknown Album" and "cd_track1" info on your music. Cleaning up and managing your music is a simple task that can be done with iTunes, and if required additional software. Remember that a little work while adding music to your collection can go a long way in avoiding a messy music library on your iPod.
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Playlists are your Best Friends
Playlists are the best tools to manage music on digital media players. You can create any number of playlists you want and then just selectively sync these playlists to your iPod to easily listen to your favorite tracks.
The Smart Playlists feature of iTunes is a even more refined option of selecting tracks based on a dynamic selection criteria. I always have a smart playlist called Favorites - this playlist contains tracks that I’ve rated 5 stars and played more than 4 times. Say you want to listen to tracks especially at the gym; then create a smart playlist of songs that have a high BPM (Beats Per Minute), which means fast music, and that also have at least a 3 star rating! These playlists update dynamically, meaning that as you rate new songs or change ratings on older songs the playlist will automatically be updated accordingly.
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Get your Tags right
All mp3 audio files have to ability to carry in them textual information such as the artist, album etc. This information is provided by ID3 tags. Most portable media players and the iPod can read ID3 data and so can iTunes. Having a track named “unknown.mp3" is of little help in identifying the song. Having album art and properly included ID3 tags can help you identify and sort music easily. That said, if you’ve been in the habit of collecting music for some time and didn’t pay much attention to the tags, then you probably have hundreds or even thousands of such improperly tagged tracks. Manually adding this information would be a time consuming and painful process in itself, so applications like TuneUp, MusicBrainz, etc., will help you out here.
If you are looking to make small changes here and there in the ID3 tags then the song info window is the place where you can edit song information.
The song or track information window will allow you to edit the name of artist, album name, year, genre, etc. By providing these tags to your music you can later sort or organize music easily, allowing you to easily search and locate a specific track, album or artist. To edit a particular tag, let's say Artist; just click on the particular field and delete or modify the existing entry by typing in the required information. You can enter year information, album art, composer and even comments to a track. Once these tags have been added it's easy to look them up on your iPod.
As you can see, now you can sort the tracks on your iPod by Album,artist, composer, etc. which will allow you to quickly locate a particular song that you might be dying to listen to. This will also save you time and the energy spent looking up a song on your iPod.
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Let iTunes Manage your Files
Most users, like me, allow the iTunes client to automatically organize music on our iPods. If your iTunes library is maintained properly then your iPod will also be organized.
If you are a user who follows the manual style of organizing music on the iPod, then you’ve got to check each and every track before transferring it to the iPod. Learning to use iTunes features such as playlists, smart playlists, play counts, rating etc., will greatly help you in getting to the music you want quickly and painlessly.
Whenever you add music to your iTunes library that is not properly tagged, make a separate playlist out of it and see to it that it doesn't get automatically copied to your iPod - an easy thing to do if you're doing a manual sync. You can add and edit appropriate ID3 tag information and then sync to your iPod.
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Understand File naming Conventions
You might have noticed that sometimes you have tracks from the same artist listed separately though they have the same ID3 data: for example Dave Brubeck Take five and another track as Dave Brubeck Flamingo. Both these tracks, Take five & Flamingo are from the same album (Take five) by the same artist, so why do they come up as two different entries and not listed under the same album?
iTunes has some quirks with Information in these tracks. A space is most commonly the culprit. I'll use a + here to denote space:
are not considered the same artist. The space at the end of the artist name may be taken as a different name, and so it considers them two different entries.
Such quirks can usually be fixed by selecting all the tracks of an album and re-entering the ID3 data collectively. To select and edit ID3 tags for multiple tracks, select multiple tracks using Shift+mouse click. Right click or Control click to bring up the context menu, and select the "Get Info" option. Now you can edit multiple track information in a single window. Refer to the editing ID3 tag data mentioned above in the "Get your Tags Right" paragraph.