The thing with proprietary software solutions, is that they are great. Everything tends to work smoothly together right up to the point where you decide to wander off the beaten path of supplier XYZ. A couple of years ago I made the crucial mistake of pouring my entire music collection into iTunes. Now, some 10 000 songs later .. its still in there. Being totally OCD I have organized all my tracks into nice little playlists and enjoy my tunes in the “Apple walled garden”. Whether I am playing them from the Mac, sharing out the iTunes library over iTunes to my other macs, blasting them from the Airport express speakers or syncing them to my other i-Devices.
But a couple of weeks ago I could not help myself myself and crawled over the walled garden into android territory with my purchase of a Galaxy Note 2. And accessing my delicately curated iTunes library from THIS device turns out to be an near impossible task. The deep crevasse that divides me from listening to my tunes on my “droid” consists of an incompatibility to sync with iTunes (only IOS devices of course) and the total inability to get the music on my Android in an organised form. Sure I can browse the filestructure of my iTunes library and copy over files to the SD card on my Phone .. but iTunes has “reorganized” my music into folders according to artist .. not according to playlist.
Enter Tunesync. A two-part application app in the android store that saves the day. The deal is simple. Download the server part of their app and install it on your Mac that is running iTunes. Download the CLIENT side of their application and install that to your Android device. Make sure both are on the same wifi network and be amazed !
Tunesync detected my (massive) iTunes library and started indexing the playlists right away. After I selected the playlists I wanted to have on my Android it started to copy over the tracks AND the playlist order in my Androids music collection. 20 minutes later I had all the grooves I needed on my Note2. Tunesync regularly “checks” if the playlists are still up to date and “updates” them whenever I connect or start up the app. I had expected some glitches and on one occasion Tunesync had given me all my playlists .. with no tracks inside ( it erases and re-copies all the tracks on every sync instead of doing an incremental) but when I retried the sync it worked flawlessly.
Tunesync does one thing and it does it well, and the hilarious part is , it does it better then Apples iTunes-IOS wireless sync ! The app is 4.99 in the Play store and worth every dime.
Tunesync is available from the Play Store.
Its quite amazing when you stop and think that iTunes is almost 10 years old this year. Apple’s end-all-be-all monotheistic gateway for your music collection towards your iPod device, is an application that is loved and hated equally. Like a teenage mom, iTunes went from a young, innocent slender application whose sole purpose was to curate your music collection, to an over-bloated thirty-something iPod-Baby machine that had acquired more functionality (and resources) over the years. Right before Apple gave iTunes a much needed binary liposuction with version 11, iTunes was one fat mama.
But that fat mama had started herding my music collection back in its younger years, and over the course of 10 years 15000 tracks have found their way into its arms. Over 100 playlists divide these tracks into manageable chunks and … I’ll probably never get them out again. Album art, MP3 tags, comments, stars, iTunes poisons my library with proprietary metadata and decides its a better idea to arrange the songs for me instead of my own ‘one album per folder’ setup.
When I started using Linux and other operating systems more and more, I got annoyed with the fact that I could not access my iTunes music from a different OS then OSX .. and that bugged me.
Hence it was time for the great escape ! A search for an application that would export every track in every playlist that I had to a predetermined folder structure that would be compatible with parallel universes WITHOUT iTunes. After hitting “The Google” for hours on end, I decided to enter the terms “iTunes Export” and came across a brilliant little application by Eric Daugherty called .. “iTunes Exporter”.
How it works ? Simple : On Osx (sorry , its an OSX app only) close iTunes and fire up “iTunes Exporter” Select the playlists you want to export and voila : iTunes exporter creates a folder with the name of the playlist and exports the tracks (using their id3 tags as file names) together with a playlist file. The result is simple and brilliant : Your (non DRM’d) music exported to a folder tree, ready to be imported into any media system of your choice. Its handy if you iPod-iPhone or whatever iDevice ever breaks .. or you just buy an Android device.
In the words of some Scottish guy with an ax and a skirt : FREEEEDOOOOMM !!!
Links : iTunes Exporter.
My hairdresser ( of all people ) came to me with an interesting question. He had 14 copies of Michael Jackson. I suggested he would start hiding his children, but it turned out he referred to his iTunes library. These 14 duplicate songs resided in several playlists throughout his massive library. His question was ” how do I track and remove duplicate songs ? “. My counterquestion was ” why should you want to ? ”
Tracking and deleting duplicate songs in iTunes is a doozy. The system is however flawed. Lets say we deleted 12 of the 13 instances of ‘Billy Jean’ out of iTunes. This would give us just one remaining playlist where the track remains and 12 others that have been ” Billy Jean lobotomized.”
This would have devastating results for the Billy Jean play count and would push a track so great that 13 different cd’s, albums and playlists decided to include it. Billy Jean would become an obscure track, only residing in the one untouched playlist.
If iTunes worked right it would delete the 12 duplicates but would “link” the gaps to the remaining tracks, that would be the only logical course of action leaving the user experience intact. But in the end the question is : Why would we want to delete them. With an average mp3 track at 3 meg and the average harddrive at a terrabyte .. Why bother ?
Still : the people behind Apples support article on “how to delete duplicate tracks from iTunes” still have some thinking to do.
Link : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2905