Searching for duplicates in iTunes
June 29, 2005 11:47 AM   Subscribe

I wish the Find Duplicate Songs feature in iTunes was a little fuzzier in its matching capabilities. The way it works now is that the artist and the song title have to match exactly for it to count it as a match, which works well enough, but over the years I've had some files sneak in with (or without) a 'the' at the beginning of the song title. iTunes will not match those.

The only way I see for scanning for these kind of duplicates is the old fashioned way of eyeball-comparing the 'the' files with the entire list. iTunes doesn't offer the option of opening a second window, and if I try to filter for 'The *' for an export it brings up all songs with 'the' anywhere within its title. How can I query for all songs that start with 'The'? Or is there a better way of making that match?
posted by DandyRandy to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
copy and paste your itunes library into excel and then sort!
posted by k8t at 11:53 AM on June 29, 2005

Well, you can open a playlist window and drag your whole library into it to get the two-window effect.

But easier than that, assuming you're on a Mac, is just to drop into the Terminal and do "find ~/Music -type f -name 'The *'".
posted by nicwolff at 11:57 AM on June 29, 2005

I'm a big fan for a different idea.

How did you get two songs with the same name in there? Did you rip them yourself (*wink wink*)

Rename your songs using ieatbrainz or idtunes

which use music brainz to fingerprint the music. Especially if you didn't rip it yourself
posted by filmgeek at 11:58 AM on June 29, 2005

The best way I've found to root out duplicates with non-identical titles is to sort the whole library by time, then manually scan for tracks with the same time, or times within a couple of seconds of one another).

If you just want to get a list of all your tracks that start with "The", sort your whole library by name, select the range of "The" tracks, then "New Playlist From Selection".

Also, to get around the two-window thing, you can copy selected tracks and paste them as tab-delimited text into any application that will accept a text paste. It only copies data for the columns that are displayed, so if you only want titles, turn off the other columns in iTunes (right-click the column headings).
posted by jjg at 12:06 PM on June 29, 2005

Wouldn't you be able to make a Smart Playlist with songs whose title begins with "The"? (I don't have a copy of iTunes in front of me, so the answer to this question may well be no.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:57 PM on June 29, 2005

Would this help? If not, that site might offer something else relevant or otherwise worthwhile.
posted by kimota at 1:02 PM on June 29, 2005

Johnny's got it. Search doesn't support "starts with", but Smart Playlists do.
posted by jjg at 1:07 PM on June 29, 2005

Thanks, Johnny - that's what I did, and worked great. Turns out I had only a dozen or so (out of over 18K tracks).

How did it happen? Some CDs in my collection have been ripped at least one time before. I'm in the process of ripping the entire CD library in Apple's lossless codec; the differences are due to the way CDs are submitted to the Gracenotes database (which iTunes uses) versus the way the same disc is submitted to some other databases I've used in the past.

Thanks for your help, everyone. Now if I can just find a better way to edit .m4a tags than with iTunes...
posted by DandyRandy at 3:14 PM on June 29, 2005

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