iTunes library cleanup
January 28, 2004 11:32 PM   Subscribe

Stupid iTunes question(s). I must have cleared some MP3 files off the machine manually (ie: in the Finder) but they persist in my iTunes "Library," which I infer is some kind of application-internal database. The songs I no longer have show up with an exclamation point [60K screenshot] but I can't sort on that column, so I'm looking for some way to just remove them all from my library. Conversely, I dropped some folders full of MP3s into my "iTunes Music" folder, where all the others are, and I can't get them to show up in the Library. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Is it wrong to want to prune my music collection in the Finder?
posted by scarabic to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
 
There's a free AppleScript called Remove Dead Tracks that'll get rid of all the track references with exclamation points. To add music to the library, drag it from its current location into the iTunes window. If you have "Copy music to iTunes Library" enabled in "Preferences", it'll automatically get copied to the Music folder. If not, only references to the files will be added.
posted by disarray at 12:08 AM on January 29, 2004


The iTunes library is in fact a database and is not tied strictly to the filesystem. You need to add the new files to the iTunes library. The easiest way to do that is just to drop the library folder onto iTunes. (It won't add any files that are already in the library -- you can't have two copies of the same file.)

As for deleting the tracks that have the exclamation point, try this AppleScript:

tell application "iTunes"
    set songList to every file track of library playlist 1
    repeat with theSong in songList
        if location of theSong is missing value then delete theSong
    end repeat
end tell

(Back up your library database first, it's in ~/Music/iTunes... I won't be held responsible if this script does something really damaging to your library!)
posted by kindall at 12:10 AM on January 29, 2004


Thank you for using the word infer correctly. I was just at GED prep class with some kid 2 years older than me reading goosebumps.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:44 AM on January 29, 2004


Thank you for using the word infer correctly. I was just at GED prep class with some kid 2 years older than me reading goosebumps.

He might have been in a children's lit class.
posted by The God Complex at 12:51 AM on January 29, 2004


hehe - yea, I didn't get that English degree fer nuthin' Keyser_Soze. Now find me someone who uses 'decimate' correctly and I'll buy a round for the hizzouse.

Thanks, everyone, for the help. It's good to know I'm not missing something totally obvious. But man... is the Library dumb or what? I can see the value in keeping an internal db, but gimmie a management feature or two, please! Even being able to sort on the "status" column would be huge. Actually I remember this rigamarole now from SoundJam, the progenitor of iTunes. I guess I need to stick to managing my music in the iTunes interface from now on.

So, to import music: Drag files to iTunes window. If files are not already in the iTunes folder, use "consolidate" to copy them there (I'll have to check if this does a "move" or a "copy" I guess).

To remove deleted music from Library: run applescript

Hopefully one of these days the Finder will achieve full status as an iLife app :)
posted by scarabic at 1:01 AM on January 29, 2004


Now find me someone who uses 'decimate' correctly and I'll buy a round for the hizzouse.

You are joking, right?
posted by The God Complex at 1:06 AM on January 29, 2004


In order to move from the old Imperial system, the Government deemed it necessary to decimate the older currency.
posted by seanyboy at 4:22 AM on January 29, 2004


I should decimate ask.me answerers - particularly as only 90% of them are on-topic.

Is it wrong to want to prune my music collection in the Finder?

I'd definitely say yes, to this, if you're using itunes. I prune from within itunes itself, which always gives me the option of removing files from the system as well as the library. This has to be an easier method, no?
posted by nthdegx at 4:44 AM on January 29, 2004


I should decimate ask.me answerers - particularly as only 90% of them are on-topic.

Mine's a pint, then!
posted by carter at 5:42 AM on January 29, 2004


The non-finder way to add stuff to the library lives in the File > Add to Library menu which I expect you already knew. The benefits of adding this way is that you can select whole folders full of sub-folders or multiple folders at a time.

You can also, via an advanced preference called "Keep iTunes organized" combined with "copy files to iTunes folder when adding to library", make iTunes basically take music from wherever it is on your hard drive and automagically set up file folders in the sort of Artist > Album > Song way it normally does [and yeah it's a copy not a move]. Some p2p software programs like Aquisition will let you automatically copy and import songs into the iTunes library once they are downloaded to your hard drive. I've had mixed success with this. Pruning from the Finder is going to give you the exclamation point headache, though the scripts will mostly take care of it, and iTunes will helpfully offer to delete your files once you've removed them from the library which is a bassackwards way of doing basically the same thing.
posted by jessamyn at 6:30 AM on January 29, 2004


Yay! Everybody at my house just raised their glass ;)

Seriously, The_God_Complex, you don't hear people use "decimate" as "thoroughly destroy" on a regular basis?
posted by scarabic at 10:38 AM on January 29, 2004


(It won't add any files that are already in the library -- you can't have two copies of the same file.)

Tell this to my poor, mangled mp3 directory!
posted by sudama at 11:01 AM on January 29, 2004


You can have two files that are the same song, of course, but what I meant is that iTunes won't put two copies of the same file (i.e. file path) in the library.
posted by kindall at 11:28 AM on January 29, 2004


I have noticed that it generally avoids duplicating files, but I'm pretty sure that at some point some version of iTunes in response to some foolhardy manipulation I attempted caused some files to become duplicated in the standard filename.mp3,filename 1.mp3, filename 2.mp3 manner. Woe is me.
posted by sudama at 12:23 PM on January 29, 2004


Oh, in the library. Right then.
posted by sudama at 12:24 PM on January 29, 2004


Seriously, The_God_Complex, you don't hear people use "decimate" as "thoroughly destroy" on a regular basis?

Of course I do, but it's also to the point where that has become such a common usage that it is the de facto usage of the word. In some cases that should be railed against, but when the usage has deteriorated so far and, in this case, found a much more useful meaning, there's nothing to be done and no real reason to do it.

Originally, as dictionary.com (or any decent etymological dictionary will indicate) it referred to the Roman army's practice when dealing with mutinous legions: the killing of one tenth of the soldiers. Now, realistically, what possible purpose could a word like this serve today? Either it will fall into dissuse and disappear completely, or it will morph into something entirely different, which I have no problem with.

The only real problem the people seem to have with the usage is when they don't refer to killing, but even that is used often enough to be acceptable, since it is, I would think, close to being understood 100% of the time.

Take the word forte, for example. As in posting long-winded, tangential responses in Ask Metafilter is my forte. By all rights it should be pronounced as the word fort is pronounced, but I bet you 80% of the people you ask will pronounce it for-tay, which has nothing to do with a specific talent and everything to do with Italian music. That said, if you resist the urge to follow accept usage changes, as some people are wont to do, you'll end up confusing your audience more than anything else (His fort? He has a fort? Who is this guy, Davy Crockett?).

I guess that's my extended way of saying that I'm not sure I agree on the proper use of decimate ;). These battles have to be fought early if they're to be fought at all.

posted by The God Complex at 1:20 PM on January 29, 2004




Blasted italics.
posted by The God Complex at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2004


Of course I do, but it's also to the point where that has become such a common usage that it is the de facto usage of the word

Yea, proscriptive/descriptive, etc, etc. So then what about infer/imply? Is it cool to start interchanging those?

I'm not a huge proscriptivist, but your rules seem pretty loosey-goosey to me. Some cases should be railed against, but you judge this one to be too far gone. Ok, I guess there's nothing to argue with there.

I just think decimate is a fun one, because the 1/10th thing is so obvious from the word itself, once you listen to it closely.
posted by scarabic at 8:23 PM on January 29, 2004


No, infer/imply should be used properly. That one is still very viable and worth stopping before it's wrestled away from the grasp of linguists everywhere and decimated ;)
posted by The God Complex at 2:48 PM on January 30, 2004


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