Tech Culture: Fix up your music collection
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Tech Culture: Fix up your music collection4:36 /
Rich DeMuro shows you how to trim intros and outtros, spruce up tags, add artwork and get rid of duplicate songs.
[ music ] ^M00:00:12 [ background music ] >> The toughest part about managing a music collection used to be keeping track of where your CDs were. Now that we have iTunes on the scene we are managing gigs and gigs of digital music collections, and sometimes they can become a mish-mash of incomplete song titles, duplicates, and missing artwork. Hey there, I'm Rich DeMuro, and in this edition of Insider Secrets I'm gonna help you fix up your music collection, first by trimming intros and outros from your songs, then by sprucing up your tags, also adding missing artwork to your collection, and finally getting rid of any duplicate songs you may have picked up along the way. ^M00:00:41 [ music ] ^M00:00:44 [ background music ] There are some songs I love to listen to on my iPod, but I dread when they come up in the shuffle because I know I'm gonna have to fast forward through a long intro I don't want to hear every time. Thankfully iTunes has a built-in way to remember what to skip, and you only have to tell it once. First, go to the song in question and play it. Press pause at the time you really want to start listening. Now remember this number. Then go to the end of the song and do the same for any unwanted outros. Next right click the song and select the Get Info option. Click over to the Options tab, and put those numbers in the boxes labeled start time and stop time. This way, even when the song is transferred to your iPod, it will remember when to skip those annoying parts. Problem solved. ^M00:01:24 [ music ] ^M00:01:27 [ background music ] Searching through your iTunes music library is only as good as the information you provide to it. Now tags let you organize songs with various information so that you can easily create great playlists. If you're importing CDs, iTunes usually grabs the details it needs from the CD database. But sometimes it's TMI, too much information. Take for instance this laundry list of Kaney [assumed spelling] West entries in my collection. The artist is listed by himself, and then there's another entry for every other artist who lends their vocals to a song. Nice to know, but pretty unnecessary. Now to streamline, select all the album songs, and right click Get Info. iTunes is gonna warn you that you're changing several songs all at once, so make sure you want to do that. Under the Info tab enter in the information you want to keep across all songs. In this case I just want to say simply Kanye West. Now he's just one entry on my artist list. If you have a large music collection with lots of information missing, you may want to try a program like Tag and Rename for PC, or Media Rage for Mac to fill in the holes. These programs sniff out information from the filenames or the folders you keep your music in. ^M00:02:27 [ music ] ^M00:02:31 [ background music ] Music you download direct from iTunes usually comes complete with the artwork. But when you're importing CDs, even though the latest version of iTunes will check for artwork, it doesn't always find it. So here are a few ways to fill in the blanks. The quickest way to add artwork to your entire library all at once is to go to your music collection, then go to advanced, and click on Get Album Artwork. iTunes is gonna search its art database and fill in what you're missing. Now if you'd rather do it just one song at a time, right click the song, or if you have a Mac control click, and select Get Album Artwork. This also works in reverse to remove it. Now if you'd always like iTunes to automatically download the missing artwork, you can go to your preferences tab, and under general there's an option for that. So what to do if iTunes can't find your artwork for you? Don't despair, there is a manual failsafe, and here it is. First select a website to grab artwork from. Amazon.com works well, so does AllMusic.com. And if you'd like to keep it in the CNET family, try MP3.com. Search for the album, song, or artist you're looking for, and when the CD art pops up, just drag the picture into where iTunes says to. iTunes will copy the art into your collection, and it'll even show up on your iPod. ^M00:03:37 [ music ] ^M00:03:40 [ background music ] One final tip for cleaning up your music library is to get rid of those duplicate songs. iTunes can help you do just that. Just go to your library and choose View, Shop Duplicates. A list will pop up with every song that has more than one entry. But before you go delete button happy, keep in mind some songs could have different versions, so you might not want to get rid of them. If you imported some songs into your collection and then converted them into another format like MP3, you can tell which is which by selecting Get Info. The summary tab will tell you the file format, so you can decide which one you want to delete. When you're finished, click Show all Songs at the bottom of the iTunes screen to see your full library in all its glory. [ background music ] Well there you have it. A spruced up iTunes music library that hopefully is a bit easier to manage, and you can make great play lists out of it. Special thanks to our friends at McGraw-Hill, publishers of the CNET Do it Yourself book series for all their help on this Insider Secret. I'm Rich DeMuro with CNET.com. Go forth and listen. ^M00:04:31 [ music ]