MacInTouch Amazon link...

iTunes and alternatives

Channels
Apple
I suppose we can assume that you didn't perform the original rips on that Mac (or a Mac that was migrated from the one that performed the rip). Otherwise, iTunes should have had the metadata associated with the CD that you entered at that time.
Somehow, I don't think he bought those 1400 CDs just today. If his collection is like mine (I also have over 1000 CDs), they have been purchased individually over a period of decades (in my case, since 1988).
[Laughing...] I started ripping my CDs with whichever version of iTunes offered ripping, so I have migrated Macs probably a dozen times. I remember having to enter all of my own data in the early days, and I spent dozens of hours every weekend cleaning things up.

It would be so nice if iTunes "replace existing" had an option to grab the metadata from whatever was being replaced.

And, no, I don't have the funds to rip lossless, because I am saving my quarters and half-dollars for a new Mac Pro, because my "trashcan" Mac always runs throttled, due to heat.
 


It would be so nice if iTunes "replace existing" had an option to grab the metadata from whatever was being replaced.
Yeah, that's the problem. If you're re-ripping, I don't believe there is any direct way to associate existing custom metadata from the old version of a song to a new version of a song.

I think it would be possible to write a script that could extract the data from the current iTunes library XML file and use that to create an updated library file with correct metadata associations, but I'm pretty sure that it would be a non-trivial task.

Have you investigated trying to use iTunes Match? It's certainly not perfect, but it might substantially reduce the amount of re-ripping you need to do.
 


And, no, I don't have the funds to rip lossless, because I am saving my quarters and half-dollars for a new Mac Pro, because my "trashcan" Mac always runs throttled, due to heat.
Years ago, I ripped most of my CD catalog into iTunes. After some experimentation, I brought everything in as ALAC. I budgeted 500 MB (0.5 GB) of space for each disc, even though many came in well below that. Dark Side of the Moon, for example, is closer to 250 MB (0.25 GB) in size. Using that information, a 1000-disc collection would come in at under 500 GB (0.5 TB) in size, almost trivial with the cost of storage being what it is today.
(Note that I am talking about CD discs and not CD albums.)
Somehow, I don't think he bought those 1400 CDs just today. If his collection is like mine (I also have over 1000 CDs), they have been purchased individually over a period of decades (in my case, since 1988).
Had a roommate who would go to Turtle's and come back with twenty or more CD albums at a time. I was constantly helping on weekends to add stickers to his savings cards for him to go back and get more. Other parts of the weekend were spent alphabetizing and recatagorizing the collection. To this day, I figure I would have a much larger collection than I do, except I did not have to purchase any for years. He had most everything I would listen to at the time.
 


Yeah, that's the problem. If you're re-ripping, I don't believe there is any direct way to associate existing custom metadata from the old version of a song to a new version of a song.

Have you investigated trying to use iTunes Match? It's certainly not perfect, but it might substantially reduce the amount of re-ripping you need to do.
I found this website:

Step 4 of the instructions are slightly different under Mojave:
- Select all the songs in the playlist, right-click and "remove download"
- Edit the Playlist rules to change iCloud Status is Matched and iCloud Status is Purchased to Location is iCloud and Location is not on this computer, and change Any to All.

Now select all, right-click and select Download. iTunes will show as "Not Responding" for a while, and then the songs will start downloading and will show as "Matched AAC file" in your library. I only have 9,000 more to go, but I have noticed that sometimes only a handful of songs on an album are being downloaded, so there is still some debugging to do.
 


I think it would be possible to write a script that could extract the data from the current iTunes library XML file and use that to create an updated library file with correct metadata associations, but I'm pretty sure that it would be a non-trivial task.
[FYI:]
Years ago, I ripped most of my CD catalog into iTunes. After some experimentation, I brought everything in as ALAC. I budgeted 500 MB (0.5 GB) of space for each disc, even though many came in well below that.
My 334 discs, ripped as Apple Lossless, average 273 MB per disc, assuming that iTunes is using base 10. The total size is 91.11 GB.
 


My 334 discs, ripped as Apple Lossless, average 273 MB per disc, assuming that iTunes is using base 10. The total size is 91.11 GB.
Yes, that seems to be very typical, Michael. Have you noticed any differences in quality? When I did try to compare a CD versus an iPod containing the same content in ALAC, I was hard pressed to tell the difference. Felt very comfortable in making that commitment. Since then, Apple has made ALAC open source and royalty-free, allowing it to now be used by other software and hardware devices. It has only been Apple's manhandling of my data within iTunes which has turned me off of late.

With a current maximum of 80 min/700 GB per CD disc, I could have used a lower estimated value at the time, but I gave myself plenty of wiggle room, as ALAC was fairly new. (Besides, it was easier to use the numbers I did for quick math when sizing my RAID for this task.)
Wikipedia said:
Apple Lossless - Codec
According to Apple, audio files compressed with its lossless codec will use up "about half the storage space" that the uncompressed data would require. Testers using a selection of music have found that compressed files are about 40% to 60% the size of the originals depending on the kind of music, which is similar to other lossless formats. Furthermore, compared to some other formats, it is not as difficult to decode, making it practical for a limited-power device, such as older iOS devices.
 


Thanks. I figured Doug would have something along those lines. Still, even with his script, it requires some planning, and it's not a procedure for the faint of heart. To write a robust, safe, highly automated script would be very challenging, given the limited nature of the information captured in the XML file. Definitely have good library backups before attempting anything like this.
 


Yes, that seems to be very typical, Michael. Have you noticed any differences in quality? When I did try to compare a CD versus an iPod containing the same content in ALAC, I was hard pressed to tell the difference.
I use XLD to rip. When I get a perfect rip, which is almost always, the lossless rip sounds the same as the source CD.
 


Thanks. I figured Doug would have something along those lines. Still, even with his script, it requires some planning, and it's not a procedure for the faint of heart. To write a robust, safe, highly automated script would be very challenging, given the limited nature of the information captured in the XML file. Definitely have good library backups before attempting anything like this.
I didn't mean that this script can extract from the XML file. This script copies the metadata from one track to another. What you can do is temporarily rename the existing album in iTunes, re-rip the CD, then use the script to copy the metadata from the old album to the newly ripped tracks. (These procedures have been discussed previously on MacInTouch.)
 



[FYI:]
My 334 discs, ripped as Apple Lossless, average 273 MB per disc, assuming that iTunes is using base 10. The total size is 91.11 GB.
We've discussed some of this before on MacInTouch (iTunes and alternatives), as I was (and still am) in the process or re-ripping my 7500+ CDs. I have my simple way (post-14389) of keeping all my meticulously curated metadata from previous rips. I'm ripping to Apple Lossless now too, so that I can easily convert between lossless formats in the future, if I have to. :-)
I have a dedicated 4TB drive for iTunes media, including original MP3 rips, lossless audio, music videos, laserdisc music concert rips, digital music videos, etc.
 


Not to mention that when ripping a CD into iTunes, there doesn't seem to be a good way to preview the choices when iTunes suggests multiple possible Gracenote choices for the CD's metadata.
I generally select one, and if the first information is sloppy or inaccurate, I try another option. I pick whichever one is least error-riddled. I edit everything I want fixed before I import the CD.

I'm not sure why "Get track names" had to be moved from where it was in iTunes 11 to an iTunes 12 dropdown menu invoked by the tiny settings icon at the upper left. For classical tracks, I always end up having to edit whatever Gracenotes gives me. My approach is that the CD title should actually be the title as shown on the CD (call me crazy}, that track info should match the track info given on the CD (no braindead initial caps treatment of everything, etc.), and that the info should be consistent (for example, not using a mix of Roman and arabic numerals to list movements within the same piece). I also have my own conventions about naming, arrived at after many hours of ripping and organiziing: composers listed by last name, then first name plus birth–death years. In the Comments field, I enter the label and catalog number (e.g. Decca 4787 2661).

Whenever I find a CD that is really error-filled, I submit my corrected track names, but who knows if those submissions ever make it into the database?
 


Not to mention that when ripping a CD into iTunes, there doesn't seem to be a good way to preview the choices when iTunes suggests multiple possible Gracenote choices for the CD's metadata.
I just select one, see what garbage it is, go back to Gracenote, try again, repeat... decide on the closest one, dig out the CD or album cover and correct the mess. I think Gracenote saves me some typing.
 


It would be so nice if iTunes "replace existing" had an option to grab the metadata from whatever was being replaced.
Unfortunately, that would be ultimately doomed to fail in really frustrating ways, since the algorithm to match the new file against what's in your library will never be perfect. Users of iTunes Match are very familiar with what can happen when matching algorithms break.

My only advice is of no help to you now but might help for the future, so you don't have to do this a third time:

When ripping CDs, be sure to make all your edits to the CD's metadata before you rip the disc. Then, after it all looks good, perform the rip. The imported tracks will have whatever you entered on the CD and (most importantly) the iTunes CD database will also have the data. So the next time you insert that disc, it will have what you entered.

The last time I looked for this database, it was stored in ~/Library/CD Info.cidb, but I think it must have moved at some point, because the file on my system was last updated in 2017, and I've rippled plenty of CDs since then.
 


When ripping CDs, be sure to make all your edits to the CD's metadata before you rip the disc. Then, after it all looks good, perform the rip. The imported tracks will have whatever you entered on the CD and (most importantly) the iTunes CD database will also have the data. So the next time you insert that disc, it will have what you entered.
Yes. This is the key point and best practice when ripping CDs. Worth [emphasizing], in my opinion.
 


It would be so nice if iTunes "replace existing" had an option to grab the metadata from whatever was being replaced.
A number of years ago, I replaced many discs I had previously ripped [at 256Kbps] with new rips of Apple Lossless. The secret was to make sure that all the metadata matched between the disc and the previously ripped tracks. If the match was good enough, iTunes replaced the lossy files with lossless and kept all the metadata, including play count and last-played time stamps.
 


When ripping CDs, be sure to make all your edits to the CD's metadata before you rip the disc. Then, after it all looks good, perform the rip. The imported tracks will have whatever you entered on the CD and (most importantly) the iTunes CD database will also have the data. So the next time you insert that disc, it will have what you entered.
If you are adding universally useful data, like the original release years of each track in an artist’s retrospective or other collection, please share your work with the rest of us and update GraceNote!
 


When ripping CDs, be sure to make all your edits to the CD's metadata before you rip the disc. Then, after it all looks good, perform the rip. The imported tracks will have whatever you entered on the CD and (most importantly) the iTunes CD database will also have the data. So the next time you insert that disc, it will have what you entered.
You can use another of Doug's AppleScripts — Copy Track Info to CD Tracks — to copy metadata to the CD data, which means you can:
  1. Rip CD using whatever garbled data Gracenote provides.
  2. Obsess over correcting the iTunes imported track data to be just right.
  3. Use the script to copy the track data back to the CD, so it will be there the next time you insert the disc.
It may be a while before these scripts work in Catalina.
 



Apple has turned iTunes into a huge interactive advertisement for Apple Music. They have made it useless for anyone who doesn't like or doesn't want Apple Music. ... The first thing I noticed was that streaming radio stations have been eliminated.
You can get rid of almost all of the annoying "Apple Music" junk in pre-Catalina iTunes and in Catalina's Music.app (including the newer "Apple Radio" functions) by going to

iTunes/Music.app > Preferences > Restrictions > Disable > Apple Music​

Unfortunately, iTunes' under-appreciated, curated list of "Internet Radio" streaming stations (as distinct from Apple's newer, completely unrelated "Radio" function) has been deprecated.

If you are using iTunes 12 or earlier, the list of Internet Radio streaming stations is still accessible in iTunes, though Apple appears to have stopped updating the list. Consequently, it is likely that station links will break or disappear as time marches on.

(Note: If you're using iTunes but don't see "Internet Radio" in the sidebar, it may be on the Music pulldown menu, or you may need to find the sidebar's hidden "Edit" button by hovering in the top right of the sidebar and clicking the "Internet Radio" check box.)

If you're using the Catalina Music.app, the curated list is gone completely, but you still can play traditional streaming radio stations if you know the URL for the radio station's streaming feed (File > Open Stream URL ...). Unfortunately, the resulting interface is clunky, at best.

P.S. Thanks to Michael Schmidt, who shared a tip a while back about hiding Apple Music features through iTunes' General Preferences that eventually led me to find the Restrictions Preference setting that addresses both Apple Music and Apple Radio.
 


Speaking of iTunes.....

I don't know if anyone else has had this experience but this is new(s) to me. Up until recently we needed to authorize a computer to play streaming music in iTunes via Apple Music (the $9.99/month subscription). One was also limited to 5 total computers for Apple Music streaming (and 10 total devices).

I've noticed recently that the 5-computer limit seems to have gone away. I had 5 devices authorized to play Apple Music but, just for sh**s and grins, I tried playing some music on my recently purchased HP Spectre x360, and it worked just fine. To verify, I used another non-authorized computer in an attempt to play music, and that worked as well.

Is this something new? Is the 5-computer limit gone now? (Spotify, conversely, never had that limit. The only limit Spotify imposes is on how many computers can download music for offline listening.)
 


Unfortunately, iTunes' under-appreciated, curated list of "Internet Radio" streaming stations (as distinct from Apple's newer, completely unrelated "Radio" function) has been deprecated.
Wikipedia has a curated list of radio stations available on the Internet at this link:

You may find, as I did, that not every link is fresh. For example, the links to my hometown NPR stations are no longer current. Were I a Wikipedia editor, I'd fix that....

Using Firefox, I randomly clicked one station and had no trouble accessing its live feed within Firefox. After finding the new URLs of my local university's stations, I was able to launch the classical station's feed within Firefox.

Since I'm running Little Snitch, it did require clicking a good number of "Allow" buttons to complete the connection. It was much faster on my Linux desktop, which doesn't benefit (or suffer?) from Little Snitch.
 


You may find, as I did, that not every link is fresh. For example, the links to my hometown NPR stations are no longer current. Were I a Wikipedia editor, I'd fix that....
I use the NPR app in iOS/iPadOS to listen to a local NPR station (and you can add many more). Naturally, there's nothing from NPR for macOS (yet), but a quick look at the Mac App Store showed at least two English-language FM radio apps (myTuner and OneRadio).
 


There are several standalone radio apps available via the Mac App Store, as well as third-party radio apps discoverable on macupdate.com. I grabbed a few free apps and have found they offer a variety of features and interfaces.
 



You may find, as I did, that not every link is fresh. For example, the links to my hometown NPR stations are no longer current. Were I a Wikipedia editor, I'd fix that....
Go for it. You don't need to be blessed as an editor on Wikipedia (except for certain high-profile pages that attract extensive vandalism). If you know the correct link, please change it.
 


Rearranging apps in iOS 13 is a mess. All I wanted to do was add a couple of apps to the dock on an iPad Pro 10.5. No luck, even after installing the iPadOS 13.2 Public Beta. Apple Configurator 2.11 fails to apply changes.

iTunes 12.6.3.6 running in an El Capitan VMware Fusion virtual machine does the job. It does not show the list of installed apps, but it does show all home screens, folders, and the dock. Apps can be moved between screens folders, and the dock. When iTunes asks to Sync and Replace, just Cancel, or it will replace the library on the iPad with the one from the virtual machine. There is a brief pause after hitting Apply before changes show up on the iPad.

This does not seem to interfere with Finder's iPad backup and sync operations in Catalina.
 


You can use another of Doug's AppleScripts — Copy Track Info to CD Tracks — to copy metadata to the CD data, which means you can:
  1. Rip CD using whatever garbled data Gracenote provides.
  2. Obsess over correcting the iTunes imported track data to be just right.
  3. Use the script to copy the track data back to the CD, so it will be there the next time you insert the disc.
It may be a while before these scripts work in Catalina.
I just downloaded, tested and paid for this script. As Michael says, I can insert the CD, select my original cleaned-up mp3 import, and copy the track data to the CD, so that the AAC import comes in clean.
 


Amazon disclaimer:
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts