How I edit track metadata in iTunes

I’ve got a confession to make: I have a compulsion about iTunes track data: I’m obsessed with making sure it’s accurate and, more importantly, consistent. This is especially true of classical music: I have a format that I like all my classical tracks to follow when it comes to name, artist, and album that I think makes it easier to find the music I want on my Mac and on my iOS devices. So I spend some time—some might say an inordinate amount of time—making sure that all of that data is the way I want it.

There are a couple of ways to do that. First and most simply is to select a bunch of tracks and hit Command-I (or select File > Get Info) and edit the metadata there. This obviously works best for fields like Album and Artist—fields that are the same for multiple tracks. You can edit that information for multiple tracks simultaneously from the Get Info window.

That approach doesn’t work as well for the Name of the track. It’s inefficient to select tracks one at a time and open Get Info for each one. Fortunately, you don’t have to: If you select a track then click on its name, that Name field becomes editable. You can type whatever you want directly in the Name field.

But that is still pretty inefficient for renaming a bunch of tracks at once. Which is why I use the Search and Replace Tag Text script from Doug’s Applescripts—an awesome collection of scripts for use with iTunes. As the name implies, this script can search and replace all kinds of metadata, but I find it handiest for editing track names.

Once you download it, you put it in your /Library/iTunes/Scripts folder. That done, it appears in the iTunes scripts menu. What you do is select a bunch of tracks at once, then open that scripts menu and select the Search and Replace Tag Text script. You tell it what you want to look for—I select and copy the text from one of the tracks I want to change and paste that into the search field—then tell it what you want to replace that text with. It runs through the selected tracks, searching for and replacing the text you’ve supplied, and the changes are made, just like that.

That’s just one of the handy scripts available from the Doug’s Applescripts site. There’s even one that lets you use regular expressions to search and replace metadata, if you want to get really geeky about it. The point is, there are multiple ways to edit and manage track metadata in iTunes and, if you want to keep your library well organized, you’d be well served to learn them.

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