Ask the iTunes Guy: Buying music from Apple Music, ripping noisy CDs, file names

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from people who would rather own music than rent it from Apple. In this week’s column, I look a question about how to quickly find Apple Music tracks in the iTunes Store. I also look at The Case of the Noisy Track from a ripped CD; answer a question about funny file names; and look at how iTunes sorts the names of artists and albums that begin with the word “The.”

Buying music from Apple Music

Q: I enjoy listening to music through Apple Music, and regularly come across something worth keeping. I know I can just add Apple Music tracks or albums to my iTunes library and even download them, but I’m old-fashioned; if I’m going to have something in my library and listen to it regularly, I like to own it. There doesn’t seem to be a “Buy This” or even a “View this in the iTunes Store” option for Apple Music tracks and albums. I end up having to manually search the iTunes store for the same music that I already had open in iTunes (Mac) or Music (iOS). Am I missing something obvious, or is Apple this uninterested in selling me the music it thought I’d like to listen to?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: iTunes libraries on the new MacBook Pro, orderly audiobook playback

Did Santa bring you a new MacBook Pro for Christmas? If so, you may have a problem that a number of readers have been asking about lately. With no hard drive option in these new Macs, what do you do if you have a large media library and don’t want to pay the SSD tax? After a long examination of that question, I also look at a problem with ripping audiobooks and playing their tracks in order.

Where can I store my iTunes library with a MacBook Pro?

Q: I need to replace my 2008 MacBook Pro, which has a 1TB hard drive. But none of the new MacBook Pro models offer a hard drive option, and it would cost a lot to get the same amount of storage on an SSD. I’ve got about 400GB of media files on my Mac, and it’s my only computer. I don’t stream music, so what solutions do I have? Can I put my iTunes library on a network drive and access it via Wi-Fi? What effect will this have on performance, and how do I ensure that it’s backed up?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: A look at the major changes in the iOS 10.2 Music app

This week’s release of iOS 10.2 saw a number of changes to Apple’s mobile operating system, as well as some tweaks to the iOS Music app. In this week’s column, I tell you what’s changed, so you can be up to date: I explain the new way to sort albums and songs by artist or title, and I show you how you can (finally) rate your songs again on your iPhone or iPad. I then answer a question about music disappearing from the iTunes Store, and discuss what to do if you’re tired of renting music from Apple.

Sorting songs and albums

Q: I just updated my iPhone to iOS 10.2, and there isn’t an option to sort music in the Settings. How do I alphabetize my music by song title now?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Consolidating iTunes libraries and library track limits

In this week’s column, I answer just two questions, both of which require fairly long explanations. The first asks about consolidating iTunes libraries on two computers, and the second asks if a large iTunes library slows down the app. You may be surprised how easy it is to accomplish the first, and how quirky iTunes can be regarding the second.

Consolidating two iTunes libraries

Q: I have two laptops, and both have iTunes. About 95% of each library is the same songs; the rest are different. I want to consolidate the two libraries into one that includes all the songs in both libraries. Then, I want that one consolidated library to be shared by these same two computers. How can I do this?

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AppleScript, the perfect adjunct to iTunes: An open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook

Dear Mr. Cook,

I was chagrined to learn that Sal Soghoian, who was Apple’s Product Manager of Automation Technologies, was let go for “business reasons.” Mr. Soghoian had been with Apple for nearly 20 years, and was the keeper of the flame for technologies such as AppleScript, Automator, and more.

In my writings about iTunes, I have often explained to readers how they could extend iTunes’s feature set using AppleScripts. Most of these have been written by Doug Adams, proprietor of Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes, a site that started out as a repository of tools to extend iTunes, but has become an essential resource for iTunes users. [Full disclosure: Doug and I host a podcast together.]

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Mysterious iCloud Status, deleting songs from a playlist, and more

Sometimes too much information makes things confusing; iTunes’ display of iCloud Status for movies and TV shows is one example. I explain what this means. I also discuss how to delete songs from a playlist on iOS 10, how to combine playlists in iTunes, and what happens when iTunes Match is turned off.

Cloudy iCloud Status

Q: A friend showed me his iTunes library recently. In his Movies library, he has a column called iCloud Status, which says something about each of his movies. In my iTunes library, if I display that column, everything is blank. Why is this?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: iCloud Music Library video restrictions, playlist issues, and more

Sometimes I long for the simpler days of yore. When iTunes was a music player and didn’t have all these complicated features, and perplexing clouds that make listening to music a chore. In this week’s column, I look at some irksome issues with iTunes 12. In same cases, you may not see all your playlists in the iTunes sidebar, and I explain why. I explain why you cannot sync videos to the cloud. I look at a question about sharing playlists that contain music that isn’t matched, but rather uploaded to iCloud Music Library. Finally, I look at a question about buying the contents of a playlist.

Vanishing playlists

show all playlists

Click here to view all your playlists in the iTunes sidebar.

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