Ask the iTunes Guy: Missing audio files, classical music, and .m4a files

You’ve got some music files on your Mac, and they all look alike in the Finder. If you want to find which ones are AAC files and which are Apple Lossless, what do you do? Well, I’ve got the answer. I also discuss the Case of the Missing Audio Files, and look at some possible ways to view classical music in iTunes.

What kind of file is this?

.m4a file info

To the left, a lossy AAC file; to the right, an Apple Lossless file.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Managing audiobooks, upgrading old iTunes files

I often get questions about managing audiobooks with iTunes, and this week I look at two of them. One is about replacing artwork on audiobooks downloaded from Audible, and the other looks at the new way iTunes 12 organizes audiobooks. I also talk about upgrading old iTunes Store music files, and finding all the tracks that iTunes says are not found.

Replacing artwork on Audible audiobooks

audible artwork1

The image above shows an audiobook with Audible’s low-quality artwork. Below, I’ve added artwork using the Add Artwork button.

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Fixing iTunes Match's quirks

I don’t know how many people use iTunes Match, but I get a fair number of questions about this subscription service. This week, I answer three questions about iTunes Match. I also explain how to add detailed artist information to tags in iTunes, and discuss that Purchased playlist that shows up every time you buy something from the iTunes Store.

Can’t match, won’t match

Q: My music library is a combination of purchased music and CD rips. I recently subscribed to iTunes Match. After the matching process was complete I noticed that quite a few of the songs I had ripped showed their iCloud status as “Uploaded” instead of “Matched.” In many cases, I had songs within the same album that were matched while others were uploaded. One example is the Beatles’ White Album: of the 30 songs, six were uploaded while the remaining songs were matched. Do you know of any workaround where I can achieve match status without re-ripping or purchasing albums on iTunes?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Prep your songs for other devices

With summer just around the corner, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about taking music from iTunes and playing it in other devices. I address two of those in this week’s column, one about burning CDs with tracks in random order, and another about putting a shuffled playlist on an SD card. I also look at how to listen to audiobooks on an iPod shuffle, and a problem where an artist’s name may show up twice in iTunes or on an iOS device.

Burning CDs with shuffled tracks

Q: I have a very long playlist created from a number of CDs. I would like to randomly mix all 500 tracks and then burn a new set of six CDs in random order. I don’t want to have to drag the tracks around in the playlist to change the order; I just want iTunes to mix them up for me. Is there an easy way to do this?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Manage your iTunes music library

This week, I look at a few questions about managing an iTunes music library, dealing with liner notes, album artwork in WAV files, and correcting capitalization in song titles. I also suggest a way to download music from the iTunes Store with an old Mac.

DIY digital booklets

Q: I’ve been ripping my CD collection and I’d like to add liner notes to my iTunes library. I’m happy to scan the CD inserts but what’s the best way to add these files so I can easily access them?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Help for old-school iPod problems

The popularity of the iPhone and iPad mean that most people who use iTunes have iOS devices. But we shouldn’t forget that there are still millions with non-iOS iPods, such as the classic, nano, and shuffle. In this week’s column, I address a couple of questions sent in by readers who use these “legacy” devices. I also look at questions about gaps not playing between songs, and devices authorized to download iTunes content.

Deleting phantom podcasts

Q: I have a podcast episode stuck on my iPod classic. I have deleted it in iTunes, and I have tried unsubscribing to the podcast. I don’t know what else to try. Do you have any ideas?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Cleaning up your iTunes library

Like children, or weeds, an iTunes library has the tendency to grow and grow. Your Mac’s internal storage does not. iTunes 12 segments your media in a way that makes it easy to forget you have a bunch of audiobooks, podcasts, or old TV shows in your library that probably don’t need to be there anymore. But iTunes also makes it easy to back that media up in another location, so it’s safe to delete and free up space on your Mac.

Offloading audiobooks

Q: I have so many audiobooks that I’m wondering if I could remove some of them from my iTunes library and hold then in a folder somewhere on my iMac?

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