Ask the iTunes Guy: Importing single CD tracks, iCloud Download, Apple Music DRM, and status bar toggles

Lots of readers are writing in with questions about iTunes 12 and its quirks. In this week’s column, I explain how to import single tracks from CDs, which is different in the latest version of iTunes. I look at the iCloud Download column that displays in list views. I try and explain why Apple Music’s music files have DRM. And I highlight a bug in the way iTunes displays some information about playlists.

Ripping individual tracks from CDs

Q: Sometimes I want to rip just a few tracks on a CD, not the entire disc. Previously, you could drag and drop tracks from a CD right onto the Music library. Now, you can only add a track to a playlist. Is there any other way to import just one track?

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Ask the iTunes Guy: Coping with iTunes features that have disappeared

Whenever a new version of iTunes rears its head, new features are added, but also some features get cut. In this week’s column, I look at several of these features that are missing in action. In some cases—such as shuffling all music by an artist in the iOS Music app, or streaming Beats 1 radio over AirPlay—I offer a workaround. For another, I can only lament that certain useful features have been axed.

iTunes Radio and explicit lyrics

Q: My favorite part about iTunes Radio was that you could filter for explicit lyrics. Has that been removed?

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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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