iTunes' Start and Stop Times

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A reader recently wrote in with a problem he was having with a rebuilt iTunes library. The gist is that although all the music played, several of the songs ended before they were supposed to and then the next tune in the playlist began playing immediately afterwards.

I suggested that he select one of these tunes, press Command-I to bring up the Info window, click the Options tab, and make sure that the Stop Time option was unchecked. Sure enough, it was checked for each of the songs he’d had difficulties with. Unchecking the option did the trick.

In his reply he wrote “Never knew what that was. I turned it off, and problem solved.” This leads me to believe that those people who take advantage of the Start and Stop time options are few and far between. And why not? What possible good could these settings do?


  • Cut off the credits. If you, like me, have a small child who watches the same movie time and time again (and you’re heartily sick of it), you can shorten the amount of time you’re committed to the thing by setting a stop time that coincides with the ending of the movie but just before the closing credits kick in. Kids movies, in particular, toss in cute little bits during the closing credits that can suck another seven minutes out of your life. Cut the credits off at the pass and practice saying “Gosh, honey, I guess this movie doesn’t have credits. Time for bed!”
  • Cut off the opening jibber-jabber. If you listen to a lot of podcasts, you’re aware that many of them fill the first minute or two with extensive openings and ads that always run the same amount of time. If one hearing was enough, feel free to use the Start Time option to cut out the first minute or so of the podcast.
  • Convert song snippets. Suppose you have a need for short passages of songs in your iTunes library—for custom ringtones or music samples, for example. iTunes lets you create those passages without an external editor. Just set start and stop times for the beginning and end of the snippet, and convert the track to another format—from AAC to MP3, for example. Only the portion of the song within the boundaries of the start and stop times will be converted and saved as a separate file.

Other ideas? Feel free to contribute some of your own in the Comments area.

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