Printing playlists, displaying bit rates, and shuffling music

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The iTunes Guy gets all kinds of questions, and this week I look at some queries about printing playlists, which device to use for streaming music, displaying bit rates, playing music in shuffle mode, and more.

Q: When I print a playlist from iTunes, the name of the song is always in the first column, the album second, and the artist third. I do a radio show and have to record each song, and if the artist is in the first column, it would save me a lot of writing if I could print out my playlists in the order I have to record. Do you know a way of doing this?

iTunes’ print options are very limited, but you can print out lists of music in another way. Set up all the music you want in a playlist, and drag the columns to the order you want; in your case, drag the Artist column to the left. Hide any columns you don’t want to see (press Command-J to open the View Options window and uncheck the column you want to hide.)

Here's what you get when you paste a playlist into an Excel spreadsheet.

Now select all the tracks and press Command-C. Switch to a spreadsheet program like Numbers or Excel, create a new spreadsheet, then press Command-V; this will paste the tags from the playlist, and you can then print out the text. You can also paste the text into a text editor, and it will show up with one track per line. Not all will accept the text correctly, though. If you use Apple’s TextEdit, Command-V actually pastes the music files. So you may need to try a few different applications to find the one that works for you.

Q: Apple TV or Apple Express—which is best for streaming music from my iPod touch to my AV receiver, which does not have built-in AirPlay? They cost approximately the same, and I don’t need video.

Both devices can handle streamed music, but also offer additional features, so I’d think about which features you might need in the future. The AirPort Express can serve as a router, or can extend a wireless network, and that may be useful to you at some point. On the other hand, the Apple TV doesn’t have these network features, but it does offer access to iTunes Match and other iTunes in the Cloud content via your TV and receiver.

Q: I rip CDs in Apple Lossless format now, but prior to that, I used AAC. If I bought AAC files on iTunes, then if I were to delete them, then select Store > Check for Available Downloads would it find and download the songs according to my new settings of Apple Lossless?

No, Apple only sells music in 256-kbps AAC format. If you change the import settings (in iTunes General preferences, behind the Import Settings button), this will rip CDs in lossless format, but won’t have any effect on content you download from the iTunes Store.

Q: Is there any way to display the bit rate of music files in iTunes 11?

iTunes 11 has changed many things in the way it displays information about files. In the default views, the bit rate of music files isn’t visible, but in Songs view, or in playlists, you can choose to display bit rate.

To do so, open the previously mentioned View Options window and select Bit Rate under the File section. (See t”Understanding the new views in iTunes 11” for other tips on viewing your media library in the new version of iTunes.)

Q: With iTunes 10, I could play all of my music in shuffle mode by clicking on the shuffle icon in the lower left corner of the iTunes window. Is there a way to do this with iTunes 11?

There is, but it’s a bit different. Display your music in any of the views you want. Click the Play button (the big right-pointing arrow) at the top left of the iTunes window. Then click the shuffle button in the iTunes LCD, or choose Controls > Shuffle > Turn On Shuffle.

The shuffle button is blue here in the iTunes LCD because shuffle is on; click it to turn it on or off.

The shuffle button turns blue, indicating that shuffle mode is on. Now your music will play in shuffle mode. To turn shuffle off, just click the shuffle icon again, or choose Controls > Shuffle > Turn Off Shuffle.

Another thing that’s different with iTunes 11 is that turning on shuffle won’t change the display order of your tracks, but iTunes will skip around your library when in shuffle mode.

[Ask the iTunes Guy is a regular column in which we answer your questions on everything iTunes related. If there’s something you’d like to know, send an email to the iTunes Guy for consideration.]

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Refreshed interface
    • Up Next offer a new way to queue up music
    • Improved MiniPlayer, iTunes Store integration
    • Simplified playlist creation


    • Sort options limited in different views, many view options are hidden or inconsistent
    • Searching very slow with large libraries
    • No artwork window or option to change the size of album art in Albums view
    • No option to open multiple windows
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