Stranger Fruit

Why does iTunes suck so bad?

I have a large digital music collection. Every file is correctly tagged and album art is both embedded in the file and available as a jpg in the album folder. All of that took about four straight days to do over the summer using MediaMonkey (which I now also use to sync my collection with my iPod Classic). Unfortunately, I have some DRMed music bought from the iTunes store and have to use iTunes to get them onto the iPod. But here’s what gets me – every time I transfer the DRMed tracks over, iTunes not only screws up the album art on the DRMed tracks, but also screws with the album art of other non-DRMed music. I then have to get MediaMonkey to repair the database on the iPod, a process that takes close to an hour.

Seriously Apple … iTunes has to be the worse media-management program ever. Its memory footprint is obnoxious, it is prone to seizing up, and it buggers up album art.

If you haven’t tried MediaMonkey, do so. It’s made my life a heck of a lot easier.

Comments

  1. #1 Don Smith, FCD
    August 14, 2008

    I have heard that if you write your DRMed music onto a CD then reimport the DRM goes away. Haven’t tried it myself and I imagine the decode/encode cycle might be a little lossy.

    I don’t really like the album art embedded in the file. Why can’t it just be kept in the folder with the tracks (one copy instead of 15)?

  2. #2 Tom
    August 14, 2008

    Hello! You support DRM and complain about the album art? Huh? Dude, your music collection is permanently crippled and you’re one of the consumer enablers that tell the music industry DRM is ok. If you don’t like the way things are vote with your wallet.

    see also: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/

  3. #3 Orac
    August 14, 2008

    I’ve never seen this problem using iTunes. Indeed, iTunes deals with my 110 GB music library (13,000+ tunes, most ripped at 256 kbps) just fine, and copying DRM music to the iPod using iTunes does not cause this behavior that you describe. I also have at least 100 GB of video in the library too.

    In fact, I’ve had very few problems with iTunes. For me, it just works. Are you using the Windows version, by any chance?

  4. #4 Ian
    August 14, 2008

    Add Microsoft’s media player to the list of lousy software. It’s not intuitive and far from easy to work with. I expect that from Windows, but not from Apple. I think Microsoft’s problem is that they can’t get away from the rigid structure imposed by “Windows”. They don’t know how to frame things!

    It makes you wonder what these people are thinking (if anything) when they “design” these things. But maybe that’s the problem – design! If these things were evolved instead of created, they’d probably work a lot better!

  5. #5 Left_Wing_Fox
    August 14, 2008

    Honestly, I’ve never seen that problem with iTunes. Are you sure it isn’t something MediaMonkey is doing?

  6. #6 jeff
    August 14, 2008

    “I have heard that if you write your DRMed music onto a CD then reimport the DRM goes away.”

    I don’t know about Apple, but Windows won’t let you burn DRM tracks – at least, the latest versions of Windows XP and Vista won’t. If you have a valid license, there are shareware programs that will remove the DRM. If you don’t have a license but have current playback rights, there are programs that will play back and re-record the track without DRM (slightly lossy of course, but actually still legal).

  7. #7 Tom Reznick
    August 14, 2008

    John, there are a couple of freeware/opensource programs that will search your libraries in itunes for DRM music, burn them to a virtual disk, and then re-rip them as non-DRM music. I did that on my mac earlier this summer. It took forever to complete, but I now have a DRM free collection

  8. #8 Oran Kelley
    August 14, 2008

    Downlaod and install Audacity.
    Download and install lame.dll
    Line up all you DRM files in ITunes
    Open up audiacity, choose soundcard imput as your source.
    Play first DRM track in Itunes
    Check to make sure levels are OK in Audcaity.
    Hit record in Audacity.
    Go back and restart song in Itunes.
    When song is over stop Audacity and export the recording as an mp3 of your preferred sound quality.
    Next tune.
    Later, associate mp3s with all that fine data and . . .

    Voila! No more ITunes (so long as you resist the temptation to buy more DRM files).

  9. #9 John Lynch
    August 14, 2008

    I had the same problem with iTunes (yes, on Windows) with my old iPod and before I started using MediaMonkey. I guess the main point is that I can understand it fouling up art that it has something to do with but why does it then go and foul up stuff it hasn’t control over (I used to use Anapod Explorer to manage the iPod … damned quicker and handier than iTunes).

  10. #10 John Lynch
    August 14, 2008

    @ Tom Reznick |

    Names? Links?

  11. #11 Lettuce
    August 14, 2008

    Keep on using Windows, but don’t really assume that everything you see has to do with iTunes.

    I’ve never ever seen those problems, but then I use a Macintosh.

  12. #12 Left_Wing_Fox
    August 14, 2008

    Huh, very odd. Glad you found a good alternative in Anapod Explorer.

  13. #13 Lefty
    August 15, 2008

    Lettuce: So, you’re asserting that it was Windows software which was horking his database?

  14. #14 phisrow
    August 15, 2008

    For freeing your existing crippled tracks, you can try QTfairuse or tunebite(google knows). I would repeat the friendly admonition to avoid buying more. At present, DRM is breakable(although this is a felony in the dear old land of the free); but that is no guarantee for the future. It also tells the market that we are willing to have our rights and systems trampled upon.
    Stick to the uncrippled section of itunes(itunes plus), or any of the DRM-free merchants out there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_online_music_stores

  15. #15 Tom Reznick
    August 16, 2008

    http://www.applemacsoft.com/drm-converter-mac.html

    That one works for mac – I’m not sure about other operating systems though. There is a free trial for it, which if I remember is the method I used. You might also be able to use Disk Utility to make a virtual partition that you can write to in iTunes. I think you can also use automator to find all of your DRM protected songs and put them into a playlist (to then be burned into your virtual drive). Then, you can use Dupin (http://dougscripts.com/itunes/itinfo/dupin.php) to find the subsequent duplicates and erase them.

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