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Ask the iTunes Guy: Fixing iTunes Match's quirks

Kirk McElhearn | May 25, 2015
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.

Recovering lost playlists via iTunes Match

Q: Recently, iTunes crashed and all my playlists were wiped out. Since I have iTunes Match, my iPod and iPad still have them. I have no idea how to get them back into iTunes.

If you turn off iTunes Match (in iTunes, choose Store > Turn Off iTunes Match), then turn it back on again from the same menu, iTunes should re-download all your playlists, along with all the information about any tracks that are not physically in your iTunes library.

Who's on that record?

Q: I have a 30,000-item library that's about 95 percent jazz. It's important to me to be able to see not only the name of the album and the artist credited as the leader of the session. I want to see the names of the session musicians so I can trace the cats I'm especially interested in hearing. I've spent hours tracking down this info (which is ridiculously difficult sometimes...) and pasting it into the comments section. But comments aren't searchable! So is there any sorting technology that might help?

Most people use the Artist field for that, and then use the Album Artist tag for the main artist. So, for Kind of Blue, you'd put, in Artist, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb. In the Album Artist field, you'd put Miles Davis. You can then search for anyone.

Of course, this then means that the Artist entries in iTunes will be much more confusing. So it depends on how much you want this information to be front and center. One thing to note is that if you use the column browser to view your Music library (you can turn this on from the View menu), there's an option to use the Album Artist tag instead of the Artist tag, when sorting in columns.

On iOS devices, you can choose to group you music by Album Artist. Go to Settings > Music, and toggle that setting on.

That darn Purchased playlist...

Q: Is there a way to prevent iTunes from creating a Purchased Playlist every time I purchase new music from the iTunes store?  Each time I delete it only to then have it be recreated upon my next purchase of new music.

Nope, sometimes you just have to accept being assimilated. Resistance is futile.


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