Wednesday, November 28, 2007

iTunes Info

National Blog Posting Month Day 28

I got this meme from Blogography who traffics in only the highest quality memes. I'm very proud of my iTunes library which is nearly all completely legal.

One weird quirk of iTunes is that it places numbers at the end of the alphabet instead of before it. I also wish that it was smart enough to alphabetize by last name and band name without "The". I had a dBase compatible catalog a long, long time ago that I customized and it was able to put Bruce Springsteen between Spandau Ballet Steely Dan.

It annoys me that the Gracenote database is not smart enough to know that AC/DC is the same band as AC-DC. I also hate that iTunes places all the collaborations as separate artists. Jimmy Buffet's License To Chill album has a bunch of different duets that shows up as eight different artists. Mega-annoying.

Enough bitching about iTunes, here's the meme:

How many total songs?
6050 items including podcast episodes and books on CD chapters. They aren't all unique since I buy a lot of 80s music one-hit wonder collections, so I end up with duplicates that I'm too lazy to eliminate.

Sort by song title - first and last...
"A.D. 1928" by Styx to "78% H2O" by Ani DiFranco

Sort by time - shortest and longest...
"Wherever" by Ani DiFranco and "{Silence}" by The Dixie Chicks tied at 7 seconds
"False Echoes" by Jimmy Buffet at 15:55 barely edges out "Telegraph Road" by Dire Straits. I don’t count a 30 minute hidden track on Oh No by OK Go.

Sort by Album - first and last...
Abbey Road by The Beatle to 80s Movie Hits.

Sort by Artist - first and last...

a-ha is first, and 4-Non Blondes is last.

Top five played songs...
They’re all tracks off of Bruce Springsteen’s new Magic album. For some reason the track count keeps resetting itself, so I don't really trust those numbers.

Find the following words. How many songs show up?
Sex: 10
Death: 20 but 11 are Death Cab for Cutie tracks
Love: 328
You: 781
Home: 58
Boy: 125
Girl: 153

First five songs that come up on Party Shuffle...
“Long, Long, Long” The Beatles
“I Just Want to Have Something to Do” The Raisins
“Can’t Cry These Tears” Garbage
“Le Bel Age” Pat Benatar
“Good Day Sunshine” The Beatles

BlatantCommentWhoring™: What's on your music player?


Anonymous said...

The latest version of iTunes on the Mac is smart enough to recognize that "the" at the beginning of a band name shouldn't be taken into consideration for alphabetizing purposes. (I wonder how it would deal with "The The"). Its inability to parse out last names is annoying though (I alway obsessively change artist names to last, first before I import them).

My biggest pet peeve is that I think you should be able to add an arbitrary number of artists separately, rather than cramming them all into one artist field. So, the Iron and Wine and Calexico collaboration should show up on a list of Iron and Wine albums and of Calexico albums, rather than being thought of as a third artist.


courtney said...

Oh, I'm SO doing this one, quite possibly on BOTH of my blogs! How fun.

flasshe said...

The last few versions of iTunes (for Windows, at least) have had a "sort" feature (new fields for "sort artist", "sort album", etc), where you can put in the actual name that you want to sort on. So for the display artist name you can have "Celine Dion", but for the sorting you can have "Dion Celine"*. Unfortunately, it's somewhat of a pain to set those fields across whole artists/albums etc - the whole "apply sort field" thing is very poorly implemented IMO. But I was able to set that field for all my artists in only a few hours.

* - Not an actual example from my collection.

Needles said...

I have no ipoc, no mp3 player, I had a cd playing walkman type thingy, but only because my car had am and fm radio only.

I now consider myself an advanced species. My car can play cd's.


yellojkt said...

That sort field is pretty useless because each track has to entered individually rather than in batches.

2fs said...

The only way iTunes will ever be able to sort artist names automatically by last name instead of first is if it links to an actively maintained database run by actual humans...since there's no semantic marker that distinguishes a last name from a first name or any other kind of name. Plus different people will have different preferences. Fairly obviously, "Bob Dylan" is a single person and should be alphabetized by his last name. Obviously to any music fan - but not all at marked in any way by the name itself - "Jethro Tull" is a band (with no member having that name, either for real or pseudonymously) and should be filed under "J." Okay, then...what about the catalog of Iggy Pop? The first album is billed simply to "The Stooges," while later releases change that to "Iggy & the Stooges"...and once his solo career started, it was "Iggy Pop." (And I seem to recall that he was also known as "Iggy Stooge" at first - have to check that one out). For myself, I just cram it all together in the P section (for "Pop") on the grounds that it's Iggy's career I'm following, not that of the Stooges. One advantage of's Music Collector is that allows multiple artist entry fields - so you can bill ad hoc collaborations (such as that between Lawrence Welk and G.G. Allin) under each artist individually (or under both, if you prefer). This is very useful for things like the soundtrack to the new Dylan biopic, which has tons of that sort of one-time-only pairing.

Anyway: my iTunes stats:

Total songs on this 'puter: 3,685
Sort: "A'int No Funky Tangerine" by Campag Velocet (that's no typo) to "---" by --- (an unknown bonus track on a compilation a friend sent me).

Long:short: "Summerisle Horspiel" by Momus and Anne Laplantine 24:42 to "Underpants Gnomes Jingle" recorded from an episode of South Park 0:16.

Album: Not counting a whole bunch of titles with no album listed, or ad hoc collections I've given titles to, first is a compilation whose title is listed as aa.vv. - dream brother.the songs of time + jeff buckley - single track only, and the last is 7x7x7 Bonus CD by The Sugarplastic

Artist: A-Frames to !!!

Top plays: Portastatic "You Blanks (acoustic)"; Broken Social Scene "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Half)"; The Holy Modal Rounders "Give the Fiddler a Dram"; The Jennifers "Good Morning, Starshine"; and New Young Pony Club "Hiding on the Staircase" (not really representative: several of these "plays" merely result from my sequencing a mix and playing the ending into the beginning of various tracks, repeatedly).

Sex: 14. Death: 16. Love: 133. You: 334. Home: 43. Boy: 53. Girl: 68.

Party: Beck "Que Onda Guero (Islands remix); David Bowie "Crystal Japan"; The Liberty Bells "Recognition"; Cat Stevens "On the Road to Findout"; Thom Yorke "The Eraser"; Punchdrunk "Lyman Bostock"

yellojkt said...

The way to do it is to have two fields, one called Last Name or Group and another called First Name or Article. Then you alphabetize on LNoG and display FNoA + LNoG. Not that complicated. But then Gracenote doesn't even realize that Patti Scialfa and Patty Scialfa are the same person.

Paul McCartney and Wings have the same career track problems. I have to create a SmartList that is "McCartney" or "Wings" and hope I never buy any Jesse McCartney songs.

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