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Ask the iTunes Guy: Glitchy tracks, numbers game, and too-large libraries

Kirk McElhearn | April 21, 2014
You know the one where you get a track from iTunes Match and it's not perfect? How about the one where you've just got too much stuff in your iTunes library and it slows iTunes down to a crawl? Or that thing where there are numbers at the beginnings of track names and you'd really like to get rid of them? Well, read on to find out how to fix these problems.

You know the one where you get a track from iTunes Match and it's not perfect? How about the one where you've just got too much stuff in your iTunes library and it slows iTunes down to a crawl? Or that thing where there are numbers at the beginnings of track names and you'd really like to get rid of them? Well, read on to find out how to fix these problems.

Glitched tracks from iTunes Match

Q: I've found that some old purchased iTunes songs are glitching when played directly from iTunes Match. Have you come across this? How can I fix it?

I've come across a number of similar problems with iTunes Match tracks since the service went live. One of the most common is truncated tracks, where the tracks just cut off after a few seconds or a couple of minutes. But this also happens with iTunes purchased downloads, so it's most likely just a server problem. I've found that redownloading those tracks resolves the issue.

What you're discussing, however, is tracks where there are problems within the music files themselves. There may be a click, a pop, a dropout, or some other annoying glitch. The best way to illustrate this is to look at the waveform of one of these tracks, such as found in this screenshot sent to me by the user who submitted the question:

You can see the two sections where there are glitches in this track. With other tracks, the problems may be different. I saw one where there is a one-channel dropout — in other words, only the right or left channel has a short bit of silence. In others, there is noise for a brief moment.

There are two solutions to this problem. First, if you still have the original tracks, delete them from iCloud, then re-add them to iTunes Match. This works if iTunes uploaded your tracks. But in the above case, it's a purchased track that has glitches. You can try deleting your local track and re-downloading it, but I've found that generally doesn't resolve the problem. The only thing you can do is contact iTunes support and let them know of the issue. Whether or not they'll get it fixed is anyone's guess. Unfortunately, you have no other choice, short of getting another copy of the track from somewhere else. But even if you do this, the file on iTunes' server has glitches, so your matched copy will still have the problem.

Getting rid of track numbers

Q: For various reasons, not the least of which is neatness and alphabetical listings, I don't want track numbers at the beginning of every track. Over the years I've painstakingly removed these track numbers only to find out the albums often don't play in order if these are removed. I'm certain I'm missing something, and any help with this would be appreciated.

 

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