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Ask the iTunes Guy: Manage your iTunes music library

Kirk McElhearn | April 27, 2015
This week, I look at a few questions about managing an iTunes music library, dealing with liner notes, album artwork in WAV files, and correcting capitalization in song titles. I also suggest a way to download music from the iTunes Store with an old Mac.

This week, I look at a few questions about managing an iTunes music library, dealing with liner notes, album artwork in WAV files, and correcting capitalization in song titles. I also suggest a way to download music from the iTunes Store with an old Mac.

DIY digital booklets

Q: I've been ripping my CD collection and I'd like to add liner notes to my iTunes library. I'm happy to scan the CD inserts but what's the best way to add these files so I can easily access them?

There are two ways you can do this. One is to scan each page of the insert and add it as album art to the appropriate music files. iTunes lets you add multiple graphics to files; you can do this by selecting all the tracks of an album, pressing Command-I, clicking the Artwork tab, and then dragging or pasting the graphics. But that's not the easiest way to access the liner notes; you'll need to select a track and press Command-I to read them.

If you scan the inserts and save them as PDFs, you can put all the PDFs in a folder, and make sure you label them correctly. You can then search that folder for the liner notes for the album you want.

But you can also add them to your iTunes library. Doug Adams has a free AppleScript called PDF Adder that makes this process easier. Using this script, you enter tag information for the PDF, so it gets stored together with your music files.

Artwork in WAV files

Q: I rip music files from my CDs in WAV format. Most album artwork downloads from the iTunes Store, but some does not. For those, I want to manually add artwork but iTunes won't allow me to do this. I've heard that one must convert WAV to an Apple format. I would prefer not to do that. How can I add artwork to these files without converting all WAV files to Apple format?

WAV files don't support album art — and even other tags — correctly. When iTunes downloads the artwork, it stores it in your iTunes folder, but not in the music files themselves.

There's no reason to rip the files to WAV. It's better to use Apple Lossless, which offers the exact same quality and takes up less space. Apple Lossless files are about half the size of WAV files (on average) and support all the tags you can apply in iTunes. So if you want lossless quality, ripping to Apple Lossless makes more sense. If you ever want WAV files in the future you can always convert them with no loss of quality.

 

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