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Ask the iTunes Guy: Of track lengths, genre sorting, and remote storage

Kirk McElhearn | Feb. 10, 2014
In this week's column, I look at four interesting questions. One about setting the start and end time for tracks in the cloud, another about shunting some or all iTunes media files to another location, and two about smart playlists.

In this week's column, I look at four interesting questions. One about setting the start and end time for tracks in the cloud, another about shunting some or all iTunes media files to another location, and two about smart playlists.

Q: I bought an iPad Air, and I don't plan on syncing it with my desktop computer because I download all of my iTunes music from the cloud. But there were a number of songs that I have edited to be shortened. Some of them have a minute of banter at the beginning or end from the musician at a live show that I don't want to hear every time (and a couple with "colorful" language banter I don't want my kids to hear when the song comes up on random play). As far as I can tell, I can't edit the track length on the iPad. Where is this simple feature?

What you're talking about is a useful feature that lets you tell iTunes to either start or end any track at a specific time. It's accessible when you select a track, press Command-I, then click the Options tab. As you can see below, you then set a Start Time and/or an End Time, then click OK.

But, as you say, this isn't available on iOS devices.

It's not clear from your question whether you're using iTunes Match, or just downloading music you've purchased from the iTunes Store. In the latter case, you can't make any changes to your music's tracks or other options because the iPad doesn't allow you to edit start and end points.

The trick to doing this is first editing the tracks in iTunes. Once you do that, you can then sync the tracks to the iPad via iTunes or, if you're using iTunes Match, allow iTunes Match to sync with your iTunes library. When you then download that music from iTunes Match to your iPad the edits you made in iTunes will be retained.

Q: I often assign multiple genres to songs, such as, "rock jam instrumental". When I create a smart rock playlist, iTunes only chooses songs where the genre is rock, and excludes any song that contains "rock" and other words. I'd like the rock playlist to include any song with rock in the genre field, regardless of whether additional genres are assigned to the song. What's the best way to do this?

I've long been disappointed that you can't assign multiple genres to music in iTunes. Your solution is a good one — using multiple words as a custom genre — but it's not the best. I would rather that iTunes offer the ability to apply several "real" genres to music. For example, as I write this, I'm listening to Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. Is it jazz? Is it rock? Is it fusion? In many ways, it's all three; and more.

 

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