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Ask the iTunes Guy: Naming live sets, syncing old-style iPods with iTunes Match

Kirk McElhearn | Feb. 2, 2015
Apple may have sold gazillions of iPhones in the latest quarter, but the questions about iTunes are still coming strong. This week, I look at three interesting questions. How can you label live recordings by date and set? How can you sync from iTunes Match to a non-iOS iPod? And what are those mystery columns that show up in the iTunes library?

Apple may have sold gazillions of iPhones in the latest quarter, but the questions about iTunes are still coming strong. This week, I look at three interesting questions. How can you label live recordings by date and set? How can you sync from iTunes Match to a non-iOS iPod? And what are those mystery columns that show up in the iTunes library?

Live sets

Q: I have a live recording of a band's entire run from one venue. This is a multiple disc set. I would like to break the shows down by date and then set, but all iTunes offers is "Disc 1," "Disc 2," and so on. I can re-tag the files so that each set or night is a disc, but they will still be labeled with this "Disc 1" scheme. Is there a way I can present the discs as they are actually named — "Night One-First Set" and "Night One-Second Set" — in Albums view, rather than the way iTunes names them now?

This is something I've done with a number of recordings. Have a look at the screenshot below of some 1980 Bill Evans recordings from three box sets. I felt it was better to label the recordings according to their dates and sets so that I could listen to them in a more organic way, rather than grouping them by album and disc. None of the sets fits exactly on one disc, so each CD contains music from more than one set.

Doing this is easy. First, move all the tracks, in order, to a playlist where you can manipulate them. Select all the tracks from the first set or date, and then press Command-I. In the Album tag, enter the text you want to use to identify this music — as you suggested in your question, you could use Night One — First Set, or you could use a date, as I do.

Click OK to save these changes. The tracks will now be labelled the way you want.

However, there's still one problem. You may have tracks whose numbers don't match those on an album. Since some of the sets or dates may be split across discs, you may have both Disc 1 and Disc 2, for example, or the tracks may begin, say, at Disc 3, Track 6, ending with Disc 5, Track 2. There's an easy way to fix this.

Doug Adams' free AppleScript, Albumize Selection, takes all the tracks and re-numbers them correctly. To use it, select all the tracks from a specific date or set, run the AppleScript, and it will number them from 1 to whatever number the last track is. You will have to manually change the disc numbers, however. Select the tracks, press Command-I, and click in the Disc Number field. Press Delete, press Return, and then click OK.

 

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