TuneUp: iTunes Meta-Data Fixer-Upper

Dave Zatz —  July 15, 2008 — 10 Comments

If your iTunes collection is anything like mine, you’ve been importing music over a period of years and are stuck with missing or inaccurate track data and album art. TuneUp purports to help by analyzing your library on demand and filling the gaps, as you can see from the demo above. The software, which appends itself to iTunes, is Windows-only for the time being, though OS X support is expected later this year – when I’ll be giving it a whirl. The demo app cleans up a 500 track labels and seeks out 50 album covers… And if you’re pleased with the results, an annual subscription of unlimited usage runs $12/yr or you can opt for a $20 lifetime license.

In the past, I’d used a program (that I can’t recall) to import missing album art (from Amazon?) with limited success and I’ve read of MusicBrainz, a community driven option for album/track tagging. Assuming the TuneUp trial trial works reasonably well, I’d rather just pay the $12 and get it done in one fell swoop using legit sources.

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10 responses to TuneUp: iTunes Meta-Data Fixer-Upper

  1. I’d be keen to hear how it goes. I have meticulously kept my iTunes library clean over the year, but there’s a few hundred singles that I don’t have cover art for yet – just too lazy to finish the job.

    I’m more interested in knowing how it uninstalls when done. That last thing I want is another app that I can’t fully uninstall clogging up the works. I can’t imagine I’d want this installed permanently.

    …Dale

  2. when i was ready to leave my old job i took a few days and cleaned my entire library and got the album art. since then i just use itune’s builtin album art search and it works really well. i can see this app being useful once, then no longer needed

  3. This sounds great, but there’s no mac version until “the fall.” They admit this is annoying on their download page. I would have forked over $20 on the spot if it worked at all.

  4. MusicBrainz rules. It’s open source, cross platform, does CDDB tagging, and just works. It was a little tricky to configure but is completely customizable and pretty fast. I run all my music through it and then let iTunes find the artwork and haven’t been disappointed.

  5. My initial concern was that the program only updates the iTunes metadata library, and doesn’t touch the audio files themselves. Since I use a network drive to share music between multiple computers on my home network, I’d want it to update the metadata (id3 tags) of the files directly. However, looking at their support pages, it appears that iTunes will update the file metadata once the library metadata has been updated: http://www.tuneupmedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13

    This is good! However, I still wonder how album art is handled? Does that get written into the mp3 files are just stored in the iTunes library files?

  6. @Marc I submitted your query to the TuneUp folks who’ve responded in the positive:

    People using network shares will be able to save metadata to the original mp3s.

    TuneUp writes to iTunes and iTunes in turn writes to the music files themselves soon after. You can see this in action if you have a Windows Explorer window open and you’re using TuneUp. You can watch as the ID3 information in the Windows Explorer window changes after you’ve saved a song’s correct information.

    The same is true of album art. The album art data is written into the id3 tag so that no matter where the file is, it has the album art with it.

    The post your user references actually refers to an iTunes discrepancy with respect to ID3 tag versions which adds the flexibility to add ‘track artist’ and ‘album artist’ to an mp3 (useful for a DJ collection for example). iTunes currently writes only to the ‘track artist’ field and not to ‘album artist’.

  7. Sweet! Thanks for the info. I’m definitely giving this app a try.

  8. (1) This just needs to edit the tag data directly (incl. track artist and album artist).

    (2) Why is this limited to iTunes? Just work with files directly and this way it could work with WMP, Zune software or what not.

  9. TuneUp for the Mac does not follow Apple’s guidelines for easy uninstalling, and can actually cause iTunes to fail to launch if you uninstall it by simply deleting it – the Apple way. ;) Avoid this tool, unless you like hunting for files to remove surgically to uninstall it.

  10. “’d rather just pay the $12 and get it done in one fell swoop using legit sources.”

    Um…. a “dot org” group (MusicBrainz) or a *for pay* software engineer…. I would question your rationalization of “legit”.

    “I Eat Brainz” was the software interface that worked with MusicBrainz btw. The important thing here to note is that as a _community_ folk post and CORRECT all the INCORRECT metadata that people like iTunes and Amazon and all the “legit” sources use. In the end that’s the way to do it. However I Eat Brainz died a death I think last year. Too bad – it did both – corrected metadata (and allowed you to correct the META meta-data database) AND art work…

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