iTunes has been rocking the world since 2001. Since then, the software has grown considerably from a media player and library into a mobile device management application, music streaming service and marketplace for all things media.
Though iTunes now encompasses far more than simply music, the software is still far from perfect. Songs get lost or moved, sometimes you get hold of music in an unsupported format, or perhaps you’ve decided to step away from the Apple ecosystem altogether and are looking for an easy way out.
At times like these, it’s great to know there are plenty of third-party tools to help you get the job done.
Fixing and Moving Songs in iTunes
In 2016, iTunes is celebrating its 15th anniversary. For many, that means a lot of media files have been piling up over the years. Like everything else in life, iTunes can break over time, but fortunately there are tools that can help.
TunesMedic ($4.99) is a digital cleaning program for iTunes. It can help solve problems like broken links, duplicate entries and empty playlists, and help you export songs. The $9.99 application can also speed up iTunes by cleaning its cache.
With a feature called Word Cap, TunesMedic will capitalize selective song information, including name, album, artist, and composer. You can also use the utility to remove extensions, artist names, and lyrics from media files.
Streaming video and music services such as Netflix and Spotify, respectively, are very popular right now. However, this doesn’t mean you should ditch your vast library of digital media files. Unfortunately, TV shows, movies, home videos, and yes, music files take up a lot of space.
In times like these, you could buy one large external hard drive and move all of your files. TuneSpan ($14.99) helps you avoid this. You can relocate content to multiple hard drives to free up space on your primary drive. With TuneSpan, you can continue to see, play, and sync everything in iTunes, regardless of file locations.
This is arguably something Apple should have done a long time ago, and a must-have download if you use a laptop or find yourself generally tight on space.
Because There’s More Than iTunes
Remember those music streaming services we mentioned? Despite some key exits (Beats Music, Rdio), there are still a lot of them on the market, including Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play, and Spotify. Each offers unlimited music streaming and downloads for around $9.99 per month.
Streaming services don’t like losing customers, and they don’t make it easy to move your music lists and playlists from one service to another. Luckily, there is a third-party application to get this job done.
With Stamp ($9.99), you can move your playlists and tracks from Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Google Play Music, Deezer, and many others, in a few clicks. Best of all, it doesn’t use an all-or-nothing approach like some other products on the market. Instead, you decide the songs or playlists to move.
The application is available for both Mac and iOS, and recently came top in our comparison of similar apps.
About Those Lossless Audio Files
iTunes supports many different audio formats. Unfortunately, it still has a difficult time reading widely-used, open-source Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) files. Instead, it has created its own version called, unsurprisingly, Apple Lossless.
When you run into files like FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, Monkey’s Audio, Shorten, or Wavpack, consider using an app like X Lossless Decoder, or XLD (free).
With XLD you can decode, convert, and play various Lossless audio files. And because it’s a Universal Binary, it runs natively on both Intel Macs and PPC Macs.
What’s the point in assembling a vast library of songs and albums if you don’t play them, right? Once you get your iTunes library tuned with all of your songs, it’s time for some fun. These applications will enhance your iTunes listening experience.
Emcee ($0.99) is a simple tool that puts the name of the current song on your Mac’s menu bar. From here, you can also pause the song and rate it. Want to learn more about the song and its artist? A “Search with Google” link is also available.
Want a little bit more control and flexibility? Consider NepTunes ($3.99), a music controller, and scrobbler for iTunes. Instead of providing song information on your Mac’s menu bar, NepTunes places a small box that floats above your desktop. Here, you’re presented with an image of the song album, plus its title and artist. You can also change the volume, love the track, control playback, and move between tracks.
With NepTunes, you can also tweet about the song you are listening to, or send this information to Facebook. Neptune works with Last.fm and even remembers the tracks to scrobble when the Internet connection is down. It can also show you music from similar artists. This way, you can discover new music without even getting into Apple Music.
Want Even More?
AppleScripts aren’t exactly new, as they first appeared on Macintosh operating systems since System 7 in 1993. Despite this, AppleScripts still serve a useful purpose, especially for folks who like to tweak little things on their Mac.
Doug’s AppleScripts is a digital warehouse of useful action tools for iTunes. The site’s goal is to make managing your digital music collection easier and more fun. If there is something you wish iTunes would do, it’s likely Doug has what you’re looking for.
To date, Doug’s AppleScripts consists of 459 scripts, all of which are free (you can send Doug a donation via PayPal if you want to say thanks). Categories include Managing Tracks, Managing Track Info, Managing Artwork, Managing Playlists, Controlling iTunes, Exporting Info, Managing Files, Networking, Internet, and iPod (iPhone/iPad) among others.
Some of our favorites: Dupin, an iTunes duplicate manager; Daypart, which allows you to schedule iTunes music playlists at specific times; and View Cached Music which shows you the music you’ve been listening to over time.
Whether the time has come for you to clean or organise your iTunes library, or you’ve decided to move your music elsewhere, there are plenty of tools available to get the job done. All you have to do is download them and get started.
If you’re thoroughly sick of iTunes and are looking for another app to playback your music, check out our recent roundup of iTunes alternatives for OS X.
Which iTunes enhancement tools do you use?