Tag your iTunes tracks with Tagalicious
Quick Mac Tip, 02 October 2011
Sick of iTunes missing information about your music tracks? Too many tracks to even think about doing something about it? Guest author Nicki Gemmell tried out Tagalicious on 65Gb of music. Here’s what she found.
Nicki Gemmell — Nicki’s clients describe her as an Information and Communication Technology Consultant to schools and small businesses in Auckland. Her family and friends know her as a professional geek who likes to play with new toys and technologies.
A long-time digital music fan
It’s about fifteen years since I was introduced to the world of digital music. At first it was about playing CDs on a computer with a double speed CDRom drive and crackling speakers.
Then as CDRom drive speeds increased, I progressed to ripping CDs to my hard drive. As time passed by I learned about finding music on the internet and as internet bandwidth grew so did my music collection.
As iTunes and other paid music delivery services have become more widely available my music collection has increased even further.
A 100GB mess of music
I’m not a fan of housework and as my music collection has grown, even my digital house-keeping skills have slackened off. I have used a range of programmes to rip my music and each has had a slightly different way of tagging and sorting music.
So here I am in 2011 with more than 100GB of music — much of it in an unholy mess.
I sorted out 65GB of music and put it onto a 2008 MacBook running the latest version of Snow Leopard. I made sure iTunes and everything else was updated and then downloaded, installed and fired up Tagalicious.
Tagalicious gets info from the Gracenote database
Tagalicious uses a familiar interface. The left hand pane looks at your library and playlists.
The largest, centre pane has your entire music collection and can be sorted using any of the existing Name, Artist, Album, Genre or Year information. These aren’t the only options for sorting. It’s a simple matter to sort based on other information that you have.
Once songs are selected in the central pane, the right hand pane shows you that the programme is querying the Gracenote database and then what choices you have to add or modify tags. Once you are happy with the tags presented it’s a simple matter to send the information through to iTunes.
Use the Shift key to speed things up
When I started to use Tagalicious I highlighted single songs and checked through the information before sending the changes to iTunes. I quickly realised that I wouldn’t have time to do this for the more than 6000 songs that I had on the MacBook.
That’s when I realised that I could use my shift key to select all of the songs in one album and knock them off in multiples. This sped the whole process up quite a lot.
I did discover that the app would lock up and “beach ball” if I tried to do complete look-ups for several different album at once.
Rather than being a problem with the app itself, it’s more than likely that this was a result of too many simultaneous database queries being undertaken across the internet.
I liked the way that Tagalicious worked because it allowed me to choose whether I would replace my existing tags with the new ones that it suggested.
The process of working through my music wasn’t difficult and once I had figured out a work flow (one album at a time worked best for me) I managed to easily tag more than 1600 tracks over a lazy couple of hours.
The problem of duplicates
When I used Tagalaicious I realised how many duplicate albums and tracks I have in my music collection. There is no way to delete these dupes within Tagalicious and even in iTunes it’s a tedicous process. A way to remove duplicate songs would be a welcome addition to the app.
Not all lyrics were found
I don’t tend to use the lyrics function on my Pods but I did notice that Tagalicious found lyrics for all of my “mainstream” artists. It found lyrics for about half of my New Zealand music.
This is more a limitation of the Gracenote database rather than Tagalicious.
As an aside it’s probably worthwhile lobbying Kiwi music producers to submit more data to Gracenote so that our music is more evenly represented.
So what were the best things about using Tagalicious?
- Accuracy — I haven’t found many instance of it finding the wrong tags. Sometimes it found unfamiliar album covers but I put that down to the differences between releases from different countries.
- Speed — under normal circumstances it didn’t take long to query the Gracenote database and come back with the required information.
- Familiar and simple interface — the programme is intuitive and simple to use.
- Lyrics — I was surprised that the programmes found lyrics to so many songs.
Not so good things?
- Speed — large music collections are still going to take a while to tag.
- Multiple Albums — selecting multiple albums to update will crash the system.
Simple, quick and efficient
I found Tagalicious to be a simple app to use to add missing tags, album art and lyrics to songs in my music collection. Once I had worked out that it was best not to send it too many tasks at once I found that it ticked along quite nicely.
Tagging music isn’t the most exciting way to spend an afternoon but Tagalicious is definitely a tool that I’d recommend to someone who wanted to get the job done efficiently and quickly.
Tagalicious is US$14.99. Free trial and family pack available.
Tell us in the comments how this Tip helped you.