Machines are designed to help us. While they mostly cause nothing but headaches, they can come in handy when you program them right. The continuing story of the Beatles bootlegs has prompted me to start learning AppleScript to automate a number of tasks I typically perform on tags within iTunes, but then I realized that my problems are probably far from unique. Indeed, there are other nerds out there who have already written a number of useful scripts of us to use. Unfortunately, it takes being a geek to find geeky things, so here is a nice pretty Best Of compilation of useful iTunes scripts for all you people who don’t feel like dipping into the nerd scene.
- This Tag, That Tag. A lot of times I get compilation CDs, and what iTunes does is it puts the artist and track names in the proper fields, and then tags the entire album as a compilation. It looks okay in iTunes, but once you copy that CD over to your iPod all of the sudden your list of artists grows considerably larger with each new artist containing only one song. That sucks. What I like to do for compilations is to have the artist name say “Various Artists” and have “Artist – Song Name” under the song name. That way I can quickly jump to all my compilations by going to the Various Artists on the artists list on the iPod and then choosing the compilation name. Hazzah!
- Remove n Characters. Sometimes the songs you import don’t have tags. Bummer. That just pisses me off. But luckily, half the time the name of the file is the song title, such as “05 I Dream of You Even Though You’ve Been Such a Jerk to Me.flac“. Now, the problem with these is that you still have the song number (“05”) at the beginning and the file extension at the end (“.flac”). This script lets you strip the song name of those. You set the number of characters to strip from either the front or the back of the song name or any other tag (3 for front, the two digit number and the space, and 5 for the back – for ‘flac’ and the dot), and voila.
- Put That Track Prefix to Track Number. I know, the script writers don’t have much imagination when it comes to naming their creation, but anyway. Before you run the previous script, you might wanna run this one. It takes that “05” from the track name and inputs it as a track number for the selected song saving you from doing any sort of manual labour. Take advantage of those machines before they rebel against us!
- Proper Capitalization. Speaking of machines, why should we bother with things like proper grammar, also known as proper communication with other humals, ie. what makes us different from animals. This script will take all your song names and capitalize them properly according to English grammar rules. So “miss you cause you like to cook” will be capitalized as “Miss You Cause You Like to Cook“.
- Artist Name Corrector. Finally, if for some reason you want to do the opposite of script #1, such as when your song name contains both the artist and the song title separated by a hyphen and you would like those separated, run this script.
Now, once you get those scripts, it’s quite easy to install them. Go to your Home folder > Library > iTunes. See if there is a Scripts folder in there. If there isn’t, create one. Then take the downloaded scripts and copy them in there.
Now, open up iTunes. At the top where the menus are you should have a new icon right before the Help menu that looks like a sheet of papyrus. Click on that and you should have access to your scripts. For most of the them you want to first select the songs to perform the actions on, and then choose the appropriate script from that menu. Also, keep in mind this isn’t Microsoft Word – there is no undo. Once you apply that script, you’ll have to change all the songs back manually if you screw up. It’s a ruthless world out there, and then you die.
So there you go. This marks the victory of man over machine. Or that’s what they have us believe anyway.