How many hours have you spent organizing your iTunes library? If I spent a minute changing the title, rating, and genre for each of my 2200 songs, it would take me over 36 hours. I can’t imagine how it is for those of you who have tens of thousands of songs. There has to be a better way.

Here are a couple of suggestions that you can use right away to make organizing your iTunes library less intimidating, and one suggestion on how Apple can tweak iTunes to make life easier on us.

1) Modify multiple songs.

If you need to change the same information on a number of songs such as the artist, album, or genre, make it easier on yourself and change them all at once. Hold down the command key (control on a PC) and click all the songs you need to modify. Press command-I to pull up the multiple item modification screen. Change only the fields that you want to be the same on all of the selected songs.

2) Rate songs while you exercise.

UnratedI refuse to sit in front of my computer and rate all 2200 songs. Instead I prefer to rate songs while I run, hike, or ride my bike. It helps to keep my mind off the pain of exercise and is even kind of fun.

I created a smart playlist labeled “Unrated,” where I keep all my songs without ratings. To create a smart playlist, select “new smart playlist” from the file menu. Add a rule that reads “my rating is” and then make sure that no stars are selected. On my playlist I added a few other rules to filter out the non-music files that are in my library.

Smart Playlists

When I exercise, I shuffle this playlist on my iPod and rate the songs as they play. Since I usually only knock out about 20 songs or so per workout, it will take me several months to complete the ratings, but I am okay with that. The songs on my “Unrated” playlist are usually ones that I haven’t heard in awhile and it can be fun to see what pops up.

Your newly rated songs will stay in the “Unrated” playlist until you sync your iPod with your computer. I should point out that this rating technique only works on your iPod because iTunes takes the song out of the playlist the second you rate it which interrupts the song.

3) Customizable Ratings

If I had my way I would do all of my library management while working out, but as of now the only thing that Apple allows us to modify from our iPods is the rating. I understand that the iPod is not very conducive to typing, but I have an idea for how Apple could get around this and give us more control from the iPod.

My RatingI like the idea of rating my music so that I can have smart playlists that limit the caliber of my music, but my music taste is a little more complex than the five stars Apple gives me to choose from. What if they gave us the option to have several different customizable rating scales per song?

For example, I would have a tempo rating from easy to metal. I might also have a smoothness scale, a mood scale, blues scale, rock scale, hip-hop scale, etc. This would also help to solve the problem of songs that fit into multiple genres. There would be an infinite number of smart playlists that you could create to fit any mood.

Right now I feel like listening to songs rated low in tempo and hip-hop, but high in smoothness, blues, and rock. Lets see, does anyone know someone at Apple?

(another good article for iTunes tips)
“Music Only” for your iTunes playlists | 43 Folders