Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes Apps
When selecting albums to play, especially on the iPod, where you can only select one thing to play, listening to albums with multiple discs becomes a nuisance - if not an impossibility. Now, combining discs by hand can be tedious, but with the power of applescript, we can do the process quite painlessly. First, lets get the track numbers for the second (and third, and so on) discs in order. For this use the script "Add n to track number," which I have written and included below. To use it, just select the tracks to be affected and type the amount to add to the track number of each of them.
tell application "iTunes"
  set theTracks to selection
  if theTracks is not {} then
    display dialog 
      "Add this much to each track number:" default answer 
      0 buttons ("Do it now!") default button 1
    set theNum to (the text returned of the result as integer)
    repeat with i from 1 to count of theTracks
      set theTrack to item i of theTracks
      set the track number of theTrack to 
        (the (track number of theTrack) + theNum)
    end repeat
    display dialog "You need to select some tracks first."
  end if
end tell

Now that the track numbers are all in order (notice we intentionally ignored track count), select all the discs and set their album name and track count to the obvious values. Now your tracks are all combined neatly in a single album, as they should be. Ah, so much cleaner!

Note: you can also fool with disc number, if you wish to preserve that information in some form. I choose to ignore it, but it would not be hard to add this to the script. I'm guessing it wouldn't be that hard to automate the entire process, in fact.
  • Currently 3.00 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (2 votes cast)

Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes | 12 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: Fofer on Jun 30, '04 10:50:54AM

Huh? Why in the world would you NOT use the "disk number" fields for this? Mark the first disk "1 of 2" and the second "2 of 2."

Voila! All of the tracks show up neatly as one album, all tracks are grouped together for easy play on the iPod, and you are using the ID tag specification properly to accurately reflect the original configuration of that particular album.

Grouping them all together (as, say 30 songs on one "disc") is just wrong, IMHO. What happens when you decide to burn an Audio CD of that album? You've got to take a guess as to which song was the last on disk 1 and which was first on disk 2? (Sure, you can approximate 74 minutes, but even that seems like too much work.)

The "Disk x of xx" fields are there for a reason. Use them!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: whenders0n on Jun 30, '04 11:03:58AM
Like I said, I chose to ignore those fields. Mainly because I use my iPod for music, and don't burn many audio cds. For me, the divider between discs is as arbitrary as the 80 minute limit for CD-Rs. Thanks for your input though. Perhaps if I have time I will update the script to your liking.


[ Reply to This | # ]
What does the iPod have to do with it?
Authored by: Xenex on Jun 30, '04 11:48:06AM

An iPod treats a properly tagged two-disc album as one album.

It's what's not there that makes what's there what it is.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: Fofer on Jun 30, '04 12:15:10PM

As the latest version of the ID3 tag specification becomes more widely adopted, more and more multi-disk CD's will be tagged automatically by GraceNote/FreeDB *properly,* (that is, with the "Album name" being the same for both disks, and the "Disk x of xx" being used to differentiate between them.) With tagging, consistency is key, and when you stick with it, wonderful, organizational things can happen.

And so "tricking" iTunes by overriding this natural, built-in, forward-thinking feature is actually creating more work than is necessary. (Not to mention -- gasp -- potentially annoying to anyone you might share an album or two with!) In other words, this is a hint, or hack, that needn't exist, since the software already has a better way to accommodate.

The suggestion to create a playlist for each and every disk, too, seems like a lot of work and not an efficient use of playlisting to me. I have over 1450 albums (200+ of which are probably mult-disc compilations) on my home media server, and proper ID tagging of all of them makes it easy to select/play in the living room or on the go with the iPod. Playlists, IMHO, are intended for when you want a unique listing of songs that's not available in the old-fashioned "album" form. All it takes is one iTunes burp for you to lose the iTunes preferences file that contains all of these finely-tuned playlists too, and until Apple provides a *simple* way to export/import them all in one fell swoop, I'd rather rely on ID3 tag info as much as possible, thankyouverymuch.

That said, I have about 50 playlists, most of which are "smart" and auto-updating, which suit my 20 GB iPod and the wife's iPod mini just fine. Occasionally I'll create a static playlist that replicates a new album I've gotten, but just so that I can "highlight" it temporarily and have quick access to it from the iPod. But I'm always cleaning up those playlists.

Thumbs up on the sub-folders suggestion... that will go a long way to keeping my playlist [ahem] list manageable. I recall seeing a blog entry point out embedded graphics in iTunes 4.5 that hint this feature might not be that far off, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: joelcpa on Jun 30, '04 01:31:04PM

I think what others are trying to say is that this can be done without your script. Just identifying each cd in a multi-cd set as cd x of x within iTunes will accomplish the same thing, either in iTunes or on an iPod. No need to update your script to handle this, since iTunes has this capability built in.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: babbage on Jun 30, '04 10:25:18PM

In other words, you are willfully misusing the data fields that the ID3 tags provide, so you've come up with an AppleScript hack to make iTunes behave as if the track database is kind-of / sort-of not-willfully-broken, and you're offering to extend this AppleScript hack to redundantly reinforce the working behavior you get when you don't willfully ignore the data fields ...and this is somehow a good thing worth sharing with others?

Gee. Thanks.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: phlavor on Jul 01, '04 03:50:34PM

I'll chime in to agree with the posters above. The vast majority of my CDs consist of live music. These shows can be anywhere 1 to 10 disks in length. I name everything by date in a xxxx/xx/xx format so shows are in chronological order. The whole thing would be a mess without tagging the disk fields. With the disk fields properly tagged, the whole show plays through on my iPod under a single album name and without the use of playlists. It's absolutely indispensable for my use.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: Fuzzle on Jul 01, '04 06:22:35PM

You're a PHISH phan, aren't you?

This space intentionally left blank.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: emilyrose on May 02, '08 11:56:09AM

That's great except it didn't work for me. One of my albums with 2 discs showed up correctly by itself but another didn't and the first explanation for how to fix this using AppleScript is not written for a lay person. :o(

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: emilyrose on May 02, '08 12:04:18PM

Oh. I see now I needed to select all albums for each CD and change album title to elminiate "(disk 1)" and "(disk 2)"! Hurray!

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: WaltFrench on Jun 30, '04 11:06:50AM

It takes but a few keystrokes to create a playlist from each multi-disc album that I load into iTunes. Playlists are easy to manipulate and edit, so if the 2nd disk of your favorite oldie opera includes some unrelated arias, you can easily excise them, or create a separate phantom "album" while you're at it.

Dunno why one wouldn't prefer playlists to albums... dead easy to access, control over naming conventions (such as all Miles' albums starting with "Davis-...") without trashing any original data.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Easily combine multiple disc albums in iTunes
Authored by: kevinv on Jun 30, '04 11:50:20AM

the only reason i prefer albums to playlists is that playlists takeup space on the right pane so a playlist per album, or even multiple albums (i have over 300 cd's probably 20 or 30 are multi-cd), makes that section hard to navigate.

If they had the ability to group playlists in sub-folders, I'd be allover this.

[ Reply to This | # ]