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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format Apps
Tiger only hintiChat 3.0 comes with a "Current iTunes Track" option in the status message list. However, for most Internet-savvy audiophiles, this format is backwards. The standard format is Artist - Track but iChat gives it as Track - Artist!

However, this is fixable. Here's how:
  1. Quit iChat.
  2. In Terminal, enter this command: defaults write com.apple.iChatAgent iTunesMessageFormat -string '%Artist - %Track'.
  3. Enter the command killall iChatAgent -- this kills iChat's background daemon.
  4. Restart iChat, and choose the Current Track message option.
This formats the current tune as Artist - Track, the correct format. If you want to be unique, you can add any of the following tags in the command string:
%Artist
%Track
%Album
%Genre
%Year
%URL
Or, you can add a music note by putting
\342\231\253
in the string.

[robg adds: I tested this, and it works -- other than I can't figure out how to enter the string shown in the "musical note" option at the end. I've asked several well-versed Unix and Terminal users, and none of them knew the answer, either. So now I'll ask the real experts -- how about it, readers, how should that string be entered? If you're going to paste examples with code formatting in HTML mode, please use the [ code ] [ /code ] (without the spaces around the words!) tag pair to protect your backslashes!]
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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format | 32 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: DougAdams on Jun 27, '05 10:51:24AM
Bravo! One thing I've always noticed with later versions of iChat is that, despite what YOU may see in your status message, only the first 42 characters will appear in OTHER people's iChat status. As far as note glyphs...couldn't get that to fly here either. There is still my script Current Song to Current Chat which truncates Track and Artist names, and adds a specific glyph if a track, radio, or cd track is playing. But I like knowing the info in this tip, so thanks.

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: DougAdams on Jun 27, '05 10:53:34AM
Sorry, I meant to refer to Now Playing in iChat in my previous message!

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

[ Reply to This | # ]

10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: elliotjordan on Jun 27, '05 11:17:01AM

There should be a way to display the current song as an away message. I would prefer this style, because my non-iChat buddies could see the song that way.



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: DougAdams on Jun 27, '05 11:37:15AM
Here's an AppleScript that (so far) does the setting and quitting for you:
property literal_options : {"Song Name", "Artist", "Album", "Genre", "Year", "URL"}
property needed_options : {"%Track", "%Artist", "%Album", "%Genre", "%Year", "%URL"}
property delim : " - "
global my_new_string
set my_options to (choose from list literal_options with prompt "Show in iChat status:" with multiple selections allowed)
if my_options is false then return

set my_new_string to ""
repeat with this_choice in my_options
	repeat with j from 1 to count of literal_options
		if this_choice contains item j of literal_options then
			my set_delim()
			set my_new_string to my_new_string & item j of needed_options
		end if
	end repeat
end repeat

do shell script "defaults write com.apple.iChatAgent iTunesMessageFormat -string " & quoted form of my_new_string

try
	do shell script "killall iChatAgent"
end try

try
	tell application "iChat" to quit
	delay 3
end try

try
	tell application "iChat" to launch
	
end try

to set_delim()
	if my_new_string is not "" then
		set my_new_string to my_new_string & delim
	end if
end set_delim
Very preliminary, but you get the idea.

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

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Doesn't Change Order
Authored by: xlax999999 on Jun 27, '05 12:06:28PM
Though this does change what you can display you cant show the information in the order you choose. However if you switch
Song Name
with
Artist
in line 1 and in the next line switch
%Track
and
%Artist
That makes it possible to change the order as mentioned in the hint.

---
xlax999999

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Doesn't Change Order
Authored by: DougAdams on Jun 27, '05 12:36:20PM

Yeah, the script won't do the order you want. I just did it in the order I thought would be "logical".

REMEMBER: only 42 characters will show in your Buddies' status for you (DESPITE what you see in your status). Doesn't make a lot of sense to show "Song Name" and "Artist" and "Album" since there's no way all that text is gonna display.

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/



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Add Icon?
Authored by: xlax999999 on Jun 27, '05 11:58:44AM

Is there anyway to have iChat also display the icon as the cover art of the currently playing song? I used to have Konfabulator do this but since Dashboard I no longer use Konfabulator. There was a system preference pane that did this but it no longer works in Tiger. I would love if someone found a way to do this either in Dashboard or directly in iTunes.

Great Hint though, it always bugged me arranged like that.

---
xlax999999



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Add Icon?
Authored by: billabOng on Jun 27, '05 01:51:30PM
Synergy Advance will do that for you.

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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: jbell on Jun 27, '05 12:15:38PM

I am having some weirdness regarding the status message. After following the hint and restarting iChat, it kicking off iChatAgent I am able to set the stats with the newly formed Current Track message from the buddy list window. However if I change the status to Current iTunes Track from the iChat menubar menu it sets my status to "%Track - %Artist" the default string that iChat used. Am I the only one experienceing this?



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: vdanen on Jun 27, '05 12:31:04PM

It only does this when you first start iChat. If you re-select "Current iTunes Track" it will show up with the new strings properly.



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: jbell on Jun 27, '05 12:39:59PM

Not for me, I am experienceing this behavior consistantly. Each time "Current iTunes Track" is selected from the menubar it get's set to actual default string as in my status displays "%Track - %Artist" to other iChat users. I select 'Current iTunes Track" from the buddy list window, I get my customized string as desired.



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: jbell on Jun 27, '05 12:31:41PM

To add special characters/symbols including the musical notes, there is a easy way to do it. After the defaults write command the iTunesMessageFormat child shows up in the com.apple.iChatAgent.plist file when opened in the Property List Editor. You can use the Special Characters menu under Edit to access all of the available special characters. You still have to quit iChat and kill the iChatAgent to get the new string to save and display.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: mesa on Jun 27, '05 01:13:26PM

I used Character Palette to insert the "BEAMED EIGHTH NOTES" into the string, it was then displayed as \u266b.

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This space intentionally left non-blank



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: rgovostes on Jun 27, '05 01:36:08PM
This is very similar to an Unsanity.org post last month: http://www.unsanity.org/archives/000412.php

Not claiming plagiarism, but the messages are formatted very similarly...

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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: aliscafo on Jun 27, '05 04:18:19PM
To include the note symbols in your string, you have to use the unicode of it. For example for a note similar to the one used in the iTunes icon use this unicode
\U266B
You can insert it anywhere you want in the String. I used the character palette to have the unicode of the note. Just do a search for note and you'll find all the ones available. Then leave the mouse on the character you want and the unicode of it will appear.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: DougAdams on Jun 27, '05 04:31:09PM
Sorry to repeat myself! Remember, your Buddies' status message will only display the first 42 characters of your status message.

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

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Afterthought
Authored by: DougAdams on Jun 27, '05 04:38:28PM
Remember, your Buddies will only see the first 42 characters of your status message. So, do you want them to see:

The Allman Brothers Band - In Memory of El

or

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed - The Allman B

Isn't it the track name you want to show off?

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

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Afterthought
Authored by: aliscafo on Jun 28, '05 01:04:19AM

What if you create an available/away message that will also display the music you are currently listening to. Are you still limited to 42 chars and do you still have the Music Store Arrow at the end?

PS: I created a new away message in the iChat.plist file and it seems to work fine but I can't test if Strings longer than 42 are truncated or not.



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Afterthought
Authored by: DougAdams on Jun 28, '05 07:39:07AM
PS: I created a new away message in the iChat.plist file and it seems to work fine but I can't test if Strings longer than 42 are truncated or not.

Just ask one of the people in your Buddies list what they see for your status :)

---
Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes
http://www.dougscripts.com/itunes/

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Afterthought
Authored by: melmaninga on Jun 28, '05 02:14:45PM

Did you create an Away message that displays your Current Playing tune???? If so please share as to how!



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: wheeles on Aug 10, '05 06:45:33PM

I've been playing with setting the message in iChat using applescript, but for the life of me can't set it to the "Current iTunes Track" setting. Anyone know how to do this?

All I seem to be able to do is set the text to: 'Current iTunes Track' and not the menu item in iChat.



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Scripting iChat's status menu items
Authored by: Gnarlodious on Jan 09, '06 06:15:51PM

Appears to be unscriptable. You can specify a text string but not a menu item.
Seems like you should be able to say [code]set status message to 3[/code] but it doesn't work.



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: DMCrimson on Aug 20, '05 10:07:59AM

Got totally fed up with iChat's status menu's inability to set the status correctly, reverted back to script I deviced ages ago (sent it to doug's but apparently it wasn't good enough).
So, the problem: setting the status to "Current iTunes Track" from the iChat's menu results in "%Track - %Artist" as status despite I've changed the com.apple.iChatAgent.plist's FZPersonStatusMessage and iTunesMessageFormat to "np: %Artist - %Track" (where the heck it comes from???)

Illiance was good, but had things the wrong way around.

So, here's my take: http://users.evtek.fi/~k0101446/script.txt (pay heed to line wrapping... there are long lines)
Save that as an application bundle with script editor and navigate to where you saved, go inside the app bundle and open Info.plist with some editor and add the following:

<key>LSUIElement</key>
<string>1</string>

that should make it "faceless" ie. not showing up in dock or application switcher at all. the script has some additional stuff in it, like parsing Roth Metal Radio a wee bit differently - edit all you like.



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: Andreast on Sep 15, '05 04:30:12PM

I decided to give your script a try, and it works fine.

I wanted to display the musical note as well, but it only shows as a question mark, both after compiling the script and in iChat.

I ended each line with "as unicode text" but it made no difference.

Any ideas?



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From an anonymous submitter...
Authored by: robg on Aug 30, '05 09:23:22AM
If setting the status to "Current iTunes Track" from the iChat's menu bar only results in "%Artist - %Track" as status, the solution is simple. After following the steps in this hint, do this:

Now in Terminal, enter:
defaults write com.apple.iChat iTunesMessageFormat \
-string '%Artist - %Track'
Restart iChat, and choose the "Current iTunes Track" status option from the menu bar. Now the current track and artist information should show correctly if iTunes is running.

Then you maybe want to add something special, for example, a music note in the status message. Here is how to do it.

Do not worry about the unicode code. Open "com.apple.iChat.plist" in Property List Editor. Find "iTunesMessageFormat" and then double click the value column. Now open Character Palette from the menu bar, go to Symbols/Miscellaneous Symbol. Choose the symbol you want to use and then "Insert". You should see your selected symbol in the value column of "iTunesMessageFormat". Ctrl + S to save the "com.apple.iChat.plist" file. Now you are all test. Try to see the fancy iTunes Status message.

If you IM with Google talk users, the message shows perfect in Google talk.

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From an anonymous submitter...
Authored by: DMCrimson on Aug 30, '05 04:15:54PM
no, the status message goes "%Track - %Artist" even AFTER applying that default's command and restarting iChat & iChatAgent - no matter how many times I run the said command in terminal. No Matter what I do, it always gets "%Track - %Artist" when the status is set from the menu (not from iChat, but menu extra) com.apple.iChat.plist has entry for iTunesMessageFormat, and it says "np: %Artist - %Track" com.apple.iChatAgent.plist has entries for iTunesMessageFormat ("np: %Artist - %Track") and FZPersonStatusMessage ("np: %Artist - %Track"), no mention of "%Track - %Artist" there. (saved plist's at this point) iChatAgent is not running, let's see what happens when I launch iChat now. FZPersonStatusMessage has reverted back to "%Track - %Artist" Any ideas why?

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Why not m-dashes?
Authored by: mproud on Nov 02, '05 12:14:06AM

While we're on the subject of Unicode and special characters, why not implement an m-dash? Most people just use hyphens '-', but this is actually incorrect. An m-dash — which is option + shift + '-' — will get you the m-dash ('—'). (You can also find it in the character palette.)

Now next time you're looking to put in a dash, you know how to put a <em>real</em> m-dash in, instead of a puny hyphen.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: tyrannous on Nov 21, '06 01:15:05AM

agreed, any ideas?

---
I dont get it...



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Access the composer of the currently playing iTunes song?
Authored by: kd8cyb on Jun 06, '08 04:25:49PM

Is there a way to access the composer of the currently playing iTunes song? Using %Composer or %composer doesn't work.



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: ynk1121 on Feb 25, '09 11:11:13AM

I know this is an old topic but it is first result in google so I thought I add this. To get music notes in ichat this worked for me:

defaults write com.apple.iChatAgent iTunesMessageFormat -string '♫ %Artist - %Track ♪'



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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: lycosman on Feb 11, '10 04:18:13AM
If someone still stuck with the static "%Artist - %Track" in recent version of iChat (I'm using iChat 5 on SL and used this bcause it still appears on top of google results) I found the solution: remove '-string' from the command and restart both iChat and iTunes. In my case i used:
defaults write com.apple.iChatAgent iTunesMessageFormat '%Track by %Artist - %Album'
and it works like a charm. :)

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10.4: Fix iChat's iTunes status message format
Authored by: ibarek on Mar 20, '10 12:07:23PM

If someone is still stuck with the static "%Artist - %Track", then here is the trick. You need to do the update at two places:
1. for ichat menubar (com.apple.iChatAgent)
2. for ichat app status bar (com.apple.iChat)

Here is the code:
<b>
defaults write com.apple.iChat iTunesMessageFormat -string '&#9835; %Track - %Artist'
defaults write com.apple.iChatAgent iTunesMessageFormat -string '&#9835; %Track - %Artist'
</b>



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