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Keep duplicate songs off of iTunes Smart Playlists Apps
The inelegance of this tip highlights two important features that are missing from iTunes. Like many readers, I assume, I have a large iTunes library with duplicate songs. I want to keep both copies of the duplicates only for their metadata: if I have a soundtrack and the artist's original album in which it appears, I'd like to be able to listen to either the original album or soundtrack, including the song. There is no obvious way to create an alias with different metadata (iTunes shortcoming #1). But I also want to prevent the same song from recurring in a smart playlist. Doing that requires multiple playlists, because iTunes doesn't allow a mix of boolean operators (iTunes shortcoming #2). Here's my messy solution:
  1. Select your Library, then choose View -> Show Duplicates.
  2. Create a new (ordinary) playlist, called Duplicates (or whatever). Select all the (duplicate) songs from the Library and drag them to the new Duplicates playlist. You will need to repeat steps these first two steps each time you add music to your collection.
  3. Create a new smart playlist, called Second Copy or similar. Select as conditions Playlist - is - Duplicates and Compilation - is - True.
  4. Optional: If your second copies of songs are not simply from compilations, repeat step three with new smart playlists with, e.g. Genre - is - Soundtrack or a like condition. Create one extra smart playlist that has alternative ('or') conditions that Playlist - is and then list each one of those new smart playlists, called, e.g. Second Copy-All.
  5. Add a condition to any new smart playlist that is Playlist - is not - Second Copy (or Second Copy-All, depending on whether you followed step four).
I'm eager to hear if there is a more elegant solution. One possible solution, which is above my scripting skills, might involve AppleScript to automatically perform steps one and two, and then select only the second copies of songs based on criteria such as Date Added, and unchecking those songs or adding them to a newly-created Second Copy playlist. A further AppleScript that simultaneously synched ratings, times played, etc. between duplicates would also be a godsend.
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Keep duplicate songs off of iTunes Smart Playlists
Authored by: designbot on Nov 22, '06 09:26:21AM

Instead of making a separate "Duplicates" playlist, you could simply uncheck the extra copies of your duplicate songs. Then select "Match only checked items" in your Smart Playlist criteria.

This will have the side effect of skipping the duplicate songs when shuffling or playing music. If that's not what you want, you can achieve the same thing by adding something like "Duplicate" to the comments of your extra songs, and specify "Comments does not contain 'Duplicate'" in your Smart Playlists.

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Keep duplicate songs off of iTunes Smart Playlists
Authored by: stevebr on Nov 22, '06 10:02:17AM

Unfortunately, iTunes' notion of what constitutes a duplicate is really crude. It ignores standard information like year or track length -- both of which are really useful in the determination.

If you have a large library or even a small one that contains a sizabe chunk of an artist's discography, you'll have to copy and clean up the lists made in the interim steps to not include things like live recordings, alternate takes from the same album, remixes, etc.

Really, the best way to deal with this is detailed accurate tags and basing your conditions on those: "Comment does not contain 'Concert'" etc."

(going slightly off topic) Even then you're still talking about nested lists for your "and" or "or" conditions. On the upside, since the introduction of folders you only really need to make playlists for your "or" conditions and then just dump them all in a folder which acts as the "and" list.

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duplicate song id
Authored by: ollieOxen on Nov 22, '06 10:39:18AM

In addition to Track name & Artist, I've found using the time of the track handy for identifying the dups (no need to rely on user data as this is hard data). Thing is, you have to use a time range +/- 5 seconds because different versions will differ in the blank space at the beginning & end.

Add my vote for a true alias feature for iTunes.

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Keep duplicate songs off of iTunes Smart Playlists
Authored by: nathanw on Nov 22, '06 01:34:37PM

Arguably, the deficiency here is that iTunes isn't actually a relational database. You want to have queries (smart playlists) that do "select from tracks where album=Studio" and "select from tracks where album=Soundtrack" and have this particular track show up in both - you'd have a table of tracks and then a table for the album->track mapping, and then it wouldn't need two copies of the audio file, either.

I sometimes doodle about the right database schema for this application, as I would like to avoid the copies I have due to having albums, CD singles, and compliations with the same tracks.

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Keep duplicate songs off of iTunes Smart Playlists
Authored by: dashard on Nov 27, '06 08:53:00AM

Worthwhile attempt, but it seems to be long and contorted for its goal.
In a nod to the first reply, I would use the 'Grouping' field (as opposed to comments) once you've isolated your soundtrack dupes and add a "Dupe" tag. Then you simply add "Grouping >> Does not contain >> Dupe."


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