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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.



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