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Keep iTunes metadata when you re-rip, and deauthorize missing Macs

Kirk McElhearn | July 8, 2013
In a grab-bag installment of The iTunes Guy, I look at how to ensure that tags and metadata get retained when you re-rip CDs, how to deauthorize computers for iTunes Store accounts, and how to change the name of your iTunes library for Home Sharing.

In a grab-bag installment of The iTunes Guy, I look at how to ensure that tags and metadata get retained when you re-rip CDs, how to deauthorize computers for iTunes Store accounts, and how to change the name of your iTunes library for Home Sharing.

Q: I have a standard-quality MP3 album on my Mac that I've listened to for several years, added lyrics to, and so on. Now, because I discovered the Apple Lossless format and still have a CD of that album in my house, I would like to rip the CD again in higher quality. However, I don't want to lose any of the metadata, because I have smart playlists that rely on the songs' play count. Is it possible to do this without too much hassle?

It is. There is an easy (mostly reliable) way and a slightly more complicated (but better) way.

The first method is to launch iTunes, insert the CD into your drive, and then check to see that all the tags--Album, Artist, Album Artist, Name, Genre, Composer--are exactly the same as yours. When you rip the CD again in Apple Lossless format, iTunes will ask if you want to replace the existing tracks. When it does so, it will keep your other tags, such as album art and lyrics, and iTunes-specific metadata, such as Last Played Date, Plays, Rating, and so on. However, in my experience, this method is hit-or-miss.

The second solution, which involves a few extra steps, always works for me. Begin by putting the MP3 files you plan to replace in a new or existing playlist. Now insert the CD in your drive, select it in iTunes, create another new playlist (or use another existing empty playlist), and drag the tracks from the CD's window in iTunes to that playlist. Import the CD, and you'll have two copies of the tracks: MP3 files in the first playlist and Apple Lossless files in the second.

Now download Doug Adams's Copy Tag Info Tracks to Tracks AppleScript (donation requested). Select the first group of tracks (the MP3 files), and then launch the AppleScript. Put a checkmark next to each of the tags you want to copy (such as Plays), then click Proceed. Select the newly ripped (Apple Lossless) tracks and click Proceed again. The script will copy the selected tags to the new files, overwriting any tags they have.

Check the new files to make sure the tags and metadata are correct, and then delete the old files if you want to.

Q: How can I transfer my movies to the Home Videos section of my iTunes Movies library? In the older version of iTunes, there was no option for home movies. Now there's one for both regular movies and home videos. My home videos are in the Movies section, and I'd like to move them to the Home Videos section.

 

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