Sort Out Your Music Collection with Tune Up for Windows and Mac [Rewards]

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If your iTunes collection is measured in the thousands rather than hundreds, you’ll no doubt understand the need to keep it under control. The best way to do this is to correctly classify tracks, make sure things are named correctly, and avoid duplications and variation on artists or album names. Setting the correct metadata manually for thousands of songs is quite a formidable task. TuneUp makes a bold promise to do this task for you with only minimal supervision.

TuneUp costs a one-off $49.95, or can be purchased as a yearly licence for $39.95. Alternatively, you can grab it from the MakeUseOf Rewards program right now for 500 points; or you can download a free trial that will clean up to 50 songs. It works as a plugin with either iTunes or Windows Media Player. Note that it requires an Internet connection to work.

TuneUp Features

The promise of cleaning up your music collection is a certainly a bold one to make; but what exactly does TuneUp do?

  • Fixes mislabeled songs – things like “Unknown artist” and “Track 01″; it does this using waveform analysis.
  • Adds other missing meta information, like release year or genre. This makes smart playlists a lot more useful, such as “rock music from the 80s”.
  • Adds cover art, automatically or by giving you a choice of domestic / international versions.
  • Removes duplicates.
  • Features a “now playing” tab with lyrics, concert dates and other albums from the current artist.

The features are also heavily customizable. When cleaning your tracks, you need only import the information you want, so if you’d rather they left alone your carefully created genres then you can go right ahead and keep those. Be sure to check these preferences before performing your first clean though, as genre replacement is on by default.

In order to keep track of the cleaning process, I suggest enabling playlist creation via the preferences menu. Now perform an analysis on your collection – mine found about 3,500 songs of 8,000 total which had missing information. It should also have created a special playlist for those, so use that as a source when dragging and dropping into the interface.

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Note that the list isn’t dynamic; once cleaned, songs are not removed from it. Alternatively, you can simply pick and choose songs to clean straight from your main library (or do them all); an analysis isn’t neccessary for the plugin to work.

Interface

Drag some files into the cleaning window to get started – you can drag up to 1,000 each time – then let the identification process run.

The main cleaning interface is divided into two sections; definite matches (blue), and likely matches (grey). Clicking on the check mark will accept those matches – you can either do this individually, or on a track by track, album by album basis; or you can simply click “Save all” to accept all the matches. Alternatively, Clear (Cancel) any changes to albums or tracks with the X. If you’re having doubts about a particular album, toggle the full view down and click to play an individual track that it thinks is a match.

If at any point, you think you may have inadvertently mislabelled a track, drag it into the undo tab reverse changes back to its original state.

Though functional, I do find the interface a little fiddly. I think I would have preferred a full application window rather than a compact sidebar. Occasional bugs appeared, like the lack of a check button graphic (it should be next to the X in the screenshots above), though the button itself still worked.

Also, if you have a large collection of mash-ups or audiobooks, I’d also suggest you look carefully at the list as there will be a lot of misclassifications, or better still just remove them from the “to clean” list before starting. That said, it did manage to fix some of my Chinese songs that had been broken by Windows character encoding at some point, giving them the correct titles back.

Lyrics

The most recent update to TuneUp includes the ability to display lyrics, but the keyword is display only – it will not add found lyrics during the clean up process, which is disappointing. Furthermore, if your tracks already have lyrics in the metadata, it won’t display those either – it can only stream what is available on its rather limited lyrics partner.

If you’re looking for a decent solution to grab lyrics for all your songs, or to display them nicely while listening, consider GetLyrical instead.

Summary

If your iTunes consists of mostly popular music that seriously needs kicking into shape, TuneUp is going to perform great for you. It has a fine level control over precisely which information gets pulled or overwritten, and works very well for popular music. You’ll find cover flow suddenly makes a lot more sense when you actually have album artwork; it felt great to actually see images of artists I’d loved over the years but never looked into further.

If your iTunes is full of non-music , foreign tracks, audiobooks, comedy recordings, and all manner of non-standard audio, then you’ll need to be more selective with the cleaning process. It’ll still perform a great job on regular music tracks, but blindly letting identify everything in your collection is going to have you fuming.

Have you used TuneUp? Let us know how it worked out for you in the comments! Alternatively, do you have another preferred way of fixing all your metadata, or do you just not care?

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Comments (42)
  • Michael Heffner

    I have to say that I’m glad I used my points here to get the full version of this software rather than buying it. This has got to be the biggest turd ever for music software. I first had it scan for missing artwork. It “found” about 85% of the missing album covers, When trying to apply those covers, about 60% did not save and gave the message “The album cover is no longer available” I tried again with the same results.

    I thought maybe it would do better with duplicate files. It found an awful lot of duplicates and I noticed that most of them had the same path and filename for the original and the duplicate. I opened the folder and sure enough there was only one copy of each song. I made a copy of the folder and told it to “fix” the duplicates for that album only and it removed the files leaving me with an empty directory. Also, every time I clicked the preview buttons to hear the duplicates, it then switched tabs to a social tab that wanted me to share the song I was playing with half the world, searched for and displayed the duplicates, then froze until I stopped the song directly in iTunes.

    All of this was done with it running with 80% processor usage and eventually hitting 1.4 Gigs of RAM before I finally killed it. It was also phoning home on literally every track, for every process, fix, artwork, and de-dupe and would freeze and wait until it received an answer.

    I started searching their site for solutions only to find comment after comment with the same complaints and the only solutions or explanations offered was “we’ve opened ticket # blah for you, please respond there.”

    It appears that this used to be a really good product, but the latest updates to add the social tabs and whatever other changes were made seem to have killed it and they do not know how to fix it.

    This was with the latest version and using iTunes 10 which is their recommended version.

    Sorry guys, but in my opinion, this one is a dud.

    • muotechguy

      A new social tab? Oh dear. I can see how that would put anyone off.

      In fairness, duplicating a folder is not really the use case; iTunes would not have done that. Though the artwork errors are clearly ridiculous.

      Thanks for the thorough feedback Michael!

  • John Wallach

    I don’t keep any music in iTunes library, but store all my music on my iPod hard drive. Will this app work for me?

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy

      No. But that a very bad way to store your music – what would you do if your iPod broke? Do you have any backup at all? iPods are supposed to sync with a computer, no exist as a separate storage device.

    • John Wallach

      Music takes up too much space on my computer’s hard drive. I periodically make back up dvd copies of everything on my iPod using the iCopy app. Works for me.

  • unknown69

    Question: Does the full version have “Special offer” removed? You know that ad with iMAC and headset wrapped around it and it says “Clean Your iTunes For 30% OFF”

  • unknown69

    It is a great program, only if it didn’t require windows media player or itunes installed, because both of those sucks! I tried it on vmware with xp that has wmp11 installed, it does its job (kind of) but takes forever to sort out a folder with 42 to associate them with correct album information. It feels like it has problems with non commercial music that is not played on regular radio (tried with handsup and remixes).

  • Arshad Hasan

    Is this lifetime licence giveaway?

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.