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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?

  1. Michael Heffner
    April 12, 2013 at 2:48 am

    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
      April 12, 2013 at 8:15 am

      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!

  2. John Wallach
    April 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    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
      April 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

      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
      April 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      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.

  3. unknown69
    February 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    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"

    • muotechguy
      February 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      There are no ads in the full version, no.

  4. unknown69
    February 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    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).

  5. Arshad Hasan
    February 3, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Is this lifetime licence giveaway?

  6. Jacques Knipe
    January 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Never mind. Works so awesomely! Definitely redeeming it now!

  7. Jacques Knipe
    January 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I am just wondering if it will work with more than music downloaded from the iStore. My whole iTunes library is music I added from my HDD. If it will work for that method of adding music to iTunes, I'm getting this now!

  8. Newell Fisk
    January 21, 2013 at 2:11 am

    The best clean-up tool, trying my best to get this quick! I really need it

  9. Lukas Liwandouw
    January 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I must get this product

  10. Jeremy Garnett
    January 16, 2013 at 4:02 am

    I wonder how this compares to Media Monkey

  11. Anestis Kozakis
    January 6, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I have to disagree with most of the comments here. When I tried this program a few years ago it completely screwed up my iTunes library. It messed up quite a lot fo the compilations, put wrong information in the mp3 tags of a lot of songs (i.e. tagging some from completely different albums), and downloaded the wrong album artwork fro quite a few songs.

    I would recommend against using this software. It's easier to just manually organise your library.

    • James Bruce
      January 7, 2013 at 9:05 am

      It asks for manual input on anything it's not sure of though - perhaps the old version didnt do this?

    • Anestis Kozakis
      January 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      You know what they say, Once Bitten, and so forth.

  12. Yiz Borol
    December 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Looks great, I'm going for it!

  13. Jagbir Sembhi
    December 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    its better than itunes and worth money.

  14. Samarth Gupta
    December 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Works flawlessly..amazing.

  15. Brenden Barlow
    December 12, 2012 at 6:49 am

    this looks like an excellent piece of software. i saw it in a store the other day, but i dont think i could bring myself to pay that much for it...

  16. Adinamo Alex
    December 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Very good program, a must for music.

  17. pp potana
    December 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Nice software but does the information provided by the software mostly correct or is there any chance of error ?

    • Muo TechGuy
      December 11, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Mostly correct, but yes there is always the chance of errors.

  18. Graham Blair
    December 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I've used the free trail of this software. Fantastic you can even pick which ones you want it to clean up in case you like having random songs......

  19. Jesse Manalansan
    December 4, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Gonna try this soon! :)

  20. Robert Szubarga
    November 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    a very useful program for those who do not keep order from the beginning ..

  21. Adam Campbell
    November 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    i want postbox more...

  22. Nikhil Chandak
    October 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I hv downloaded the TuneUp
    it was amazing ..
    Now , the duplicates of some songs are being in my computer
    thnx for the reviews of it
    !

    • Nikhil Chandak
      November 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      I mean now the duplicates of some songs are remov

  23. illegal3alien
    October 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Having used it before, I can say it definitely works well.

  24. Mac Witty
    October 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Great app! I have started to clean up my iTunes mess. Not complete it yet but I'm on my way

  25. Gravity Dead
    October 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    not worth it
    i will stay with my tagscanner

    would have bought it if it was not "display only"
    that's the only feature that tagscanner does not have, ATM!

  26. Alex Perkins
    October 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    It's awesome, I got it and now I finally have all the album art on my music, I already made it my mission to make sure it was named correctly as I gathered music over time.

  27. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    October 25, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Mine is a huge library of Japanese songs and game OSTs. Can it fix niche albums like old JRPG soundtracks?

    • Muo TechGuy
      October 25, 2012 at 8:01 am

      I wouldn't trust it to do that, no. My regular japanese and chinese pop was mostly ok, but game soundtracks were sketchy at best.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      October 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

      Oh, ok. Can you recommend a program to work with such albums?

    • James Bruce
      October 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

      I'm afraid there isn't one...Unless there is something that uses an open source music directory I don't know about, and even then it's unlikely that many other people will have contributed metadata for JRPG OSTs. It just too niche really.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      October 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      I used to like MP3Tag with VGMdb plugin, but that plugin doesn't work anymore. Well then, I suppose I'd tag manually like usual. Sometimes even files ripped from original CDs don't have correct tag. English title from a Japanese company is often horrible offender, with transliteration full of typos.

  28. Burt Philp
    October 25, 2012 at 3:43 am

    This looks quite useful. It would help get rid of iTunes duplicates.

  29. Usher Davidson
    October 25, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Now this is a good prize :)

    • Muz RC
      November 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Thanks for feedback, maybe i will try this later...

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