How To Organize Your iTunes Collection With TidySongs

David Pierce 12-08-2009

musicDo you download music from multiple sources? How about sources you don’t pay for? Even if all you’re doing is ripping CD’s How to Rip a CD to MP3 (And Auto-Name the Files Correctly) CDs take up space and you need a CD player to play them. Why not rip CDs to MP3s with track names and other meta-data instead? Read More onto your hard drive, odds are good you’ve got more than a few songs labeled something like “Track 06.mp3″ or “This song’s totally sweet.mp3″.


How in the world are you supposed to remember what song that really is? And how are you supposed to figure out when you’ve got duplicate songs taking up space on your computer?

The answer to both those questions is one word (well, really two, but one in a Web 2.0 kind of way) – TidySongs [No Longer Available].

TidySongs is a brand-new Adobe AIR app, for Windows and Mac OS X, that hooks into your iTunes and goes bananas all over your music library, helping you to finally organize your iTunes collection.

Before I go any further, a disclaimer: TidySongs isn’t free. It’s got a fully-functioning free trial, that’s perfect for a one-time cleanup of your songs. The Genre Renaming feature remains free, but to continue to use the rest costs $30. It’s a bit hefty, but I found the benefit of one use well worth the time to install. If you download like crazy, you might want to consider purchasing the app.



Once you’ve installed the app (it’s small, and requires Adobe AIR – which it will automatically install if you don’t have it already), open up iTunes and TidySongs. You’ll immediately get three options: Fix Your Songs, Find Duplicates, and Organize Genres.


Let’s start with the big kahuna first: Fix Your Songs. Select a playlist (If you pick ‘Music‘, TidySongs scans your whole library), and check a couple of options before you start. I recommend, at least for the first pass, making sure “Fix Songs Manually“ is selected – that means you review every change TidySongs makes before it makes them.


A nice medium, though, and one that worked for me, was to select “Automatically fix songs if confidence is greater than 80%.“ Every time TidySongs fixes a song, it gives a confidence level of how sure it is that it’s making the right change – my experience was that, when it’s over 80%, it’s actually right about 99% of the time. Once your options are set, click “Fix Songs“ and let TidySongs go to work!


TidySongs brings up the list of all the songs it wants to update for you, with all the info (it finds album art, track #, genre, and so much more) in the window. You either choose “Skip“ or “Fix,” and TidySongs takes its action, and moves you to the next one. Once it’s finished, you’ll find you’ve got tons of new album artwork, better organization and ordering of albums, and a much more information-packed iTunes. This is a good first step in organizing your entire iTunes collection.

Your next option is “Find Duplicates.” TidySongs checks the Name, Artist, and/or Album of the track to see if you’ve already got it – if so, it keeps either the longer one or the better quality one, and can either delete the duplicate or just mark it as a duplicate.



You can’t actually delete anything from TidySongs without paying, but that wasn’t a problem: the “Simulate” option worked fine, and manually deleting duplicates was super easy. In one pass of my library, TidySongs found no fewer than 225 duplicates (out of 8,000 songs, not so bad, but still). Of those, I ended up deleting about 200. That’s a great percentage, but I’d still recommend checking TidySongs’ findings. Once you run this, though, you might be surprised how much space it frees on your computer.


Organizing Genres is a more simple affair – it presents you with a list of all the genres you have in your iTunes library. Select one or more, and choose what you want to rename it to. This lets you consolidate your genres into a smaller number, based on a system you’ve devised, rather than the insanity that makes Pop Rock, Rock/Pop, and rock_pop three different genres.


As a serial music downloader, having TidySongs around to run once a week or so is a lifesaver – no manually hunting for album artwork, or renaming songs – TidySongs does it for you. Even incorrectly named songs get found, for the most part, and are updated properly. It’s an impressive app, and has kept the audio-OCDer in me happy.

How do you keep your music organized?

Photo Credit : Mikey

Related topics: iTunes, MP3.

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  1. Vincent Dixon
    February 1, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Terrible software. Couldn't find Beatles albums artwork, crashes continually so you never get past B...No support. Don't waste your money.

  2. dale
    January 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Yah, well I wish I'd found this thread before I wasted my $30. Tidytunes is incapable of finding duplicates. I have dozens of dups. When I first ran it, it claimed to find about 15 and did nothing with them although it claimed to have removed them. Second attempt to run, and many times after it doesn't find any duplicates. There are still dozens of dups. This software is crap.

  3. @SD
    January 24, 2010 at 1:30 am

    I purchased this program to fix a friends database. I asked Tidysongs to only find duplicates with the exact same name, same album and same size. It found over 2000 duplicates and moved them to a folder. When it moved them to a folder it put a " - #####" (where ##### is a five digit code) at the end of each name. Now the real frustrating part; it moved songs that weren't duplicates. For instance it moved track 4 of a song and when we look in that albums directory track 4 is missing. We found track 4 in the folder where Tidysongs moved all of the duplicates. If I just re-import those files into iTunes it also imports the " - #####" in the name of the song. What happened? How do I fix it? The songs don't show up in iTunes so I can't restore from a playlist. This is a mess.

  4. Jack MeHoff
    January 14, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    This app is horrible, much like itunes. Install error, .NET us up to date, no support, dont pay for this app. Free ones out there that work better and you can donate to them if you want to support their effort

  5. sanzeyan
    January 8, 2010 at 12:35 am

    "It works, but not in itunes, no cover at all, no files modified…"
    Anyone solved?

    I wrote 2 e-mail to Tidysongs but I got no answers...

  6. ced
    December 31, 2009 at 2:41 am

    I'm fed up with this :(
    It works, but not in itunes, no cover at all, no files modified...
    and why? why using only amazon to find covers? That's lame :(

    Itunes on pc is a mess by the way, you can find cover with him, but it don't save cover in the mp3 itself, that's awful.

    I deleted everything...

    So what now? If you want a good free and easy to use tool, go for mp3tag.
    And if you need a more serious auto-tagging tool, go for Tagrunner, it cost 27$ and use more than one source (and yes, he also use amazon like Tidysongs) to find tags and doesn't require any external shi**y program. (and he can find lyrics too)

  7. Stan
    December 31, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Same problem!!! I tried the demo version and it worked great. It fixed about 20 songs, so I decided to go ahead and pay the $30. After that it stopped working. It flips through the songs, gives the correct information, but never actually changes the files in Itunes. Once I close tidysongs, everything just goes back to how it was (so that only the 20 songs that were fixed before buying the product are still fixed). It really sucks that I found this out after going through about 250 songs one by one, then closing it to find that none of the changes took. I have followed the suggestions on this thread. I have run the search for missing songs. Tidysongs says I have no missing songs. I have uninstalled and reinstalled tidysongs 6 times (however, when I reinstall it, it still has the old information in there). I have uninstalled and reinstalled Adobe AIR three times. I have erased every file I could find on my computer that had the name "tidysong" or "adobe AIR" in it. I have tried to erase every file that was either created or modified on the day I installed tidysongs in hopes of just getting a clean start. Nothing works!!! It is frustrating to think that the trial version worked fine but as soon as I pay the money this product does nothing. Until there is a fix I would NOT recommend buying this software. With the time and effort you'll spend trying to get this thing to work, you could just go through and manually fix the songs in iTunes yourself. very disappointing.

  8. Kelly McPhee
    December 18, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    You need to download and install the latest version of Microsoft .NET, which can be found here:

    .NET is a technology that comes on all new Windows machines that is used to run some windows programs. Older computers that haven't automatically updated will get an error when they try and start TidySongs.

  9. Joe
    December 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    i have a problem as well ive got an error after installing tidysongs it say application error- airhelper.exe error

  10. Chris Studley
    December 6, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I hope this all gets sorted out. I purchased it, and am not totally happy with the results. It seems to have made a mess out of my library, and also I can't for the life of me figureout how to clear the Tidytunes history. The numbers just keep getting bigger at the bottom of the program window.
    I'd like to undo it all, uninstall it, clear the history of the program, re-install it and start over and see if it works out or not.

  11. Al
    December 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks Daniel for the update. Godd to hear you're not ignoreing this thread. Perhaps post again here when you have fixed the reported issues. You may want to consider disabling the 'fix' feature until a 'remove missing songs' pass is done first rather than just suggesting it. That might avoid a lot of complaints. How about an 'search/install updates' feature build into Tidysongs? And consider dropping the Adobe Air installer for a standalone single-step installer/unintaller. How about inviting folks for beta testing?


  12. Nick
    December 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    PS - I think it is part ITunes's 9.0 - they must have changed a lot of its code because there are other products that have gotten hosed. - Nick

  13. Nick
    December 4, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I wasted a whole weekend trying to use this program. When I tried it either (a)would not start at all (b)start and then stop at around 20, although it did not ask for a credit card (c)freeze and take my whole system (Windows 7) down with it and (d)started to delete songs that did not need deleting!! That is when I uninstalled it.

    The people here at Tidysongs seem nice, and I feel kind of bad ragging on TidySongs, but if I were about to buy it, I would want to know how it worked for others.

    I have since found a particularly good one. It was worth the money. Works great. It removed over 7500 true duplicates, and smartly left the 12,000 non-dupes alone.
    Google "dupe eliminator 9" .

  14. Daniel
    December 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Hey everyone - I'm the Technical Director and lead developer for the TidySongs application. Kelly alerted me to this thread. I'm sorry for all the issues you guys are having. A couple of points:

    -- TidySongs won't fix genres if (a) the song in iTunes is "missing" or (b) you have the Genre option unchecked.

    -- The first thing you should do with TidySongs is remove any missing songs (these are songs iTunes thinks exist but can't find the mp3 file at the original path). This will solve a lot of the "TidySongs didn't update anything" issues - because a lot of times, the songs TidySongs would try and fix aren't actually there.

    -- We've gotten reports of iTunes dropping connections intermittently and I'm still trying to figure out what is going on. From what I can tell, sometimes iTunes just doesn't want to talk to iTunes. Messages to iTunes from TidySongs are queued, so it may look like iTunes is dropping the connection on the 3rd or 5th song, when in reality, it's the first song that didn't work (meaning iTunes never worked). A quick way to test whether or not iTunes is listening is to "play" a song from TidySongs and wait to see if it plays.

    Contact Kelly if you are still having problems. She sits right behind me and I'm working on weeding out any more bugs.


  15. mark k
    December 3, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Contacted Kelly about this. Seemed to think it was something I was doing. Sounds like you others experiencing the same thing. It says it fixes but nothing actually happens.

  16. davidgee
    October 20, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Looks like I should have checkd here first ! Just spent $30 on a product that does nothing ! Has anyone maaged to get this to work de-duping their itunes??

    Feck !

    • mark k
      December 3, 2009 at 9:12 pm

      Cannot get the Genre tool to work either. It does nothing. Paid the $30.

  17. Chris Gallant
    October 18, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Okay...I am annoyed as well. The program appears to work. However, it cannot stay connected to Itunes for more than a few songs. Sort of defeats the purpose. What is worse, as the above people mention...although it appears to be changing/fixing your files....IT IS NOT CHANGING ANYTHING!!!! A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. I will be demanding a refund or a fix!

  18. Desmond Radloff
    October 18, 2009 at 5:32 am

    As with Haley I am also having problems with TidySongs. It runs through my library and says it is fixing each one, but none of the changes actually occur on my iTunes! Can anyone help? This is extremely frustrating and will be requesting a refund if cannot be resolved.

  19. ced
    October 11, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Looks promising but...
    The program run fine, but all my files are skipped.
    I tried to reduce the number of files, Tried with just one mp3 and still nothing.
    I using the latest version of all the programs (Air, itunes and Tidysongs of course)

    • david Facenda Cordero
      October 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

      the same that ced happens to me, all my files are skipped... what can I do now?

  20. Haley
    October 8, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I have been having problems with TidySongs. It runs through my library and says it is fixing each one, but none of the changes actually occur on my iTunes! Can anyone help?

  21. Al
    October 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Hi Kelly. Thanks for responding. Just to let you know, I am using the lastest version of iTunes and Tidysongs and I did email my issues using Tidysong's “Report Problem” feature. But, as other users have also reported, I received no response or acknowledgment. You may want address this issue first.

    Regarding installation, I would suggest a standalone single-step installer and unintaller.

    Finally, the issue of losing communication with iTunes really needs to be address ASAP. This is a known problem that seems to have made it's way from your previous Fixtunes product. Perhaps a problem with reusing older code? I've not had communication problems with other iTunes add-on products (e.g. meta-ipod, dupe-eliminator, tuneup companion) so you may want to research their communication methods.


  22. Kelly
    October 7, 2009 at 7:51 am

    @ Al
    I'm sorry that you're frustrated, but this would be more helpful in an email to us at TidySongs so that we can get TidySongs fixing your songs as soon as possible.
    We don't want the installation process to be complicated so if you have suggestions, we always welcome user feedback. Right now, TidySongs requires adobe air and iTunes. Install the latest version of the 2 and you'll be set to begin the fixing process.

  23. Al
    October 6, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    I'm having a really frustrating experience with Tidysongs. I downloaded and installed it. First off, I wasn't crazy about the multi-step installation process (e.g. To Finish Installation, Double-click TidySongs Setup on your Desktop
    THEN, follow the directions to finish installation).

    Next I tried the automatic album artwork option using the defaults. After processing a few songs, it displayed "Oops, lost connection with iTunes...". Huh? My iTunes was just sitting idle in the background.

    So I closed Tidysongs annd relaunched it (from the Todysongs desktop shortcut). Even though it was already installed, it popped up:

    To Finish Installation...
    Double-click TidySongs Setup on your Desktop
    THEN... follow the directions to finish installation.

    So I double-clicked Tidysongs Setup and then got this error:

    TidySongs Setup Setup
    Error opening file for writing:
    C:\Program Files\TidySongs\AirHelper.exe
    Click Abort to stop the installation,
    Retry to try again, or
    Ignore to skip this file.
    Abort Retry Ignore
    So I went to uninstall it (from control panel, add/remove programs) and saw that there are 2 installations - the first called Tidysongs, the second called Tidysongs (remove only). Why is there 2 entries and which one do I uninstall first?

    Wholy frustrating Batman! I don't think this program is very polished.

  24. Kelly
    September 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    @Joseph there are 2 ways to separate the duplicates. Either select the option to remove them from iTunes in TidySongs, or to add the word duplicate to the songs that are duplicates and this way you can choose which songs are removed.

    • GenieMaster
      November 17, 2009 at 10:54 am

      Kelly; there are a load of comments about complications with the installation and general operation/behavior of your software...! Have you already addressed these situations? I'm pretty much SOLD about your product; however I'm hesitating due to the load of complaints.

  25. joseph
    September 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Guys
    I'm struggling to get my music sorted with TidySongs. It is recognising the duplicates but not removing them from itunes...aaarrrgh. I'm getting really frustrated!

  26. Randy
    August 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm


    I bought tidy tunes, and I haven't had much luck. It is telling me there are zero duplicates today. I'm looking at i-Tunes, some have as many as four duplicates. With each one, I looked via Windows explorer, and sure enough there are indeed four songs from the same album.

    Before, when it did flag duplicates it didn't remove them. I think this program needs more work. I'm ending up with just a big mess. When I wrote to you personally, I told you about the "it flagging duplicates but not removing them" you replied that a few other people had said the same thing.

    But I didn't feel like I had any idea when or if this would be fixed. I appreciate the 50% discount, but I am using 0% of it. May I have a refund? Thanks. Randal S.

  27. Daniel @ TidySongs
    August 16, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Aleaddin - Thanks for the comment! Both the issues you mentioned were fixed in the latest version we posted on Friday: Version 1.559.

    The problem was due to "missing songs" in your iTunes library (songs that iTunes can't find on your computer). This usually happens when you move song files around in folders on your computer rather than moving them inside iTunes.

    Anyway, try out the new version. If you are still having issues, feel free to email me at and I'd be happy to help you out. Thanks!

    • AL
      August 24, 2009 at 4:55 am

      Thank you Daniel @ TidySongs, that really fixed the stopping issue. I got my entire collection fixed. Lovely!

  28. Alaeddin
    August 15, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I purchased the product. It's amazing at what it does. Though it does it with some major bugs as of the moment:

    1. It stops at some songs and never finishes the fixing. I was never able to figure out why. I emailed the company using the "Report Problem" link in the app but never got a response. Till this moment I couldn't get it to finish my entire 40GB+ collection.

    2. The duplicate remover feature doesn't seem to work. It did identify duplicate songs and I told it to append the word "DUPLICATE" to the name but i couldn't find any song with that word. Weird.

    Anyways, I still believe in the potential of this product. I've tried many so called song fixing apps but all of them required manual labor. This is the only 1 that does all that automatically. Once the people behind it get around to fixing all major bugs and release an updated version with better UI, I think it's well worth the purchase.

  29. eSPy
    August 14, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    tried to insall this but after the step where i click the .exe file on my desktop i get an error message that says "critical error finding target executable" i get the same message when clicking the same file located in the Program files directory. meh...wont bother tryin to figure it out as all these comments arnt that great and i dont plan on spendin any moneys on it

  30. changturkey
    August 14, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Musicbrainz Picard is similar to this, and free. Not as intuitive, but it does the job.

  31. Nick
    August 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Man... I new this article was to good to be true.

  32. Daniel
    August 13, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Kelly it appears that no body on here really rates your product. I like tuneup myself anyone know of any other good programs.

  33. Kelly
    August 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    @max, if you could send me an email at kelly [at] tidysongs [dot] com that would be great so that we can look into your issue further. The weird part about your description is that TidySongs does search for original album information. First TidySongs will search for the song details, if a high confidence match is not found...then it will search for compilation/best of albums.

  34. Tony
    August 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I have been using a program like this for quite some time, TuneUp, and have been really satisfied with it. It works fast and efficiently. I haven't tried this program, but if you have a large quantity of music and need to get it organized, if you're looking for a program to make it easy I highly recommend tuneUp due to my experience with it.

    • Bec
      August 28, 2009 at 3:31 am

      How do you get a rip of the tuneit reg?

    • Steve
      January 30, 2010 at 11:33 am

      I can attest to the recommendation... to the extent that I have experienced (nothing but) limitations of the tidysongs product.

      I have a messed up iTunes library with over 13000 songs (a lot of duplicates and missing files and have purchased and applied Tidysongs. None of the functionality (Missing files, duplicates, artwork) works. It just can chew that much stuff and comes back with issues such as file access or simple terminates saying that iTunes does not respond.

      I hope to get my money back.

  35. max
    August 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I bought this product because my library got corrupted and i've been rebuilding it from a number of sources. with over 100gigs, its too much to load all those album art pictures manually

    I have to say, i'm really really disappointed with this product. It recognizes virtually none of my dance music. It only had one bob marley album in its files (no - i don't want the effing best of bob marley album art on every marley tune!!!!!! i want the correct albums, the correct artist, the correct art, the correct remix)

    I feel like a tool for wasting my money on this software. Until they have a proper database adn proper technology for working out which song is which, you'd do better buying scratchcards

  36. Henrique Ribeiro
    August 13, 2009 at 9:38 am

    So, anyone knows alternative programs to this one? I've been looking for this kind of thing for a while

  37. Kelly
    August 13, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I created a discount code for your users to make TidySongs 50% off for the first 25 users who purchase it. Enter the discount code: "MakeUse" to receive 50% off your purchase.

    @vvvlad, you have to purchase TidySongs to update all your music. The free version does allow you to organize you genres.

    @lawl and @stork, you can organize your genres with the trial. Enter the discount code "MakeUse" to receive 50% off your purchase.

  38. stork
    August 12, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    same problem... ran through 115 of 4000 songs and then asked for money.

  39. lawl
    August 12, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Ugh - downloaded, installed, got 88 songs deep and it asked for the credit card. Does anyone know of a legit free version of this (don't care about album art)?

  40. vvvlad
    August 12, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Run it once.
    Stopped after 88 songs and asked for money...
    So it appears that this soft is not "a one-time cleanup of your songs" but more like a demo for 88 songs. If I had a 88 songs library I wouldn't need to run this :)
    Please do not deceive your readers.

    • Discriminate Listener
      August 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm

      VVVlad, i figured as much, thanks for saving me the downloaD.

    • David Pierce
      August 12, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      Really? WEIRD. I went through 4500 songs, cleaned it fine. I never got the "give us money now!" thing, actually - maybe something weird happened there. I'm so sorry if that happens to others!

  41. Kelly
    August 12, 2009 at 11:00 am

    @bob, TidySongs helps fix your songs so that your music collection looks the way you would like. Some people are very particular about the way they want their songs to be displayed and have the appropriate song information and art for each song. These are the users that will benefit from TidySongs and are the reason we created the program to help you fix your songs.

    • bob
      August 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm

      Yeah i get that. I'm not trying to rag on your software, it works very well. But personally, i wouldn't have much use for it, i keep my music well organised.

  42. bob
    August 12, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Not sure what kind of market there is out there for software you might hope to run once every couple of weeks and months. Especially when there are free alternatives out there.

    • Bec
      September 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm

      what free alternates are available?

  43. Kelly
    August 12, 2009 at 9:27 am

    David, Thank you for the writing this review on TidySongs to let your readers know about us! I like your description "goes bananas all over your music library to finally help you organize your iTunes."

    Let me know if there is any way we can help you get your music fixed. Email me at kelly [at] tidysongs [dot] com with any questions or feedback.

    • Vincent Dixon
      February 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      Please give me a refund for Tidysongs. After numerous tries it has fixed 132 songs, skipped 760 and crashed before attempting the 40 000 left. It couldn't even find the artwork for Beatles albums...