How To Rename Music Files from iTunes the Easy Way [Windows]

April Dee 03-12-2009

The GodfatherI recently had the unpleasant task of transferring my music from my iPod to my computer’s hard drive How To: Move Music from iPod to PC in 5 Easy Steps Read More .  If you’ve ever been faced with the same task, you know that for some reason, unbeknownst to the end-user, Apple seems to think it’s hilarious to rename all of your iTunes music files on the iPod’s hard drive to a lovely mess of nonsensical, completely unorganized file names that renders your music unrecognizable.  Thanks to The Godfather, though, I dread this task no more.


In less than five minutes, I had not only renamed all of my iTunes music files exactly as I wanted them, but also organized nicely into folders sorted by artist.  Want to know how to rename iTunes files yourself?  Read on!

Organize and Rename iTunes Files and Folders

Before starting, I’d like to note that The Godfather 0.71 is still in beta; however, you can download the stable version 7.0 from the same site instead, if you prefer.  When you open the program, you’ll see, at first glance, what appears to be a somewhat complicated interface.  Don’t worry!  It’s not as complex as it seems.

You want to begin by selecting the main folder in the left-hand explorer pane that all of your music is stored in.  It can be the entire C:\ drive, or a specific folder where all of your music is stored.  In my case, I had imported everything into an “iPod Music” folder within the My Music directory, so that’s what I selected.

After selecting the folder you want, click Scan (the magnifying glass button), and every music file within that folder and its subfolders will be populated in the results.  You will see an “If Renamed“ column.  The program defaults to an “Artist Name – Song Title“ format, and shows you how the file names would appear here.

Scan Music - The Godfather


If you wish to rename your files differently, you have a plethora of options.  Above the Scan button, under Format Options > Use Variables, you will see a “%A – %T” field.  These are your variables.  If you click the down arrow to the right of that field, you will see a menu including all of the variables available to you.  Input the variables you like (mine were %T – %A for Song Title – Artist Name), and click the “Apply“ button to see the “If Renamed“ results.

Variables - The Godfather

If you’re not sure what the different row colors mean, you can view them by going to File > Options and clicking the “Colors“ tab (or by referring to the screenshot below).  There, you can also change the default colors if you like.

Colors - The Godfather


When you’re ready to rename your iTunes files, click the “Rename“ button, and The Godfather will quickly take care of the rest!  It will also report any problems it might have encountered or files that it skipped.  You can see those results in the lower left corner of the screen, as well as in the far right column in your music list.

Success - The Godfather

The Godfather has many other features in addition to renaming and reorganizing your music files and folders, such as creating playlists, finding duplicates, encoding and decoding with LAME/Ogg Vorbis/MPCEnc, and editing ID3 tags.  You can refer to the program’s “Help” menu for an HTML help index that will explain more about the program’s additional features.

We have written a lot in the past on naming and organising your music library.   Here are some of those posts :


Organize Your Music Collection Effectively With Media JukeBox
Organize and Manage Your Music Collection with MediaMonkey Organize And Manage Your Music Collection With MediaMonkey Read More
Organize and Tag Your Music Library with MP3Tag Organize and Tag your Music Library with Mp3tag Read More
6 Ways to Sync Music to Your iPhone Without iTunes 5 Ways to Sync Music to Your iPhone Without iTunes Don't wrestle with iTunes to get music onto your iPhone, use one of these alternative methods and workarounds instead. Read More

Do you know of any other great music management programs?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Explore more about: iPod, iTunes.

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  1. Michael Johnson
    December 17, 2018 at 4:28 am

    it seems like this thread has died but it's things like this practice is why I refuse to use Apple products. Given Apple's proprietary (almost possessive) way of doing business and how people have complained about this subject for years, it seems more apparent Apple created this program design flaw as a measure of deterring people from transferring their music. By any measure, this story is helpful if I need to transfer something from their devices.

  2. Jan
    May 17, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Question, after renaming, will the Itunes library still recognize the files and tags of the songs (no lost of rating, etc.)?

  3. April Dee
    December 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

    @ M. Schweitzer - It looks like the reason your files are still in the iTunes folders and mine were reorganized is because I moved all of my music from the iTunes folders into My Music > iPod Music on my hard drive, and deleted the iTunes folders all together. I used Mark's article, How To Move Music from iPod to PC in 5 Easy Steps (the one I linked to in the beginning of my article). As per Mark's article, I completely deleted my iTunes library and transferred the newly organized files back to iTunes when I was done. iTunes will rename and refile them again when you do this, but at least you'll have everything organized again on your hard drive!

    @Ed - I'm not sure why Comodo is giving you that message. I can say, however, that I have been using this program for a couple of years now, and have never had any problems with it. I know quite a few other people that use it as well. It's never posed a security threat to me, so I consider it safe! Also, I've heard that Comodo gives messages like this sometimes that users can ignore, such as "VLC Media Player is about to access the keyboard." From what I've read, users ignore or allow those to go through, and all is well!

  4. Ed
    December 3, 2009 at 11:20 am

    After reading your review I downloaded and ran Godfather. Comodo Internet Security popped up the following warning message:

    "The Godfather.exe could not be recognised and is about to access the disk directly. Accessing the disk directly is NOT a common operation for everyday apps."

    Now this makes me nervous and the e-mail contact address for the developer doesn't work and the only other contact address is a snail mail address. Now I'm very nervous.

    Is this a safe app?


  5. M. Schweitzer
    December 3, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Nice, but the instructions are incomplete - namely, how Godfather creates and renames the folders by Artist. You seem to indicate that this is part of what happens in the post, but while the program renamed all my files correctly, it left them in the stupid, cryptically-named folders that iTunes set up. What critical part of this process did you leave out?

  6. April Dee
    December 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

    @rachel - Great suggestion! I like SharePod as well. We actually covered SharePod a while back, too: //

    @Chris - It certainly would be nice if the developer came out with an upgrade after all this time. Perhaps a more user-friendly interface?

  7. Chris
    December 3, 2009 at 9:49 am

    While it says "beta", it hasn't been developed for at least 2 years. I use it mainly for its allmusic scraping (with the patch), but that was broken with IE8.

  8. rachel
    December 3, 2009 at 9:12 am

    you can also use

  9. rachel
    December 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

    you can also use SharePod