It’s the Little Things

Good morning, dear readers – I just wanted to share the latest and greatest findings in my internet travels with you all (and, my goodness, may I add that this is big news. Relatively speaking, of course). Growing up in the digital age with a somewhat comical, somewhat tragic, undiagnosed organizational disorder has certainly been interesting; for the borderline obsessive neat freaks hearing these words now, I empathize with and salute you (don’t you have something to clean?). It only gets more “interesting” as time progresses; technology improves, digital storage becomes cheaper with every passing day, and you are left with a veritable mountain of files (various forms of compressed and uncompressed music, movies, photos, papers, scores, television shows, e-books… the list goes on) on your computer that seems to have taken exponential growth to a whole new level.

How do you make sense of this gross mess? Slowly sift through it all by hand (mouse? Trackpad? New-wave USB hair curler/mouse hybrid devices?), re-label every filename, double and triple-check metadata until your eyes are red and the letters in your name have lost all meaning? Of course not. I’d rather eat five pints of Ben & Jerry’s. But a nice, clean iTunes looks so nice! And how dare we dishonor music, that greatest, most ancient of mysterious magics, with a cluttered and messy collection!? Technology was invented so we wouldn’t have to do this! What is the purpose of owning a digital library when upkeep and sorting can take upwards of ten times the hours required to clean a decent-sized vinyl collection?! Fear not, dear readers, for there are ways.

I used to suffer in my younger, more vulnerable days. I had no idea there were tools available; I was unaware, unaware that there were others out there like myself who had risen above the menial days of twentieth-century, soul-consuming sorting, unaware that audiophiles much smarter and more learned than I had discovered how to combat the beast without losing their life to the abyss. Enter Doug Adams’ “AppleScripts for iTunes.” I would love to explain its beauty in my own words, but I cannot capture it nearly as well as Doug’s (possibly a digital saint of some long-lost dead sea scrolls Somebody alert the Pope. Looks like my nest egg will never see that cross-country RV. There is a new canonization campaign in desperate need of funding):

“AppleScript is a simple Macintosh-only programming language that can control and automate actions on your Mac. AppleScript is already available on your computer as part of the Mac OS and many popular applications can be automated using AppleScript scripts. Scripts written for iTunes can manage files and track information, create playlists, interact with other applications, perform innovative tasks, and handle many kinds of chores which otherwise would be repetitive, laborious, and/or time-consuming.”

This handy little tool makes re-tagging files and ordering things within iTunes a breeze; to date, there are 446 and counting AppleScripts available on Adams’ website, and I have yet to find one that hasn’t made me squeal with delight, especially upon remembering the time wasted doing the work myself. While the apps may not be free (although they very much merit looking at, and are well worth the price), every single AppleScript is open-source and available for download. While I’ve found a good many other applications and programs designed to help sort through this messy business of tagging (my favorites available for OS X being “MusicBrainz Picard” and “Tagr;” check them out!), nothing I have discovered thus far has offered the option of working within iTunes via OS X friendly AppleScripts.

It is well worth your while to at least take a trip over to the site for a quick look (Doug’s “AppleScripts for iTunes” can be found at the following link: http://dougscripts.com/itunes/). While I usually avoid paying for software as much as possible, I plan on donating some money to Adams when I can afford it simply out of gratitude for future time saved and for making it easily available to those who may be temporarily without means… who knows, you may soon find yourself very much enamored with a clean, easily negotiable digital music library. Enjoy, and if you feel you must comment for fear of bursting with excitement (oh Scott! This is incredible! As always, you have changed my life in a matter of minutes), please do so in the comments below.

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