I am a very fussy person when it comes to my iTunes library. I like to have it completely organized and I can’t stand it when there are gaps in the song information or when cover art is missing – it’s one of my pet peeves. A tidy iTunes library leads to a clearer mind and, in my opinion, a far better listening experience.
There are a number of ways to tidy up an iTunes library on a mac. The first (and the most long-winded way) is to sit down with a beer and trawl through all your songs, filling in any missing information by using good old Wikipedia! This is not a problem if you’ve only got a few songs, but if you’re like most of us, you’ve got a large music library and you’ll want something a little more sophisticated to help you organize it. Read on to see if SongGenie is the answer you’re looking for.
Doesn’t Already iTunes Do This?
iTunes will of course download cover art for you, but for this to happen you need to have the album and artist filled in correctly. If you do not, it will spit back an error. Inserting all of that data can be long a long and tedious process. What you need is a program that fills in all of your missing information. This is where SongGenie comes in! It may very well be one of the easiest (and sleekest) ways to tidy up your iTunes library once and for all.
Let’s have a look at it in a bit more detail.
SongGenie is a useful utility available for Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 and above (and yes, it’s compatible with Lion) which analyzes your iTunes library, downloads any missing song information and/or lyrics from the Net, and embeds this information into the ID3 meta tags.
When you open up SongGenie, you are greeted with a decidedly Time Machine-like interface, with all of your songs stacked behind one another. The program automatically syncs with your iTunes library and downloads all of the songs as well as the meta tags. Once everything is up and running, you’re ready to start using the program!
On SongGenie’s first run, the program will analyze your entire iTunes library and give each song a ranking out of 3 guitars. If the meta tags for a particular song are 100% correct and accurate, then SongGenie skips this song.
SongGenie uses a smart analysis system to determine the exact song. This can come in really handy if you’ve got a whole bunch of songs with no information at all, as it saves you from haphazardly guessing which song is playing! If a song is unknown, SongGenie uses an acoustic footprint to identify the song which, according to Equinux’s website, is accurate in over 80% of cases.
I tested this and got even better results than the developer claims. Out of 1,709 songs, SongGenie failed to correctly identify only 88 of them, meaning that it was 95% accurate. It even worked with my slightly eccentric music collection and identified some pretty obscure songs. Once SongGenie has correctly identified the song, you are presented with the complete information, which you then have to “accept”.
You can, of course, configure SongGenie to apply any changes automatically, meaning you don’t have to trawl through the list of checked songs. Unfortunately, SongGenie won’t download album art for you – you’ll need to purchase CoverScout for this which costs an extra €16 ($23) when purchased as part of a bundle with SongGenie.
SongGenie is a very useful program as it saves you the time it takes to rummage through the Internet and find all of your missing album information. However, this convenience does come at a price. At around $35, it is not a cheap program, and it is a program that I at least didn’t get daily use out of. I used it a couple of times to clean up my iTunes library and afterwards it lay forgotten on my MacBook for quite some time.
Still, if you’ve got a large, untidy music collection, it certainly does pay to pay (no pun intended) for SongGenie. A tidy music collection gives you a far better listening experience, and it has even helped me to discover new songs by artists I already had in my music collection!
I’d also like to mention the friendliness and helpfulness of the customer service team, namely David and Yvonne. When I first installed the program, I had a problem with my licensing information, basically rendering the program unusable (as you cannot analyze songs in the program’s demo mode).
After a few e-mails with customer support (who are based in the U.S.), they actually called me on my German mobile. No waiting in telephone queues, no irritating classical music and no robotic voice every 30 seconds, “All of our customer service agents are currently busy at the moment reading the paper and drinking coffee. Your call is extremely important to us and we will endeavor to answer it shortly. And yes, we know this call is costing you $1 a minute.”
SongGenie is a shining example of a niche Mac program and is only of use to people with untidy iTunes libraries. You are paying for the convenience of not having to search through the Internet for missing song information and I can foresee that this won’t appeal to many people.
But money-aside, the program works extremely well and, as we know with most Mac applications, the developers have paid attention to aesthetics. I love the Time Machine-like interface and the simplicity of analyzing songs. Other programs, such as beaTunes, don’t look half as good and are sometimes quite complicated to use.
In my opinion, €24 is a small price to pay for having a nice, tidy iTunes library.