I have a lot of music, as most of us do, and I need to keep my music organized. I download and import music from lots of different places, so my music files end up tagged with all sorts of different genres, artist and song titles are garbled, and they get all kinds of comments stuck on them. It can be a burden to clean all that up.
Yate, an audio file tagging app, can edit metadata and get all your music organized the way you want it. We’ll try editing a few files, see if Yate stands up, and find out whether it can really clean up the mess of your iTunes library.
Tagging Music with Yate
Yate isn’t all that intuitive, and when I first launched the app, I wasn’t really sure where to start. It seems every time I open Yate, it prompts me to take a look at the help file, but even that didn’t really explain in a straightforward way how I should get going. It was really up to me to figure out my way around the application.
To start working with your music files, select Open from the File menu. If you’d like, you can adjust how you open your music files with File > Open Mode, for instance if you want to be sure files within subfolders are included. Be careful when you start opening a lot of files; I tried opening just about my entire music library, and Yate took what seemed like a year to process all of that.
After I started over with a single album, I saw that Yate had brought up pretty much the same info I’d find in the Get Info pane in iTunes. For the basic user, you can edit the title, artist, and genre, just like in iTunes. The Artwork Search button up top will help you replace missing album artwork, a lot handier than the complete lack of any similar feature in iTunes. There’s also a wizard that will import tagging info from MusicBrainz or Discogs, if you prefer to use those services.
If you want to edit more in depth information for your music, additional tabs not available in iTunes will let you do that. Add credits, such as lyricist or musicians, the music’s language and mood, copyright information and publisher, and associated URLs.
Once you’ve made all of your edits, hit the Save button. Again, if you’ve added a lot of files to Yate, it’s going to take some time to get all of that processed. However, when I edited only a single album, my wait was much more reasonable.
Pros and Cons
All of what I needed or wanted to edit, I could have easily taken care of in iTunes. However, for power users who want to hang on to the copyright information or want to save the artist’s website in the song’s information, along with a whole string of other data, Yate will let them do that.
The beauty of Yate is that when linked to iTunes, it will automatically update your file’s metadata inside of iTunes for you. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get Yate to link to iTunes. Every time I tried, I got an AppleScript error. This is kind of a big problem.
When you change the information for a song in Yate but Yate isn’t linked to iTunes, you have to manually open each song in iTunes and sign off on the changes. So if you change the info for a few songs by different artists, you have to hunt down those individual songs, open up their info individually, and click OK. When I changed information about an entire album, I was able to open all of those songs at once and OK them in one swoop.
According to Yate’s help file, there should be a Refresh iTunes action that will take care of all of this for you, provided you can get iTunes linked to Yate, but I couldn’t find that action anywhere. iTunes will eventually figure out on its own that the files have been updated, even without the Yate refresh or your manual OK. But that’s not how the app is supposed to work.
If you just need to organize your music and get an out of control iTunes library cleaned up, Yate doesn’t give you any more tools than iTunes. Everything you need is available in the Get Info pane; add a little elbow grease, and you’ll have a music library anyone can be proud of.
However, if you need to keep track of lots of extra information, beyond what’s available in the Get Info fields, that’s where Yate’s going to do you a lot of good. Its tagging functionality goes far and away beyond what’s available in iTunes, and provides real value if you need to keep track of copyrights, publishers, and additional URLs.
I just really wish the app worked better. I had a tough time getting started, and despite Yate’s prompts to check out the help file, that wasn’t much good to me when I couldn’t figure out how to get my files into the application. Beyond usability, the link between iTunes and Yate was just broken, and no matter how many times I tried or how many ways I tried to link the two, it just didn’t work. The lack of linking really cut down on the functionality.
Yate is billed as being the right app for anyone serious about organizing and tagging their music. If iTunes isn’t giving you all the tags you require, Yate is definitely one to try, and even without the link, iTunes is smart enough to figure out the changes eventually. If you just need to organize your cluttered music library, though, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
After writing the review, Dan from 2ManyRobots, the team behind Yate, got in touch with us to check about the problems Paula encountered with their app. They helped her get it working with her iTunes, then asked if we could share the following with our readers:
Hi, I’m the lead developer of Yate.
With assistance from the reviewer I think we may have some insight as to what the issues were.
One issue was a misunderstanding on the types of indicators that Yate displays when a file has been linked. One of the indicators was assumed to imply ‘not linked’, when in fact it meant ‘linked but play counts differ’. Yate is a large feature rich application and it’s difficult to absorb it all in a short period of time.
The second issue seems to be related to updating track locations in iTunes when a filename contains non Western characters (in this case Korean characters). This does not happen in all cases. We are looking into this problem and have already updated the code to provide a little more sanity testing which will hopefully solve the issue.
Thanks again to the reviewer for taking the time to assist us in figuring out what went wrong.
It was great to see how quick the Yate team is to try to fix bugs and get the app working, and that’s a very good sign for the future of the app!