Thursday, December 16, 2010

iTunes, Gracenote and Client's Audio CDs

I get audio CD's from clients all the time which they've burned music or VO's or sound effects on to. The thing is unless you've told iTunes to:

A: Not launch when an audio CD in inserted.
B: Not to query Gracenote for CD/Track names

You'll end up with some pretty weird stuff as the name of the Disc and Track names. I find this pretty annoying which is why I've turned off all that stuff on iTunes here at the editing command center. But, when you are away from the Mothership and have to deal with this stuff you should be aware of what's happening.

Today, I was at a client's place and they decided rather than give me the audio cd they had in hand, one they burned off and quite likely the only copy, they decided they wanted to give me the tracks on a flash drive. Great! I love LOVE flash drives instead of optical discs. However...

When they handed it to me and I checked it right there and then on their computer the tracks were there, they played but there were named completely totally and bizarrely incorrectly. What had happened was that they had popped in the burned Audio CD, iTunes fired up, query'd Gracenote and decided it was someone's mix-tape CD (mix-CD?) from what was likely China. Whomever had made the CD originally, in fact, whomever had made the audio tracks, never named them I'm guessing.

Not a big issue if there's just a track or two but this audio CD had 40+ tracks of sound effects. The Finder had copied over the tracks as named by iTunes. I explained to them what happened, no, it's not a virus, no you haven't been hacked and no, they're not watching you on your webcam nor have they stolen your Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter/Whateverthehellsocialnetworkingcrapyouuse password (I should be as lucky). And you're right, I haven't "friended" you.

I told her I can't rename the tracks accurately. There are 40 of them and I don't know one from the other...yet.

So to fix this issue in the future I did a few things:

1. I hit Command + Comma in iTunes to bring up the Prefs.
2. Under General I unticked "Automatically retrieve CD track names from internet".
3. I went to username/Library/Preferences and deleted (emptied trash, my word was it full...had she ever emptied it?) "CD Info.cdib" which is where iTunes stores it's metadata on CD's it's looked up.

As an aside you can edit this file with something like BBEdit if you feel like it to remove the offending CD. You'll see a pattern to how they're listed but I wasn't in the mood and it was so large and Command + F (find) wasn't finding the misnamed names I didn't bother.

4. Eject the Audio CD.
5. Re-insert the Audio CD and saw that it was shown as "Audio CD" with "Track 01" etc...
6. Told her to (and showed her how) name the tracks what they needed to be named and to call me later. Yes, I'll leave the flash drive.

But what about the original audio files you ask? Surely they were named correctly? I imagine they would be if she could find them. I suspect they were in the trash I emptied. Go me!

No comments: