I am trying to clean up as much of the metadata as I can in my iTunes Library. One issue I came across is albums from a band, where the band releases multiple albums in a year. While this doesn't happen all that much, a good example is the Smashing Pumpkins, who released Machina in Feb. 2000, and then released Machina II later that year in Sept 2000. Live concerts are a great example as well, for example if you have recordings from different shows on a tour.

In iTunes, currently Machina II is before Machina (Probably because in ASCII 'I' may come before '/'. This wouldn't matter much, except all the other albums from this artist are in order. Every once in a while, I am in the mood to listen to a particular artists set of albums over the years, and you can see then this won't work out.

Is there a way to say either what Month the album was released, or another workaround (other than just saying the next year for example)?

Update: I looked through the AppleScript dictionary, and it doesn't look like you can access anything except the year through AppleScript either.

5 Answers 5


The tag format iTunes uses allows the storage of year-month-day for release dates. You'll note if you buy songs from the iTunes store they frequently have the release date including the month and day. I do not know if iTunes actually obeys this data when sorting a list, but you can add it anyway, so it's worth experimenting.

The Get Info window won't let you add a month or day - there is only a year tag - but external tag editors certainly do. I had a simple one that looked like the iTunes Get Info window but with more options, I can't remember what it's called... I think MusicBrainz Picard also lets you enter month and day.

If you've edited a track with an external editor, you can force iTunes to refresh the data using an Applescript (assuming you're on Mac OS). There are other tricks that are documented here on the MusicBrainz site. The Applescript in question is near the bottom, I use it all the time after editing tags with Picard.

EDIT: Let me know if it works, eh?

  • Yes, on a Mac, but unsure of what you mean 'force iTunes to refresh the data'.
    – jmlumpkin
    Dec 2, 2011 at 16:15
  • iTunes keeps a copy of all metadata in it's own data structure and needs to be forced to re-read it from the music files.
    – nohillside
    Dec 2, 2011 at 16:26
  • Yes, I know that, what I am asking is how, with AppleScript, does one do that? Or are you just saying automate deleting and readding the item to iTunes?
    – jmlumpkin
    Dec 2, 2011 at 19:58
  • On that MusicBrainz wiki page they give you a snippet of Applescript. You put it in a file and plop it in the iTunes scripts folder. Once in iTunes you select the files you want to refresh, then pick the script from the menu. It will force a refresh on those files. As far as I am aware this is not possible on iTunes for Windows, and instead you have to use one of the other tricks listed on that page.
    – evilspoons
    Dec 3, 2011 at 7:04

Hey I have this exact same problem, and I think I figured it out.

  1. Right click on the selected album as a whole.
  2. Go to the Sorting tab.
  3. Under Sorting Album, for the album you would like to be second, type a number or any letter that is alphabetically before (if you want the album to be in front of another) then click OK.

I did this with Syd Barrett's 2 solo albums that both came out in 1970. I didn't have to change anything on the first album he released, just on his second album, I typed the number 2 in the sorting album space and once I clicked OK it moved down below the 1st released album.

  • I will try this out and see what happens. If this works, I may change to this answer, since the currently accepted answer requires a detailed working around taking up too much time.
    – jmlumpkin
    Sep 26, 2012 at 12:27

If put a letter or number in front of the album title in the "sort album" field, when you sync to your ipod the album will show up alphabetically on the ipod under that letter or number when you search by Album on the ipod. Still need a fix for this.


For example. My iTunes is sorted to display albums by Artist then Year. Two albums by The Stranglers. Both 1977. Rattus Norvegicus released first then No More Heroes later in same year but they are displayed the other way around simply because 'N' for No More Heroes is alphabetically before 'R' for Rattus Norvegicus.

Right click on the selected album as a whole.

Go to the Sorting tab.

Leave the 'album' box unchanged as No More Heroes In the blank 'sort as' box underneath 'album' enter SNo More Heroes

The 'S' prefix on the newly inserted 'sort as' now makes the album show alphabetically after Rattus Norvegicus which begins with an 'R' and you haven't had to corrupt the actual album title itself.


A variation on the above answers: instead of a letter of the alphabet or number, input the release date (in reverse). So...

Two albums by Steeleye Span released in 1975, Commoners Crown (January 1975) and All Around My Hat (October 1975). Here are my steps:

  • Get Info for Commoners Crown
  • Under the Sorting tab, left album unchanged
  • In the sort as box under album entered '197501Commoners Crown'

Repeated this for All Around My Hat, entering '197510All Around My Hat'. Simple solution that satisfies my level of pedantry.

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