I used iTunes to rip a CD of a homemade audio recording of a friend. iTunes thought it recognized the CD but was way off (it guessed a lecture series about ancient history).

However, when I looked at the actual CD's content via Finder, oddly enough, it was divided into arbitrary 5-minute tracks, and two of the tracks had names corresponding to what iTunes had guessed (about ancient history) and the others were generically named.

I have no idea if there were tracks or track titles before I imported it with iTunes. Having either of these doesn't make any sense as it's an hour-long speech without logical places for tracks let alone to name one of them "Byzantine Empire". (Also what's curious about this is that the actual speaker's first name is the same as the professor of ancient history that iTunes had guessed. I'm wondering if there was some metadata on the CD when I received it, which iTunes used to make this conclusion.)

So I have to ask: Is iTunes capable of changing the metadata on the actual CD to match what it thought it was? The CD is probably read-only (I don't have permission to change it to "Read & Write" in Get Info), but maybe iTunes has a work-around.

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    It's been a while since I had a Mac with an optical drive, so I can't check this, but I think that metadata gets written somewhere on the startup disk after it connects to the CDDB. That might be old news (like Mac OS 8.6 old) but I do know that it does not write anything on the CD. It probably interleaves whatever the disk has with what it gets from CDDB which is why you see some correct and some incorrect data. – dwightk Feb 19 '19 at 20:25

Audio CDs contain no metadata at all. They are also incapable of being written to.

The data, as @dwightk guessed, is stored locally after consulting the CDDB. If the 'album' in question has never correctly been reported to the CDDB, as is often the case for home recording or limited distributions, then it can make poor guesses.

It was certainly possible at one time to correctly report an album back to CDDB to give them the correct data, but I haven't done this in 10 years or more & no longer remember the procedure, sorry.
As far as I'm aware - again this is not something I can test right now, once iTunes has fetched the data from the CDDB, it then a)saves it to any converted MP3/AAC files it makes & b) saves the 'original data' with a fingerprint to recognise the same CD if inserted again, so it doesn't have to perform the lookup in future.
Deleting this will only make it find the same incorrect data a second time, so your 'fix' is to get the CDDB updated with correct information. I would guess the data is stored inside the iTunes Library.xml, which is not a structure you can readily edit. Perhaps deleting the "CD" whilst it is inserted would clear the data & make it consult the CDDB again, once their data has been corrected.

Late addition
I found this link which sets out how to send the data; it claims to work for iTunes but I cannot test it.
7 Steps To Add Your Songs To The CDDB Database

  1. Insert the CD (whether homemade, replicated or duplicated from a master image) in your computer CD drive
  2. Do not import the CD yet
  3. Select all the tracks, right click and select Get Info
  4. Click the Info tab and enter the album title, artist name, year and genre
  5. Right click in each song title fields (Track 1, Track 2, etc.) or double click to edit to the individual track names. Double-check for typos and make sure you have the track order correct.
  6. When you are all done, click, OK.
  7. If you want other users to also be able to see the correct album title, artist information, and track titles, highlight all the tracks again, go up to the top menu bar, and click Advanced / Submit Track Names to upload them to the CDDB Database. That’s it.
  8. If you want the database update to happen a bit faster than a few days, repeat this process from another computer/iTunes account. This speeds the Gracenote “verification” process up because you are essentially “verifying” the database entry from another computer.
  • Great, for more clarification for people like me: #5 requires you to exit 'Get Info' and right-click each track individually for 'Song Info'. And an empty field isn't an option. – Jeff Thompson Feb 22 '19 at 5:17
  • So is it iTunes or the CD that has it divided up into tracks? I can't figure out how to get it to be one big, continuous track in iTunes. – Jeff Thompson Feb 22 '19 at 5:18
  • You could only know that for certain if you clear down iTunes existing data & re-insert the CD without letting it do the lookup. [or use another computer or actual CD player.] iTunes has certainly put some interpretation onto it based on the CDDB data. – Tetsujin Feb 22 '19 at 7:27
  • I'd be almost certain that the actual CD has been created with 5-minute tracks, with zero gap between them so that they should play seamlessly. The way to check this would be to put it into a real old-fashioned audio CD player, if you can find one :-) If you want the audio as one continuous track I think your best bet is to import the CD into iTunes then combine the individual track files in an audio editor (it's probably best to import it in a lossless format then compress the combined file afterwards). – nekomatic May 17 '19 at 12:02

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