I am trying to do a spring clean on my iTunes library. I have around 500 songs that are tagged incorrrectly. The Name is in the format '11 Artist - Song Name'. Is there any quick way of extracting this and retagging the files without manually editing each of them?



5 Answers 5


You could possibly write an AppleScipt to go through selected tracks, and change the name that way, but you would have to make sure you only select the ones in that format.

Ive had to do this a few times before, and have tried various apps, but usually end up just digging in and doing it manually. While it takes time, I can give a lot more care to each thing, espc. artwork and genre at the same time. I usually just take a night and go through everything in groups (like artists starting with an A, then a B, etc).


Four suggestions of apps I've used in the past. Only one of them is free (and go figure that one isn't exactly iTunes-friendly, not easily anyways).

  • Pollux - Pollux was featured on net@nite (Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte), and subsequently died off for months due to illegally using various APIs from services like (IIRC) MusicIP, GraceNote, and other big name commercial music vendors. After negotiating agreements with companies that could provide plenty of helpful information, they re-launched the product with a 20 song tag trial, and unlimited tagging for $10. I believe this is the cheapest app that integrates as well as it does into iTunes.

    It's UI is geared heavily towards albums, wherein you select all the tracks in an album, then click the Pollux icon in the menu bar, and then click "Tag". It goes about it's business pulling information, cover art, and more (where possible), then does it's work. Updating your music with pretty information.

    Afterward, you won't re-live this terrible memory.

  • TuneUp - TuneUp is similar to Pollux, except it's a bit... obnoxious. It runs as a separate app that shrinks iTunes and places itself it the far right of it, like an even more annoying sidebar than Ping. Again, choose your song(s), tell it to "Clean Up", and off it goes searching the internet for all the same information you want to make your information clean as a whistle.

    You can buy TuneUp for $20 for a year (warning: automatically renewing), or $30 for life.

  • Song Genie - I'm actually quite a big fan of the Song Genie and Cover Scout duo, perhaps solely because it's UI/UX is ahead of it's curve. You open the app and you get to work. TuneUp is too small and has too few options for checking the details of the data, and Pollux is one-shot (though it allows you to rollback the last action, thankfully).

    Song Genie uses fingerprinting to identify the song and pull in data. It works very nicely with the iTunes Library, or even any arbitrary folder on your drive. It "rates" your data, and can fill in the gaps marvelously well (lyrics where you had none previously despite having plenty of other information). With a large, attractive, simple interface, it's actually pretty easy to whip through tagging in a quick manner (subject to the CPU speed of fingerprinting, and your internet connection for searching). Unfortunately, this dream team duo is expensive. $30 for Song Genie, and $40 for Cover Scout.

    I note also their site says "Your Special Price", so there may be some sort of active deal at the time of writing.

  • MusicBrainz Picard - Picard is in a class all it's own. It doesn't integrate alongside iTunes well, and it's UX flow is god awful. However, if you want absolute control in tagging, nearly the experience of manually writing tags, with just a bit of assistance to make sure you're doing it right, Picard cannot be beat. (And yes, this is a good thing.)

    Picard is not at all hands off, unlike the majority use cases of the rest of the apps, but this makes it awfully better for more niché releases, and bonus: If it can't find something, do the work and contribute back to the MusicBrainz community! We'd be glad to have you as long as you follow the rules and contribute responsibly.

    Picard is free, no ads, no account required unless you want to contribute, and I highly suggest you use the Intel-only -NX version, unless of course you don't have an Intel CPU Mac.

  • Ive used a few of these apps (did beta testing for TuneUp too), and like them. But sometimes (at least with TuneUp) it tried a little to hard and pulled down really weird album artwork, etc. I personally end up just using iPhone and the Shazam app, which would be a lot like MusicBrains.
    – jmlumpkin
    Commented Dec 30, 2010 at 13:16
  • And that's why Picard is an option in the list :). I may have downplayed it's function a lot, but I really love it, and use it for everything. At least, I use it before it goes into iTunes :). Commented Dec 30, 2010 at 18:07
  • itunescovers.com is a free online service to find missing CD Cover Art for a itunes Library.
    – powtac
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 13:31

As noted by others This can be done by an AppleScript.

Luckily for iTubes there is a collection of scripts to do things with iTunes Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes and for your particular case look at tag script or others


Try Jaikoz. It is a tool for identifying and tagging songs.

It doesn't use the name of the file or the tags for that. It "listens" for the song and generates an "id" for it (search for MusicId in Wikipedia), then searches for that id in MusicBrainz (a giant music database, with better tags than cddb or Gracenotes).

The GUI isn't terribly appealing, tough.

The benefit of Jaikoz is that it doesn't use the metadata already in the file, that could be wrong. MusicBrainz has very high standard for its tags and is strongly curated.


What I would suggest is select original tracks by album, one album at a time, and then find the option to 'Get Track names' or something to that effect and click it. That should work, and then move on to the next album. Then, if you have an iTunes account you can 'get album artwork' for even more organisation. Hope this helps in some way.

  • 1
    You will need an internet connection to access the Gracenote service, the database where iTunes gets track and album info.
    – Ali
    Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 14:36
  • 1
    I think this only works for tracks imported by iTunes from CD. These tracks were imported using another app 5 years or so ago. - Thanks though
    – Jack
    Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 14:39
  • Sadly yes, that would make sense, but give it a go anyway. Otherwise have a look at some of those 'library cleaner' apps you see advertised. Some may be free, others not. I'll have a look around and see if any are any good. Cheers.
    – Ali
    Commented Dec 28, 2010 at 14:50
  • What’s frustrating is that Gracenote can apparently do this, but I guess you’ve got to contract with them and pay them a lot of money first. gracenote.com/music/music-recognition
    – Calion
    Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 1:16

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