tl;dr Is there an easier way / hack to get iTunes to display albums by album name? Currently it splits albums up by artist, then sorts the album names A-Z. Going through and manually changing the Album Artist will take way to long...

I recently upgraded to iTunes 11 and for the most part I like it. However one issue I have come across (and it would seem many others are in the same boat) is that iTunes is grouping albums by artists. For the most part this is fine, but when it comes to soundtracks and compilations things get hairy...

iTunes 11 Album grouped by Artist view

As you can see soundtracks for games or movies (eg the Shutter Island or Sin City soundtrack) is a compilation of different songs by various artists and iTunes is displaying albums in A-Z order but grouping them by Artist...

I've found that you need to set the 'album artist' to something like Soundtrack or Various Artists to get the grouping to work correctly. However this would take hours to do manually!!

Is there an easy fix for this behavious? Either by automating the Album Artist or by hacking iTunes to display albums grouped by album name?

iTunes 11.0.3

9 Answers 9


In general, you're already using the correct way to sort by album name. Click "Music" then, "Albums"

iTunes 11 Sort by Album

The problem you're seeing with compilations being shown multiple times for each artist has always been a problem even in older versions of iTunes. In order to fix this, you'll need to modify the Album Artist field in the track info.

To do this, press +i (Ctrl+i on Windows), then put “VA” into the Album Artist field (Note: using “Various Artists” or any matching string should also work). You can select multiple tracks with +Click (Ctrl+Click on Windows) to edit many tracks on the same compilation at a time.


  • ah, i only started using the album view in iTunes 11 because i liked the way it colours the background based on the album cover - really cool! But yeah, not really the answer im looking for, but perhaps the only answer it seems :( Thanks!
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 5:01
  • 1
    Gotta disagree with this. You can just check the "Part of a compilation" box.
    – Dillon
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 13:30

Have you checked the Compilation tag for these albums? Find all the tracks for an album, select them, and press Command-I. Click on the Options tab, then, next to Part of a Complication, select Yes. Click OK.


TrinitronX posted a very good answer (similar to Joop's). I'll TrinironX's answer one step further. Don't just put "VA" in the Album Artist field! In fact, if you follow Kirk's answer and set the Compilation flag, all of your compilations automatically get grouped together anyway (at least in previous iTunes revs). In TrinitronX's approach they get grouped together under "VA" (or just "Various", in the default iTunes approach).

I prefer to have my compilations comes at the very end of my Artist-based view, so I set to the Album Artist of a compilation called "Alive Records 2009 Sampler" to "Ω Alive Records 2009 Sampler". In the Artist view, it sits at the end of my list, after Warren Zevon, and before the "Badman Records" compilation.

For your Album view, this will also keep the whole Album together, instead of breaking it apart for each combination of "Artist + Album". It looks like individual tracks showing up as albums in your screenshot, but I bet if you had the exact same artist on 2 tracks on 1 of those albumns, they would get grouped together like those 2 tracks are an album.

Anyway, recommended solution:

  1. Turn on the Compilation flag as Kirk suggested
  2. Set the Album Artist field as several suggested, but
  3. Set the Album Artist field to something that captures the name of the compilation, and use a leading character like my Omega symbol if you'd like the albums to sort to the end when using the Artist view.

Hope that helps!


Here are my observations: For albums that are a bunch of songs by different people:

  • Ticking "Part of a compilation" for all tracks means the album will show up under the Compilations "artist" in Song view
  • If the Album Artist field is empty

    • in Album view it will sort after all other albums (if sorting by artist) and will have Various Artists listed as the album artist
    • in Artist view it will show up in the Compilations "artist" and tracks will also show up under their respective artist if that artist has a "real" album
  • If the Album Artist field is actually set to Various Artists

    • in Song view it will show up under a Various Artists artist
    • in Album view it will sort in the V's (if sorting by artist)
    • in Artist view it will show up under a Various Artists artist and tracks will not show up under their respective artist even if that artist has a "real" album

To group by Album Name, select View > View Options... from the menu bar:

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This will present a panel with a drop-down list of available sorting criteria. Select Title to sort all your albums by Album Name:

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  • thanks for the answer, but my view options are already set like that :( The problem is iTunes is splitting all my albums up by Artist, and THEN sorting the albums A-Z...
    – OrangeBox
    Commented May 15, 2013 at 2:54

I don't know about any hacks for this (you probably could use AppleScript, but I'm not sure). However, I do know of two ways to do this:

  • If you change your view to List, you can view all your songs, sorted by Album.

  • If you change the view to Artist, you can view all the albums created by that artist, but, if it's made by more than one artist, like some of my Deadmou5, it will show all the artists, and all the songs they are affiliated with.


Apparently, the recent iTunes 11.0.3 update fixes this bug.


Only Elegent way to get over it is to change the Album Artist. Quick way of doing this is to go into album view, quicksort by various means to get those in front. You mention that soundtracks and compilations are mostly to blame. Use those as your 1st searches.

Then Cmd click and of the albums or that are obviously by Various Artists, cmd-I will allow you to change bunches of them at the same time.

Even with a huge library this will be quicker than finding some script that screws uo all kinds of other things.

Itunes match seems to have done a descent job of cleaning my metadata as well


Hey guys I think the current iTunes is better than ever before and the issue above can be easily sorted out. Try the following when you have a compilation file that you need to view as one album.

  1. Open the file in windows highlight all tracks and then right click and select properties. You will now see a read only or hidden attribute - be sure to uncheck the "READ ONLY" option.
  2. now go to iTunes adding the tracks and opening the "recently added" view then highlight all tracks and change the info as you require.
  3. For best results and in order to keep your artist names and album name - change the album artist to "VA" adding any art work etc - and you are good to go...enjoy!

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