I have 2,732 songs in my iTunes library -- and that number grows every day. What's more, some of the songs and albums are pretty obscure stuff. That's why I find TuneUp from TuneUp Media (http://www.tuneupmedia.com/index.php) a very useful product.
It's a plug-in for iTunes that analyzes your iTunes library to tell you how clean or dirty it is. And by that I'm not referring to those songs with explicit lyrics. No, "dirty" tunes in TuneUp parlance are "mislabeled" tunes. In other words, those vague Track 01, Track 02, etc. items you probably have in your song collection.
TuneUp's Clean feature lets you repair your mislabeled song info. You can do it by hand, but that's the long, laborious and hair-pulling inducing way to do it. With TuneUp, click the spray bottle icon. Select mislabeled tracks from iTunes and drag and drop them into TuneUp.
Check your matches. If you don't like the results, you can customize your Preferences. Then save the matches by clicking the floppy disk icon or "Save All." If you then notice you've made a mistake, not to worry. There's an Undo button. Once the process is completed, you'll have no unnamed artists or artists with two different, or slightly different names (such as Beyonce or Beyoncé). You'll also be blessed with consistent track numbers and other helpful info, such as the year a song and/or album was released.
How does it work? TuneUp identifies songs by taking clues from information you’ve embedded in your music, as well as sampling the song’s digital fingerprint. It looks for a match to those clues in a database of songs maintained by Sony's Gracenote. In addition to replacing missing metadata, TuneUp also displays information on each artist from Wikipedia, music videos from YouTube and concert information through retail ticket outfits like TicketMaster and StubHub.
TuneUp is thorough. I dragged an obscure Elton John track called "Snow Queen" onto the spray bottle icon, and TuneUp correctly matched it with a compilation album called "Flip It Over." I played another Elton John track, "Talking Old Soldiers," and TuneUp pulled up a bio of Elton John and some links to a couple of videos of him performing the song.
The Cover Art feature automatically fills in missing album artwork. Launch it by clicking on the album cover icon, and TuneUp will immediately scan your entire music collection for missing artwork. The software looks at the Artist and Album fields to find cover art for your music, so make sure your music has been Cleaned first.
Cover Art shows you the album art it's found. Hover over each result to view the image resolution. Select your preferred album cover and click Save. Select "Save All" to apply the first album cover result for all albums. Again, TuneUp was very adept at its job. There was no missing album art it didn't find.
TuneUp also has a Tuniverse feature that "lets you get the best-music related content on the web" and is contextualized around what you're listening to. All you have to do is play a song in iTunes or WMP and Tuniverse does the rest. I find I don't use this feature that much (but then I don't use iTunes' Ping social feature either).
But you may love Tunivers. With it you can: watch music videos from YouTube; read artist bios from Wikipedia; buy merchandise from eBay; get song and album recommendations from Amazon; and tweet out what's currently playing in your music library.
TuneUp's Concerts feature -- which you launch by clicking the ticket icon -- will scan through your entire music collection for artists coming to your area. When you're given results, click on the artist name to visit the page for that show on Jambase. You can click the Twitter logo to tweet out that concert and/or click the StubHub and/or Ticketmaster icons to buy tickets.
TuneUp's Share lets you send the latest stats about your music collection to your social network. Launch Share by clicking the megaphone icon and TuneUp will gather the latest stats about your music library. You can share any of your stats with your Facebook friends by clicking Share (you might need to log in and grant permission first). I find that I use this feature a bit more than Tuniverse, as I am on Facebook occasionally.
If, if it were just the Share and Tuniverse features, I could leave TuneUp. But its analyzing and cleaning aspects make it a valuable iTune plug-in for me. Unless you have a perfectly organized iTunes library, you may find it very useful as well.
One note: if you have a massive iTunes library, it may take TuneUp a while to do its job. The folks at TuneUp Media suggests cleaning 500 songs at a time; it takes about 2-3 seconds to "clean" a song. You can do more, but you might want to let TuneUp do its work overnight or while you go to a movie.
There are two versions. TuneUp Gold is US$29.95 and TuneUp Annual is $19.95.TuneUp Gold is an unlimited license good for the life of the machine with one transfer. TuneUp Annual is a yearly subscription; licensing is good for one year, and you'll need to renew it to extend past that. Also, TuneUp Media is running 20% off through the end of February with the promo code MACWORLD2011 .
Rating: 9 out of 10
-- Dennis Sellers