TIL...how to have iTunes actually group Album tracks correctly!


DJ Extraordinaire
Jul 23, 2008
TIL....and I am sure that I am the LAST to know, but just in case...

iTunes sucks (we all sort of know that). One reason that iTunes sucks, is that the behavior is often "random" in the sense that decisions are being made behind the scenes that are never fully explained. For instance, viewing music by "Album" -- often all the tracks in an album are not grouped together, or the tracks from more than one album are "intermixed" (e.g. "Greatest Hits").

In my own collection, I have a LOT of "artificial" Album collections -- I tend to use the "Album" tag to record the Date Found. This is the "Year-Month" when *I* found the song & added it to my collection. You would be surprised how handy it is to associate the "Date Found" to a song when you are digging for music in your own collection -- this happened "naturally" when I was burning CDs with all the new songs I was finding. Anyway, this creates a LOT of compilation Albums that NEVER show up correctly in iTunes.

As it turns out, iTunes uses "Album Artist" as a secondary sort parameter when grouping "Albums." So, if you want all the tracks in a compilation album, or a sound track, or any other "various artist" situation (including a "playlist" that you tag as if it were an "Album") you need to be sure that the "Album Artist" matches for all the tracks in a given "Album" grouping.

There were two main issues in my own collection:

First, if you have multiple albums with the same name (e.g. "Greatest Hits") you can set the "Album Artist" tag to be "Artist - Album."

Second, if you have a compilation Album (e.g. soundtrack, pool "CD," WOW, NOW, etc), set the "Album Artist" to the name of the "Album." You can use "Various"...but that is likely to conflict over a LOT of Albums.

I used this blog post to help work through details of how to solve the split album issues:

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