2018-01-30 Taking a Byte of the Big Apple 🍎

First of all.. (and I’m gonna make this beginning side comment quick so I can get to something more pressing on my mind).. today I’m doing a happy dance because I turned in my very first MFA packet two whole days early. Woot woot!

How am I going to celebrate? I’d love to say with a cheeseburger and some dark chocolate but I’ve got 8 more days of this Whole 30 nonsense before I can indulge in that stuff again. Blarg!

Secondly.. This is a rather LONG rant about Apple and iTunes which probably has no value to anyone but me – read at your own risk…

I’ve spent a lot of time these past 2 or 3 days fixing my iTunes library that I completely had to rebuild from scratch. It was Apple’s fault of course and I’m going to stand behind that statement. Here’s why…

I’ve always synced my iPhone to my iTunes library on my laptop. ALWAYS. I have a ton of music. In my collection I’ve got CDs ripped from before iTunes even existed, music purchased from iTunes, and music that’s been acquired from the internet. It’s literally a crap ton. As such, not all of it fits on my iPhone. I’ve always used the option to sync with a specific set of artists, albums, and playlists checked. It’s worked like this for years. Until a few days ago.

I’ve been wanting a few newer CDs that came out in 2017 and last week I bought them. Quite honestly, I’ve always hated the model Apple has for acquiring music and organizing it in a library. You buy it from them, at basically an equivalent price as out in the wild, but you don’t really own it. What you own is the right to downloaded it from them for life. This locks you into iTunes and their devices.

Now I’m kind of a tech geek and I am well aware that there are methods and programs available to get around this funny business, but it shouldn’t be that tough. As a user, I just want a simple interface that lets me have that music, and manage it in my own way on my computer and phone. I’d be happy with a program that lets me rip the CD and then I’m the master of the organizational file system. But that poses so many complications with Apple.

I have stuck with Apple products because they do most everything else in a far superior fashion. It’s just one or two things that I really can’t stand and I’ve lived with it so far.

Anyway, I bought CDs because I like to own the music I’ve purchased and though I’m also a freak about backing things up, I see it as the ultimate backup/recovery option. On Saturday I started ripping my new tunes (and yes, using the iTunes utility to do so).

After that, the next step was to sync with my phone and get that music moved over. That’s when it all went wrong. It immediately popped up with a prompt question indicating that that my phone has never been synced with this iTunes library before and all the music on my phone will be replaced. What?

Normally this would not be a problem but I spent a little bit of time rebuilding my iTunes library in December to get rid of a lot of garbage taking up space. Yeah, that’s my other problem, low space on my Mac Air. But I know I have music and playlists on my phone I didn’t want to lose. When you’ve spent hours building playlists, you don’t want that to disappear.

I exported the playlists and stored them on my Mac. I also backed up my phone AND my iTunes to my external drive for good measure. The playlists are easy.. it’s the individual songs that are tough. I have all of them, but there are potentially hundreds and hunting for them would be a nightmare.

After spending time on forums and sites for potential alternate solutions.. I decided it was going to be tough no matter what approach I took. Either I was going to lose music from my phone or I was going to lose music from my library.

In hindsite, it would have been easier to use a program to copy the iPhone content to my laptop and just re-import it into iTunes but I didn’t think of that. Instead I decided to start from scratch. I’m talking from scratch-scratch and clean all of it up and suffer the consequences. I deleted my iTunes library (or what I thought was my iTunes library).

Once it was gone, I opened up iTunes again expecting to see an empty list. What I was presented with instead was a short list of albums and songs available for download. Most of it, I didn’t recognize. That’s when I realized I wasn’t operating on MY iTunes library, it was my daughters Apple account. Ugh!!!!!

The fact that this is NOT obvious from the interface is garbage! It should have prompted me somewhere in the process that it was “so and so’s account’ and did I really want to continue to sync with that. For holy hell!!

So I signed out of her account and signed into mine and low and behold, there are all MY purchases ready for re-download. Great. Too bad the damage had already been done.

Despite having access to two accounts, iTunes only stores one copy of the media on the back end. Or at least was the case here because I only have one iTunes folder in my music on my Mac. Doesn’t matter. I had deleted it and now had to re-import from backup copies. So painful.

The core set is easy, it just takes time. The devil is really in the details.

So I imported about 4000 songs based on artist and album and also imported those playlists that I had saved off. I would say about half the songs were not found in my library so Apple just truncated the playlist in ITunes and removes the unfound items from the playlist. Stupid! Now if I want to re import those songs and add them back to the list, I have to read the XML files created during export. Thanks Apple.

After this, I had to be satisfied for the moment and just synced my phone with the new iTunes which also takes time. It was missing a ton of stuff but that would have to be ok because believe it or not, I had other shit I had to do. (Cough cough.. MFA deadline!)

Yesterday I was back to the step of ripping the new music and now have those CDs in my library and on my phone and in a new playlist. Check. ✅ I was then  back to where I was last week minus probably hundreds of songs. Again, I have them all in my archives so I can hunt and import them again but – “ain’t nobody got time for that”.

Side rant.. ripping CDs into iTunes is also garbage. Now days, every artist has songs that “feature” other singers and they handle this so poorly. With the import you basically have two options..

1. Import the album as-is and it catalogues it with the album name but under an artist called ‘Various Artists’. So you have a ton of albums under this folder and it doesn’t recognize P!nk as P!nk to keep her album under her artist folder. Stupid.
2. -or- Import the album with the checkbox for various artists unchecked and it imports the CD into two different “albums”, one with most of the songs under the main artist and one with the other songs in a new folder for both artists. Also stupid.

I went with option 2 but this just deepens my case for wanting to manage my own folders and files.

Right now I’m listening to my favorite workout playlist which is sadly missing content, but fixing that is just going to have to wait.

Wow.. that’s a long rant!! I’m sure the only person that cares about all of this is me but writing through it, I feel better and have recognized several errors of my ways that could have been avoided. That’s really what matters. Right?!

Another Day, Another Dollar,
~Miss SugarCookie

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