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Music, Audio, and Podcasting Do you use your Mac to create music? This is the place for discussions on creating and editing music on the Mac!

all Itunes alternatives suck as much as Itunes


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Kristina85

 
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Hallo,
(a Mac Book User here)

I want a simple thing from my music player and but none of the the current software does this anymore:

I have a folder on my C: drive called "Music" (yes, that simple). And my music is organized there perfectly (for me, that is). Now I only need to find a player that would allow me to drag this folder structure + music files onto my ipod(+ipad) and play it from there. 10 years ago I had a cheap USB-type Sony music player that could do exactly this. No frills, no cool functions, just a simple copy and paste and I was done and happy with it. I am looking for the same for my ipad and ipod.
After several hours of looking on the web and trying stuff out, I still don't see any alternative. Is there really no software that would enable me to do such as simple thing?
Much obliged for your help,

Kristina


PS.
If you want a more detailed explanation:

Itunes forces me to import my music and have it organized by artist, album, date added etc. (you know the drill). The outcome is a horrible mess and I need to spend hours to re-lable and re-organize the imports. This is party because plenty of my music is not the typical stuff you get from the web. There's a lot of foreign music, music you can't get in the stores or get info for on the web and about 10% of my music is private production that not yet been published. Furthemore, for my own purposes I sometimes need to organize my music accroding to the people I received it from (hence a folder with the name: music from Peter etc.). Last but not least hundreds of songs after import appear in Itunes only as "audiotrack+number".
I understand the advantages of organizing music in Itunes but I DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT as I already have a structure that works for me (sorry, need to repeat this).
Ideally I'd use Itunes only for managing my apps + podcasts. For music, I want a different software. My ipad + ipod differ significantly in the content of what apps I have on them + their storage size. Hence I can't use auto-sync either.
I have tried, amongst others, the following:
loola
songbird
Free TransPod
MediaMonkey (the only one which does allow you to organize your music according to location on your hard-drive, but the interface is horribly clunky...can't really use it for my purposes).
+ a few others I don't recall their names.

None of these would do the trick for me.
Is there really no solution for such a simple demand?
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bobtomay

 
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For manually managing your iTunes library:

head into Preferences - Advanced tab

uncheck:
Keep iTunes media folder organized
Copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library

As to syncing - while your iPod is connected and selected within iTunes - on the summary tab put a check next to 'Manually manage music and videos'. This will enable you to drag and drop your music to your iPod.

I have had as many as 4 iDevices syncing to a single computer, each with their own set of music, video, apps, books, etc.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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cwa107

 
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I know you don't want to hear this, but what you're doing by requiring a strict set of your own personal organization criteria, is like trying to swim against a tsunami. Computers (in general) are moving away from the traditional mentality of the user organizing files in a methodical way as indexed search has becomes more practical and capable. The same goes for Windows - this is far from an Apple-specific mentality.

As your library grows more expansive, your efforts would be better focused on improving the metadata on your music files, so that your searches can be more accurate. In short, you are wasting your time and energy by trying to force your own hierarchy, rather than just letting iTunes handle organization. You bought a computer to handle menial tasks, why would you bother doing them yourself? Ask yourself if it really matters how the folders are structured, if you can instantly find what you want by hitting Command+Space and typing in a few simple search terms.

I know it's hard to break this habit - and believe me, I've been there as a computer user going back to the early days. But if you "let go" and let the machine do the grunt work, I think you'll find that life gets a lot easier. Just my $0.02....

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Kristina85

 
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@bobtomay..thanks for your kind reply. I've actually tried that before too...it's still not what I am looking for.
@Cwa107: we could debate this forever....for I certainly don't agree with you. I am not against progress, but I am against one which makes things more complicated (and Itunes does make things more complicated...no doubt about that). But your reply basically tells me...there is no way how to do this anymore..i.e. the software we have doesn't allow us to do something that is very very simple. I am not asking for much....and you as well as I know it.
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bobtomay

 
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It does exactly what you have described you want to do.
Allows you to keep your folder structure however you want on your hard drive and allows for drag and drop to your iDevice.
Beyond that????

I manage all of my content in that fashion due it being spread across multiple drives. However, I do agree with cwa's assessment for the vast majority of users and I have not set up manual managing of iTunes content for any of my friends/family/contacts whom I assist with their computer setups.

edit:
He and I both would have made the same argument you're making (and probably did) just a few years ago.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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cwa107

 
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Which is more simple? Spending time moving files and folders around, or just allowing the software to do what it's designed to do?

Believe me, I've been where you are. I've argued and pushed and fought against the tide. But at the end of the day, I realized that the paradigm shifted and I was a caveman trying to cope in the world of Star Trek. I don't mean to be argumentative, but I think this is one of those times where you need to take a step back and focus on the end goal and not so much the journey.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
edit:
He and I both would have made the same argument you're making (and probably did) just a few years ago.
Indeed I did. I had a very specific filing system that I used - my reasoning was that I didn't want to be a slave to iTunes - I wanted to manage it and "own" my music collection, not let Apple dictate to me how it should be done.

Then, I got a NAS - and my music collection lived there primarily - and on my client devices, I just let iTunes do its thing. Then, when I went back and looked at what it had done, I realized it was logically sorted and well-maintained - and that it was basically the same methodology as what I was doing on the NAS, but self-maintaining. I further realized, I could easily export it at a whim if I wanted to transition elsewhere (like to my Android device). Eventually, after spending countless hours obsessing over organization, I just "let go" - and I'm happier for it. Yes, my OCD screams that I'm doing it wrong and losing control, but the other half of my brain realizes that this machine is more than capable of managing itself - and as long as I'm not "locked-in" and can move my music between programs as I please - that I needn't worry about it.

Knowing you as I do, Tom - I'm sure we're pretty much in the same boat.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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Guitar John

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Indeed I did. I had a very specific filing system that I used - my reasoning was that I didn't want to be a slave to iTunes - I wanted to manage it and "own" my music collection, not let Apple dictate to me how it should be done.

Then, I got a NAS - and my music collection lived there primarily - and on my client devices, I just let iTunes do its thing. Then, when I went back and looked at what it had done, I realized it was logically sorted and well-maintained - and that it was basically the same methodology as what I was doing on the NAS, but self-maintaining. I further realized, I could easily export it at a whim if I wanted to transition elsewhere (like to my Android device). Eventually, after spending countless hours obsessing over organization, I just "let go" - and I'm happier for it. Yes, my OCD screams that I'm doing it wrong and losing control, but the other half of my brain realizes that this machine is more than capable of managing itself - and as long as I'm not "locked-in" and can move my music between programs as I please - that I needn't worry about it.
+1
Couldn't have said it better.

...and Kristina85, I hope that you are able to find what you're looking for.
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IvanLasston

 
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Me too. I had a data structure that I liked - even before Windows enforced the "My Documents" folder (This probably is giving away how old I really am). And even when that came along I fought against it. I kept my old structure. The same was true when I got my first 20GB hard drive iPod. I downloaded iTunes but I didn't let it manage anything for me - I kept my own structure - and I kept that for quite a long time. I finally stopped fighting around 2006 - when I had to move my library to a 4th computer (since I started with iTunes) - Letting iTunes organize and keep the data has simplified my life - and has made migration to new computers much easier. (There are two programs I got in a bundle - Tune Ranger, and Cover Scout which has helped me organize my library and keep the metadata up to date) As others have stated - you can fight the computers or you can be assimilated. I have accepted that computers are much better at organization and search is your friend.

That being said - I think the OP wants to keep his directory structure on the slave devices as well - not just on the computer - hence the statement drag and drop. In that way it would match and manage the same as the computer hard drive.

If you want to play it in the built in Music Player the answer is - you are out of luck. iTunes wants and will manage your music and that is that.

If you want to try to keep your own files organized and drag and drop (and use an App to play music) then you could try something like iFiles.
iFiles for iPhone
Which makes your iOS device look like a drive in finder. You open the App, connect to it via wifi - and it shows up as another file server. You can drag and drop whatever directory structure you want. If you hit play - it will play everything in the folder. Not a full featured player but it will keep the same structure as you drag and drop.

There are other remote disk type apps - but I had iFiles and it does as I described.
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Phasmid

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
Which is more simple? Spending time moving files and folders around, or just allowing the software to do what it's designed to do? Believe me, I've been where you are. I've argued and pushed and fought against the tide. But at the end of the day, I realized that the paradigm shifted and I was a caveman trying to cope in the world of Star Trek.
While I'm generally in agreement with you, CWA, I have a lot of sympathy with Kristina here. iTunes tries to do things well, I'm sure, but it fails. My biggest complaint is that when I import a CD, it most frequently splits it up into different "albums". Why? Because the gracenote database doesn't "know" that this is one "album". Yet, I just imported it in one fell swoop. For a long time, I just thought this was a bug and lived with it. Now, I realize that it's part of this whole "we know better than you do" attitude.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phasmid View Post
While I'm generally in agreement with you, CWA, I have a lot of sympathy with Kristina here. iTunes tries to do things well, I'm sure, but it fails. My biggest complaint is that when I import a CD, it most frequently splits it up into different "albums". Why? Because the gracenote database doesn't "know" that this is one "album". Yet, I just imported it in one fell swoop. For a long time, I just thought this was a bug and lived with it. Now, I realize that it's part of this whole "we know better than you do" attitude.
No it's because gracenote has incomplete data. Simply select the entire album and add missing Album or Album Artist details and your album will come together as one. iTunes has it's failings but it can't do more than work with the data it's given!

Kristina has been given the solution that fits the criteria (as she described) by Bobtomay. If that still falls short then she'll has to post back with what doesn't fit.

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Phasmid

 
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Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
No it's because gracenote has incomplete data. ... iTunes has it's failings but it can't do more than work with the data it's given!
Well, not really. Why should iTunes believe the gracenote database with incomplete data instead of believe its own eyes and ears that the CD was imported all together? Thanks for the tip, though (I actually have been doing that - but it seems like an unnecessary hassle).
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It's a hassle and seems counter-intuitive to you because or your particular use case. But what if you have a CD you'd assembled from various sources yourself. You wouldn't want those tracks grouping as one album just because they've been imported from a single CD.

At some point in the chain there has to be a level of trust/responsibility. In the case of iTunes it relies on metadata to organise and file. To this end is has to believe the gracenote database as it has no other frame of reference.

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Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
It's a hassle and seems counter-intuitive to you because or your particular use case. But what if you have a CD you'd assembled from various sources yourself. You wouldn't want those tracks grouping as one album just because they've been imported from a single CD.
Enjoying this debate - and as a software developer myself, I appreciate and respect your reference to my particular use case. And certainly I would be happy for there to be an option to manage the information either way [such as a check-box on the import dialog box], which there isn't. But, in practical usage, by the majority of users, wouldn't "import a [commercially available] CD" be vastly more frequent than "import a CD that I put together myself from disparate sources"?
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I agree you have the majority there. But, as I mentioned before, having a tool second guess the data it's given (in this case the data from Gracenote) is not the way forward.

However, I do agree it would be nice, and easy, if iTunes just popped up a box asking if the tracks were all part if the same album if the data was ambiguous. But at lease it's easily solved.

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
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