Friday, April 25, 2008


I’ve recently had a problem with iTunes that has only served to widen the gulf between my fondness for Apple products and my loathing of the Apple corporation itself.

About a week ago and turned on my computer and activated iTunes, but it seemed to start up oddly. I suspected that something was wrong - a suspicion that proved well-founded when I checked the song count on the bottom of the screen. It had inexplicably dropped from 4,598 to 4,112.

iTunes had just deleted over 10% of my music collection.

Songs had vanished across the board. Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, for example, only boasted 8 tracks… 4 fewer than my original CD copy. Some albums, like Arcade Fire’s ‘Neon Bible’, had vanished completely. There was no sense to any of it – I’d lost random bits of old Goon Show episodes, single arias from long operas, and one or two tracks from most of the pop and rock albums in my collection.

I did some snooping in the hidden files deep within my iTunes music folder (something that Apple has done its best to make impossible with later versions of iTunes) and eventually discovered that the files themselves were still there. All that had happened was that iTunes no longer listed them. If I double-clicked on one of the files, it would pop up like magic in iTunes and play as normal.

The only problem was that I didn’t know which songs were missing. The only thing I could do was open the music folder for each artist, count the files, then open the iTunes listing for the same artist, count the entries, and see if the numbers matched. If they didn’t, and they didn’t most of the time, I had to read each song title and see if it was on both lists, and double-click on it if it wasn’t.

In four hours I fixed about a quarter of the missing tracks.

Of course I have no idea if, or when, this will happen again. And thanks to Apple being staffed by complete bastards, creating backups for my music is almost impossible short of burning the tracks onto blank CDs. I don’t know what the answer is. Forgoing digital music and living in a cave, probably.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, all you had to do was reimport your music collection.

Go to File -> Add Folder to Library and navigate to your iTunes Music directory and click OK. iTunes will go through it and reindex everything (anything that's already listed will be skipped).

Just tried it then (iTunes 7.6, a few thousand tracks). iTunes didn't even skip (I'm listening to music as I type this crucial missive).

I found a Nickelback track in there the first time I did this. I have no idea why.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Mac Zealot Troll Boy said...

Or you could finally resign yourself to your fate, come over to the brushed-aluminium-and-white-polycarbonate side of the Force and buy a Mac.

With VMWare Fusion you can run vital Windows applications (like that Rollercoaster Tycoon game) right alongside Mac applications. And with Time Machine, you not only decent backups, but as an added bonus for a limited time only(!) you can go back in time and to the 1960s and meet Ursula Andress. In the flesh. As it were. Fnar!

Bring back a couple of those towels, sell them on eBay, retire.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Wow, how unlike Apple to have a counterintuitive solution to a problem that shouldn't have existed in the first place.

And how unlike Apple to have fans who somehow manage to use the failure of one of their products as an opportunity to claim that I just need more of them.

Oh, and in perfect timing, I just had a window pop up in my browser telling me that New Software Is Available From Apple. Sadly I now need to buy a new monitor as my current one turns out not to be fist-proof.

Also, ow.

11:17 PM  

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