July 19, 2010, 12:29 PM — Sometimes the solution to a problem is right in front of you. You just have to take the time to notice it--or at least find out about it. Such was the case for me with two separate iTunes-related matters.
The missing artist
I connected my iPhone to iTunes and went to the Artists listing in the iPhone's Music tab. Much to my surprise, the artist I intended to select did not appear in the list. I confirmed that the artist's songs were still in my iTunes Library on my Mac. So why wasn't the musician showing up on the iPhone's list? Searching the Web, I located the answer at an iTunes & iPod Hints & Tips Web page.
It turns out that, if the "Part of a compilation" option is enabled for an album, the music from that album does not affect the iPhone's Artists list. As a consequence, if the only music you have for a particular artist is from a compilation album, that artist will not appear in the Artists list at all.
This can make some sense--I suppose--for an album that consists of a collection of songs by different artists (compiled from other original albums)--especially if the artists in the compilation album are listed only as "Various Artists." My problem, however, was with a "greatest hits" album where the music was all by the same artist. It clearly made no sense for this artist to be omitted from my iPhone's Artists list.
Happily, the solution is simple and what you might expect:
- In iTunes, highlight all the songs for the compilation album, select Get Info (via Command-I or the command in the File menu)
- From the Options tab, change the "Part of a compilation" option to "No." Click OK.
After I did this, the missing artist showed up in the iPhone's Artist list.
Note: If you select Get Info for a single song, the Compilation option is located at the bottom of the Info tab rather than in the Options tab.
Book file clutter
In iTunes, there's a big difference between an audiobook (as you might purchase from audible.com) and a book on CD (as you might purchase from Borders). The former imports as one file (or as a very small number of files) that encompasses the entire book. With the latter, each disc typically contains several dozen small file segments (often with meaningless sequential names like 2a, 2b 2c). For a book that spans 10 CDs, you might have to import hundreds of small files to get the entire book in iTunes.
Having all of these files in your iTunes Library winds up being an annoying source of clutter. Most notably, it can make it difficult to keep track of where you currently are in your book listening. Were you last at 3c or 4f or 4j or what?
Fortunately, there's a wonderfully effective solution: