Importing Live Recordings into iTunes.

I have long downloaded live music from ETree and other sources of live recordings. I pretty much stick to soundboard quality recordings, though I’m perfectly happy listening to a good quality audience recording of an excellent performance.

I use Xact to decompress the shorten/FLAC recordings to WAV which are subsequently compressed using the Apple Lossless Encoder within iTunes.

The most painful part of the whole process was applying the metadata to the tracks. The album/artist information could be bulk applied, but individual tracks required copy/pasting the track name and remembering to update the track N of M count (or else the tracks would be alphabetized and restoring the order was terribly annoying).

Nothing a bit of AppleScript can’t fix. I wrote a little script that automates the process (there are two scripts in the zip — Enumerate Tracks does the trick).

The workflow is something like:

  • Import WAV files into iTunes and select all imported tracks
  • Apply universal metadata — band name, venue, year, # of discs, genre, etc…
  • Select tracks on first disc
  • Copy all the track names from the info file or the web site listing the tracks
  • Run Enumerate Tracks
  • Each show is an album, for all intents and purposes. I have chosen a consistent naming scheme such that I can easily type one string to search for all live recordings, all live recordings in a particular year, etc… Basically, each album is titled Live; YYYY-MM-DD; Venue; City; State (or some variation of city/state for international shows).

    If all goes well, Enumerate Tracks will apply the “track N of M tracks” metadata and the track names. Careful of those line endings!

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3 Responses to “Importing Live Recordings into iTunes.”

  1. Jeffrey J. Hoover says:

    Not to nit pick, but I figured I’d add a couple of clarifications in case anyone else out there is as dense as me.

    When you download the files, remember to get the text file of the set list; it will come in handy later.

    “Import…” doesn’t work on the WAV files, I had to use “Add to Library…” [Editor: drag and drop works, too]

    Your “Enumerate Tracks” script does more than simply add N of M. It also names the tracks. It expects the song list to be in the clipboard. This is where the set list comes in handy, just clean it up a bit so that you only have the songs names in the clipboard. (I had a bunch of inventory info in my clipboard when I ran it the first time and it named my songs after serial numbers. :-O )

    You can wait until all the naming is done before you convert the files from WAV to Apple Lossless. If you select all the tracks and then use the pop-up (it will convert to your default Import setting) then conversion will occur and will leave the old tracks selected for easy disposal.

    Thanks again!

  2. MacDude Musings says:

    Live Music? on the Net?

    Thanks to Bill Bumgarner and his post on how to do it, I have become aware of something I suspected for quite some time. There is live music available on the internet!

  3. Phil Abel says:

    Thanks for the tip-off. I downloaded a couple of shows as mp3’s and was delighted to find that iTunes found and added the meta data itself. Woo, talk about Just Works!

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