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Track names in iTunes 

Once I deliver a master disk to a client, I often receive a call or email asking a common question. With some regularity, I am asked how to get the track titles and artist details to be listed in the iTunes application. Contrary to popular belief, iTunes does not retrieve track names from the CD itself. Red Book CD’s do have the capability to contain sub code data such as CD TEXT for track names, artist etc. These are pre-defined fields within the specification that will accept alpha numeric data for the track names and artist, amongst other details. However, iTunes does not get this information from the disk itself. Instead, it accesses an online Internet database (Gracenote Media Database) from which it retrieves that information. Here follows a quick guide to inputting that data. The following information is relevant as of iTunes version

1) Insert your CD and open the iTunes application.

2) Navigate to the  “File” menu at the top of the window (Menu 1). Click on “New Playlist”. Once the new playlist appears type a new name for it.

3) Click the “Audio CD” tab on the left sidebar. Then select all the tracks you wish to include for editing on the CD in the main iTunes window.

4) Then drag and drop each song into the new playlist folder which you just named. Allow the tracks to import.

5) Click on the newly created play list in the left hand side bar. This will display playlist tracks into main iTunes window. You will see a list of tracks that have been added.

6) Select “Track 1” in the window.

7) Navigate to the “File” menu, and  select “Get Info” from the drop down. You will see the “Get info” window appear.  (or PC right click/ MAC Control click “Get info”)

8) Click the second tab “Info”.  

9) In this window you can fill out the fields presented on the “Info” page, including track name, artist album, album etc. Click “ok” to save the information. Repeat for all the tracks.

This should ensure your track names display correctly when your CD is inserted into a computer with iTunes installed. CD Text which is embedded onto the CD itself can display the track names only if a CD player has the capability of displaying CD Text. Many CD players do not have this capability. Most commonly you can find this facility on in-car stereo systems that have a CD player.

Barry Gardner operates SafeandSound online mastering

Reader Comments (5)

I'm unclear as to how this allows iTunes (or Gracenote) to provide the information to other iTunes users. Does iTunes upload that information to Gracenote or it servers? What if you provide incorrect information?

April 11 | Unregistered Commenterbaskinov

This sounds like a lot of extra work. Why make a playlist in the first place? Insert the CD, enter the information, go to the Advanced tab in the Menu and click Submit CD track names.

April 11 | Unregistered Commenteraroscoe

Does what you are suggesting only change the album and track info in the the iTunes on only that particular computer, meaning that if you put that same CD into another computer it still would not show the info? Or does what you are suggesting send the album info to Gracenote? Gracenote has a FAQ about how to submit CD info to them using iTunes at (about 1/4 of the way down the page).

April 11 | Unregistered CommenterRoy Rendahl

Hi all this is merely the way I have done this over time, it works well. There may be easier ways but I cannot confirm if they are reliable.

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterBarry Gardner

One little short cut to enhance what Barry has outlined above is to select all of the songs that are part of the same album (CD), go to the Info page for the whole group of tracks. Now you can enter in the common information, such as Artist, Album, Dates, etc. Now, when you go to enter the track name and numbering you have way less to enter for each track.

April 12 | Unregistered CommenterSeth Lefferts

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