If you are anything like me, you will love PowerTunes. The reason for this is that I have an iTunes library with tens of thousands of songs that started about a decade ago from ripped CDs. This library has been moved from computer to computer. As a result of this it has built up a lot of crud: orphan files that were removed from the library but never removed, duplicate files thanks to compilations or CDDB errors upon re-rip. Or maybe you have multiple libraries with overlapping content for when you tried to manage everything manually and keep the mp3s separate from the higher quality music as I did? After years of neglect, trying to fix these problems is one of those, “I’ll do it before I backup, or when I am procrastinating from real work” situations. You might get through a few hundred tracks, but never really finish. If this sounds familiar, then read on, for the answer to your mess…
Enter PowerTunes to help make the most of your time and fix your neglected iTunes library. To put it simply, PowerTunes is a great complement to other iTunes library utilities (such as TuneSpan). While TuneSpan allows you to move files already in your library, PowerTunes allows you to do other things very well. Its features are vast compared to most other library management utilities:
PowerTunes allows you to move your entire iTunes Media folder to another drive without breaking all of the links in the library. (TuneSpan allows partial or complete moves which is much more powerful, but similarities between the two end with moving files.) This alone might be worth it if you have invested hours upon hours adding metadata that is only stored in the iTunes Library file: play counts and ratings, being the biggest concern for me. However, the main reason I tried PowerTunes, was its ability to do clean up my library. This is accomplished through the next 2 killer features:
“Find Orphans…” Find allows you to clean up your iTunes library by finding orphan files: files that are in your iTunes Media folder, but not in your library. With one click you can either add selected files to the iTunes Library or trash them for good.
“Fix Dead Tracks…” not only find tracks that iTunes can no longer find, but also searches your system for possible matches, and returns a list of tracks that might be the missing track. Again, selecting which track it the right one and relinking it is as simple as selecting it from the list and choosing whether to move the file into the media library and putting it where it should be or changing the link in iTunes’ Library. This level of logical flexibility with these two big features are what makes me think that the word “Power” in its name is synonymous with “Flexible.” As I always say, “Options are a good thing.”
However, sometimes you might just need to manage the entire library files. PowerTunes proves to be one of the most competent iTunes Library managers I have ever used. The library functions. You can find, add, duplicate, remove, merge or find other iTunes Libraries on your system. Again this wealth or choice is why I love this app. When I was using it during that marathon 36 hour session of re-ripping, retagging and cleaning session, I told a friend, “I wish I had this app years ago.” I also might have said that PowerTunes was the iTunes management app I had been wishing or waiting for. I kid you not.
Not only that, you can add album artwork to each audio file, which some apps charge about the price of this app just for that one feature. Of course, there are limitations to this that other album artwork apps do not have, but if at least one track in the album has the cover art, one click will save a lot of time if you had to add album art on without this feature.
What No Lyric Lookup?
However, one that I know many will miss is being able to lookup and embed lyrics. Unfortunately, entire industries are kept afloat by revenue generated by rights to publishing lyrics, and a click and download solution could devastate it. (If you notice most of the current lyrics download and insert tools are commercial, and if they aren’t, they are often inaccurate or not as comprehensive as commercial applications. The reason for this is that some of the money you pay for lyric lookup software sales is paid to the music publishing industry for the rights to allow this.)
My review probably is not as exhaustive, or in-depth as it could be, but PowerTunes did a ton of work over a weekend during a period where I only had a few days to clean and replicate a library. All in all I probably accomplished over 30 hours worth of work in about 6 hours. This time includes getting familiar with the app and combining and juggling over 400GB of music over Firewire 400 and finally making a working backup on another drive of the end results. What is great about this app is that it is free to try, and I definitely owe the developer the $20 registration fee. Not once during my ~6 hours of use did PowerTunes balk and get in my way about registration. The software is definitely worth the money. So, not nagging you or hobbling the software is a classy move, not many developers have the guts (or financial security) to do that.
If you care about the state of your iTunes Library, try PowerTunes, and you will probably agree it is well worth the shareware price.
If you liked this article check out BeaTunes. I discuss it on 10Centuries: BeaTunes: Tag Cleanup app.