iTunes Sucks at Handling Duplicates

You want to know something that sucks about iTunes? The way that it handles duplicates. All of my mp3s are on an external drobo on my network. When I tell iTunes to add this networked drive to my library it begins to go through the process of importing these tracks.

Because I have a lot of mp3s and it takes hours if not days to import them into iTunes, several attempts at importing my large library have resulted in incomplete import jobs. Each time I attempt to have iTunes reimport my mp3s from this external drive though it starts all over again and imports exact copies of songs it already has in the library.

Why can’t iTunes be smart enough to realize that if it’s already imported the exact same song from the exact same file location that there is no need to reimport it again a second time.

What this means is that the only way I can get a good copy of my mp3 library on iTunes is if the import process is done once only and done flawlessly. It also means that going forward I have to add each new album I add to my library manually one by one by name in order to avoid iTunes flooding my library with more duplicates.

How can a product from Apple simply be this stupid?

Of course iTunes does have a “show duplicates” function, but I’m not really very inclined to manually go through thousands of duplicates in my iTunes library and spend hours and hours trying to remedy this problem.

The only solution seems to be to try adding the drive over and over and over again until it completes it correctly in one fell swoop. That is really lame and it’s unfortunate iTunes can’t manage an mp3 library better than this.

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17 Comments

  1. Greg Smith says:

    I agree. As a work around, I suggest checking out Doug’s Applescripts for iTunes. There’s several scripts on there that handle duplicates. I can’t recommend a specific script, it’s been a while since I had to deal with it.

    http://dougscripts.com/itunes/index.php

  2. Brian Lewis says:

    You could change the library location to the networked drive, then add them. If you want to preserve the structure on the network share, uncheck the keep organized option.

  3. As a work around, I’d suggest Doug’s ‘Dupin’ app. Worked great for me.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Download the No Dupes app, even then, the fact that it is such a problem sucks.

  5. Use find/rsync/open from the OS X Terminal.app, as follows:
    find /Volumes/Drobo -name ‘*mp3’ -type f -print0 | xargs -0 -J% rsync % ~/Desktop/Music; find ~/Desktop/Music/ -type f -print | xargs -n1 open -a /Applications/iTunes.app

  6. Karoli says:

    I hate the duplication, too. I have nowhere near the library you do, but I do keep everything backed up on an external drive, which iTunes insists on including in their indexing process.

    Overall I think iTunes doesn’t do a great job of indexing or organizing music. It seems like it should be easy enough to do, but I guess not.

  7. C.J. says:

    i 5th (?) the dupin vote.
    the only piece of shareware i have purchased in the last 6 months. well worth the $15.

    developer is nice and responsive with questions, also.

  8. peate says:

    I have the same problem over and over and now I handle it the following way:
    I have one external itunes library and one mobile itunes library.
    The way this works out is obvious.
    But there is one more stupid thing about it, every time u want to add or import a file, you have to change the folder in the itunes prefs to the one u use for the library.

    maybe not the best solution, but it works out fine for me. And because of these stupid dupes I have get used to keep my mp3 files VERY organized.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We agree 150% !!
    iTunes is Apple-centered software, jurassic minded interface design. Not user friendly, not 21st Century.
    We are angry today because we will have to delete about 3000 duplicates manually!
    iTunes is free but is stupid!

  10. Anonymous says:

    As a person that works in QA testing software, I found iTunes to be the dumbest most unintuitive software package I’ve ever used in my life. I had to mess with it because my wife’s work gave her a new 16gb iPhone and I had to use iTunes to upload all her songs and pictures. I’m still trying to figure the thing out. Who designed this crap?

  11. Anonymous says:

    At least now I know why I kept getting duplicates in my library. What doesn’t make sense to me is that once the music is imported into my library, itunes still has to be able to find it in its original location, otherwise it can’t sync up. Because I’ve imported music from different computers on my home network, I can’t properly sync my library unless all computers are up and running with a good network connection.

    Now if I could just get itunes to stop taking 30 seconds or more for me to change the artist name on a single file – I imported a lot of mp3s that have the artist and song title in the file name, so this is a major inconvenience. Changing the title of the songs takes much less time, for some reason. In any event, it’s still a clunky interface.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This has been a serious complaint for YEARS with iTunes. For the life of me I can’t understand why Steve ‘ol Boy doesn’t revamp this and brag about it at his big shows. If there was ANY other decent alternative with my Ipods or Iphone, I’d be all over it.

    Lloyd Claycomb said in his latest blog that iTunes is supposed to be coming out with a better duplicate notification system and a smarter engine, but you never know with Apple since they don’t say anything until it’s out.

  13. Erami says:

    I am so frustrated with itunes. It is the most non-user friendly software I’ve ever run into. Too bad we are all so obsessed with the Ipod and iphone image. We all want to have one, even if we can’t figure out how to use it. I wonder what percentage of people who have one of these toys really know how to use them.

  14. tuned out says:

    And here i thought i was the only one who had issues with iTunes.
    I love my ipod but I am really getting tired of endless duplicates and missing files. It might not be so bad if I was starting from scratch but when you already have thousands of files on a shared computer it’s nearly impossible to kep your iTunes library organized.
    if i could sync my iPod with Media Player I would be a very happy man.

  15. Anne says:

    going crazy over here, hope apple will fix this issue one day