Consolidating and Cleaning up iTunes library and files

After consolidating, merging and updating a bunch of separate iTunes libraries and directories I was annoyed at how messed up my iTunes library and directories had become. I tried moving and ‘consolidating’ my library as described here for PC here for Mac go here. This method should retain all your playlists and remove many duplicates. There is also an Apple script to help if you are on Mac.

If you are on a Mac you can probably get by with using the move/consolidate technique and some GREAT script/apps located here. Doug’s main site is here  and worth checking out. I can’t say enough about the value of these tools – well worth the low price!

But sadly for me and many others nearly all my music is on (and managed) via Windows machines and *nix storage. So that still left me with loads of duplicates and entries with no actual files (file not found in iTunes). I also had come across loads of other music folders and libraries on old machines – many which had music that I didn’t in my current library but of course loads of duplicates.

So I was off to create a ‘clean’ iTunes library – No duplicates and all files correctly tagged. There are some applications that may do what I need for PC (as I’ll mention at the end) but I wanted to try and do it via freeware tools. [Take note that the following will eliminate your playlist and counts! So if you really need to have your playlist or play counts preserved don’t go further and try one of the paid options!]

Now, on to my adventure….

I deleted the original library. The location of your library files can be found here.

I then installed the latest greatest version of iTunes. After install, I set my directory options [in advanced preferences] to a new clean location on my HDD. I also set the option to ‘import new music to iTunes directory’.

I copied all my various music directories (from all machines and drives – both networked and external] to a temporary location; I ended up with about 7 different folders with loads of iTunes music directories.

I would then used that location to ‘import’ back into iTunes by selecting the ‘File’>Add Folder to Library’ option.

After all the importing was done I could see LOADS of doubles and garbage. So I set off to first remove the actual EXACT file duplicates.

Remember that many songs have the same Title, Artist and description tags (musically speaking) but may actually be different versions – live, acoustic, re-mastered etc., or from different albums such as compilations or soundtracks. So in iTunes you may see many doubles (if you go to File>Show Duplicates) that are really not actual duplicates!

My goal was to first delete the actual files that were exact file duplicates.

To do this I used the freeware tool Duplicate Cleaner download here. This looks for files based on their MD5 hash signature – so the file it finds are EXACTLY the same.

Download and install it and then run it. Select the location of your iTunes music folder and Choose scan.


When the scan is complete you should all your duplicate files.

Then you can highlight the ones you want to mark for deletion. Click on first item then the space bar and use the arrow key to move up or down to highlight next selections and press the space bar to ‘check’ the next and keep going till you have all your doubles or others you want removed highlighted.


Choose your delete or ‘move’ options. You may want to just move the items if you are really concerned about deleting files you might really want or need to keep.



Then I used the tool called iTunes Library Updater from here.

Download and install it.

Then open iTunes and minimize it.

Then open the iTunes Library Updater and run it.

Locate your iTunes music directory, as I mentioned, I put mine to a different location for easy sharing/backup/cleanup.


Select the folder


Here I chose the above options. Then ‘Start’


Then wait till done


Click close, close the application and then close iTunes.

Then reopen and check iTunes.

I actually did the above a few times and it made a HUGE difference in my library!

Real duplicates seem to be gone and my music tags appear to be much more in order too!

As I’ve mentioned, there are many other articles and some tools that are supposed to do all of this.

There are two highly rated applications – TuneUp is one and the other is Rinse, which may even do this even better, but they are not free (both run $39.00 I think). And I haven’t used either of them yet.

Here is Tune Up and over Here is Rinse.

Here is one such article with another tool.

But, I still haven’t found anything that has done as well a job as my above method for FREE.

I hope this helps some. Next time I might spring for the paid apps but I did learn something and maybe you will too! Good luck!

Get 20GB of Amazon Storage on the cheap

Right now Amazon is offering a killer promotion to up the adoption rate of their Cloud Player. If you buy a single MP3 album from Amazon between now and the end of the year you automatically get upgraded to the 20GB storage plan.

The has written a great article about how to get 20GB of storage for only $.89 for a year. You should read that article in detail here.

Basically if you purchase ANY album you can get this deal! Read the article above for how they did it. There are a number of ‘Albums’ for only 89 cents.

I, of course, chose to buy an album by my nephew’s band “World in Dreams”. Once purchased I simply chose to save it to the Amazon Cloud Player and was instantly upgraded to 20GB of storage!

Check out the article at the HowToGeek above for some more details. Below are some captures of my experience. Dead simple and quick! Simply logged into my regular Amazon account searched for music, used ‘one-click purchase’ and the album was added to ‘Cloud Player and storage jumped to 20GB.


So looking at my storage now, it is 20GB!!


When I come across these fantastic services I enjoy passing them on. I hope some will find it useful.

Homemade Slide Guitar

I’ve always loved the sound of blues slide guitar. Though in two lifetimes I could never approach the skills or sounds of the greats, it’s cool to mess around with the ‘tones’. The sounds just have so much emotion to me.

The easiest and un-coolest way is to go into your guitar shop and buy one. [read me]
The coolest way, but hard to play is using a bottle.

I just came across this article about making your own glass guitar slide out of wine or brandy style bottles that would make Robert Johnson proud.

Slides are usually made of glass or metal. In the early days of Blues the players also used a bone (like Mississippi Fred McDowell, who gave some of his slide guitar secrets to Bonnie Raitt) or a knife. Glass and metal produce a different sound and it’s just a matter of your taste which you prefer. A general rule is that heavier slide create a better sustain.
Here are some good examples of slide blues. Three versions of Traveling Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson)

1st Robert Johnson’s original

Eric Clapton’s version

Led Zeppelin’s hard charging version