TuneUp 3.0.6 review - Bring order to your iTunes library

Your Music folder is probably one of the largest on your Mac. Certainly is on mine, with around 3500 songs taking up some 25 GB of disk space with a playing time of over 10 days. Built up over many years, a music library will likely have numerous errors including duplicates and missing information and artwork. Some of the problems could be sorted out manually using iTunes’ in-built features like Show Duplicate Items and various artwork-finding utilities but we all put off the task due to the time involved. Is TuneUp 3 the answer?

TuneUp 3 scans a library, displays the results, uses the brand-new Automagic feature to correct all or selected errors and then lists all fixes with an undo option. Sounds promising.

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Dashboard gives clear info on the status of your library

Reorganisation starts with a library scan and all results displayed in the Dashboard tab. Apparently each song’s waveform is inspected and compared with Gracenote’s database. The results build up a pie chart that shows how much work needs to be done on the library, sporting user-friendly labels such as ‘needs fixing’, ‘ready to fix’ and ‘looks ok’ along with explanations. Dashboard also includes a bar chart showing a detailed analysis of the library along with some stats on the songs it cannot fix.

Once the scan is completed, all recommendations are shown in the Results tab. An early entry in my library was for five tracks from a Bandits album from 1997 which I didn’t recognise. On checking, the album in my library is by Bandit from 1976! If all identification is done through songs’ waveforms this really should not be possible.

Get a full analysis of what changes are needed with the Results tab

The History tab keeps an account of all changes made and includes the ability to undo them and send the tracks back to the Results tab. Any songs that cannot be handled are shown in the Other Stuff listings. According to the Dashboard stat there should have only been some file format problems (TuneUp 3 cannot handle Apple .m4p protected AAC files) but there were also over 500 items in Errors and Unknown Music. Most of these are original and band recordings from my recording studio, which I wouldn’t expect TuneUp to handle, but they should at least show up in both tabs.

To deal with huge libraries (over 10,000 songs) or to sort out a small subset of a library, TuneUp allows you to drag-&-drop a number of tracks. I tried this with all Billy Joel songs in my library. Here there were mistakes with which albums the songs came from. While this is likely to be a general problem with greatest hits/compilation albums, surely TuneUp 3 could check the album names in the library? This is a serious problem for those who like to play all tracks from a particular album (the very nature of which leads to duplicate tracks).

TuneUp 3 should not be able to mis-identify bands – but it does, here confusing Bandit with Bandits

TuneUp 3 frequently gets albums wrong, even though they are correctly listed in the library

Playing a song in iTunes and selecting the final tab, Tuniverse, brings up a wealth of information on the album and artist along with an offer to try the Rhapsody (Napster in the UK) online music service.

OUR VERDICT

TuneUp 3 offers the kind of features that should clean up an iTunes music library with a single click. The reality is quite different though with bands’ names getting mistaken for similar sounding names and albums being frequently mis-identified. Tune-Up 3 just does not seem able to handle the real-world complexities of a music library and cannot be recommended.

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