TuneUp review: Correct the data in your iTunes library
I bought TuneUp about a year ago. I love using the free Get Lyrical application to get the lyrics for the songs in my iTunes library — but there were many songs it couldn’t find lyrics for. TuneUp was great at correcting the spelling of many song titles, or correcting the artist name — often where I imported songs from compilation CDs I bought.
Here’s what it looks like: it ‘hooks’ onto the right side of iTunes every time you launch iTunes…
TuneUp is ‘buggy’. I use about 40 Mac applications on a regular basis, and TuneUp is probably the one I curse the most – because, until recently when I was using a 3-year-old top-of-the-range MacBook Pro, TuneUp would take at least 30 seconds to load and run – so I’d have to wait that long before I could use iTunes.
Here are just some of the problems I’ve had with it…
1. If I drag songs to its CleanUp window, it often doesn’t register the move. TuneUp acts as though I never dragged any tracks there. I have to wait and try again.
2. Sometimes TuneUp comes up with completely nonsensical track names if I happen to ask it to clean up a spoken word recording like an interview: TuneUp may tell me it’s a machine gun sound from an obscure sound effects CD. This shouldn’t happen as I’m sure the sound effect in question lasts for a few seconds, and the mp3 interview is often 25-70 minutes long.
Here’s an example…
As you can see above, TuneUp said that an 8:26 Spoken Word track called Bliss, which I created a few years ago for my Effort-Free Life System CD set, was actually a track called Demolition – Effect 1 from an album called Spectacular Sound Effects – Volume 2…
Yet this CD has 85 tracks on it. So it’s likely that Demolition is less than a minute long. Surely TuneUp could do a quick check and compare the lengths of Bliss with Demolition, and return a ‘no match found’ if the lengths are very different?
(TuneUp also says that The Nikky Nokky Noo Song by Ken Dodd, a silly pop song for children from decades ago, is a reading from a JK Rowling audio book of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire – which has 65 tracks on it, so this track is under a minute long, compared to the 2 mins 55 song by Ken Dodd.)
Another song TuneUp gets wrong is On And On by Akcent: it says it’s a song by Various called Akcent.
3. If I choose a common pop song, and get TuneUp to retrieve the data, it will often get the artist and song title right – but give me a weird album name that seems as if it’s from someone’s personal compilation CD as there’s no cover for that album, and the name is unusual, such as a German word I don’t understand. In other words, TuneUp does not give high weighting to ‘official’/high-selling/popular album names.
And worst of all, if I clean up a 10-song album, TuneUp occasionally attributes songs 1-8 and 10 to the ‘correct’ CD but, say, track 9 to an entirely different album. Why can’t TuneUp con sistently match all the songs to the same album?
4. On my last MacBook Pro, TuneUp would take up 60% of CPU while inactive: within a few seconds of loading iTunes the fans would switch on. So my first job, each time I loaded iTunes after a restart, was to switch to the TuneUp app (which is loaded automatically every time you launch iTunes), and quit out of it – which took several seconds.
5. Because TuneUp finds many tracks on compilations, it will show you the name of the track but not the artist. So what? Well, I use a free software program called Get Lyrical on my Mac which finds lyrics for most songs. However, for example, it doesn’t return the lyrics for a song such as Yankee Wheels by Jane Aire & The Belvederes. TuneUp will tell me that the song title is correct, but doesn’t show me the artist name. If it told me that the ‘correct’ artist name on GraceNotes was Jane Aire and The Belvederes then I could let TuneUp fix that, I could run it through Get Lyrical, and hopefully it would then find the lyrics.
I admit that some of the challenges TuneUp faces are caused by GraceNotes’ data being not ideal: there are spelling mistakes in the song data sometimes, and the Genre is sometimes wrong (such as “Data & Other” for a very popular hit song like Barbados by Typically Tropical). Sometimes the Genre text is overly long.
But overall, most of the problems in TuneUp are ‘self created’.
To be constructive…
I’d like TuneUp to tell me what the artist and title is for any single song I ask it to identify. If it can give me more data, that’s terrific. But song title alone (when the album is a compilation) is simply not enough.
As a sidenote, I mentioned my problems with TuneUp to my brother, Mike. He said he’d bought TuneUp, regretted it, and actually erased it as he was so unhappy with it!! One time I was at his house I looked through his iPad’s music library and found a recording of a lecture I gave a few years ago: but the title of the track was a sound effect like ‘birds chirping’ (as per my own issue mentioned above)!
It’s a shame that the publisher of TuneUp seems to be spending so much time advertising this software on so many sites around the web at the moment, and not putting the energy into simply making it ‘just work’.
You can download TuneUp and try it out here.