Getting rid of iTunes

No question here, just a report. Feel free to comment, though. Maybe I’m doing it all wrong.

I decided to experiment with just dealing with Roon and getting iTunes out of the mix. As a classical lover iTunes must have been forged in Valhalla to vex humanity. Yes, I hate it. In trying to clean up the inexplicable dupes and weirdness in Roon, iTunes may actually be a part of the reason. For example, I suddenly had 4 copies of an opera. So I did all the clunky back and forth between iTunes and Roon to delete in iTunes. When I was down to just 2 copies left, one of them suddenly only contained the first 3 tracks! When I started the process all 4 copies had all the tracks. It occurred to me that it’s crazy to manage a database using two different dashboards that talk to each other. So I killed my iTunes library folders and re-installed Roon.

So far so good. A lot of the art is messed up, but the important thing is I haven’t come across any weird behavior yet. No strange dupes. No weird splits. Nothing like that yet. I like Roon’s playlist process far better than iTunes. I can play a genre, like jazz while I’m working and fill playlists like my West Coast jazz one or Euro jazz as I hear the music. So easy. And no cluttering up the Roon playlist list with static iTunes playlists.

My goal is to clean up 52,000 classical and jazz tracks… and NEVER have to go back and fix them.


Agreed. I only use iTunes to back up my other devices from time to time. Haven’t opened it for anything music related since shortly after Stuart with Roon.

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I’d love to do this too and at home I think I could. However as I often listen to music away from home (a few other do this too I believe) I still need iTunes to load up my phone and listen on the go or to listen to my music on my work PC in the office.

I have one location for all my files. iTunes can see this and if you uncheck “Copy files to iTunes library” it will not mess around with the files. Roon also sees this location. The point is there is no need for Roon and iTunes to interact at all. Obviously this means no shared playlists or anything of that sort, but that’s fine by me.

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Yes, I do a similar thing. I am simply wanting to give up iTunes altogether but still need it for use any from home.

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Syncing is a bit of a headache. I have a dedicated Mac Mini for music but use my laptop as my primary tether for my iPhone. It’s a pain to do frequent transfers so I decided to use a mini Samsung player for mobile listening which behaves like an easy dumb storage device. I’ll add go-to favorites to my iPhone whenever I have the time and enthusiasm to do double transfers. I thought I might misplace the Samsung at some point and that it would be one more thing to keep track of but it’s actually worked out pretty well.

I’m on the same page with you Miguel. I started by unchecking “Copy Files” but saw no difference in what Roon showed me, though I didn’t initially see if the cover art had changed. I wish I would have noticed that. I focused on a few problem files where the tracks had been unexplainedly split into multiple recordings by iTunes. But I decided to just start the indexing over from scratch and those split recordings were correctly handled by Roon when re-indexed.

If Roon’s indexing is accurate enough those benefits outweigh the cost of it’s clunky file editing process. So far, this has proven to be true since re-indexing.

The next challenge is to get classical to conform to a standardized display format a la the Schwann Catalog or Fanfare Magazine.

I also have (had) many problems with iTunes. And with Apple because they didn’t solve the problems… My library was a mess, more than once. Thousands of songs (classical/jazz/pop) went wrong, missing or whatever. Mostly due to Apple Music or iTunes Match.
Last year I spent several days to re-organize my library again while still having several albums with songs missing. I don’t use Music or Match anymore; when I occasionally buy a new album via iTunes I use a (stand-alone) Macbook to download that album and copy that into my network.
Furthermore the iTunes-structure has become too complicated (music player/shop/movies/books) and its lay-out/menu changes all the time.

So I’ve already given up on iTunes…

Yes, I hear you. For me iTunes has been an I.T. job. I wish Apple would simply allow you to edit metadata right in the finder… but that would mean using iTunes less with its clunky and tiresome “Get Info” window. The best music management system I ever used was a custom application for classical music radio made from Filemaker. Its downside was that it wasn’t a player just a database. This was in the late 80s and early 90s before the Internet, so there was no automation to load missing data–all by hand. The scheme was based on the Schwann Catalog. But, it was reflexive which made it very powerful. You could search by category, a hierarchy of categories, by keywords, by a combination of categories and keywords in whatever hierarchy you put them in. Comes in handy when managing huge numbers of tracks.

what’s the alternative, organising after rippng? Musicfiles straight from de ripper to HDD en Roons is doing the rest?

I use XLD (with OS X) for organizing (also FLAC > IAFF). Works good…

A long time ago (…) iTunes worked well. Version 5/6/7 did the job.
On my iPad or iPhone I use Audissey (with headphones) or the Synology music player.

iTunesChurch with it’s last members.

Nice podcast Doug!

Media Monkey from a partition or on Parallels. At least I’m going to try it. If I have to do I.T. to manage my music, I really need an interface or dashboard in the manner of an Oracle or NetApp, allowing you to deal with multiple instances of any kind of data directly on the spreadsheet. There are several things which Apple apparently will never change that waste a lot of time, like sending a newly edited entry to a different spot because of a spelling change. I tend to forget that and when it happens it really wastes a lot of time trying to reconcile the group of tracks I’m editing. Professional databases account for user behavior and don’t make a recently edited entry simply disappear. But this is just one of many issues with using iTunes to manage a database.

If you can get past the gaudy marketing, Waltr works very well. Waltr 2 will reportedly bring this tool up to (similar) iTunes syncing parity.

The notable downside is that Waltr does not sync play counts (because it doesn’t itneract with the iTunes database), but if you’re using Roon as a player, that shouldn’t matter too much—especially if you’re using scrobbling.