Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Get answers about using the current release of MediaMonkey for Windows.

Moderator: Gurus

NWDreamer

Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by NWDreamer »

Hello, I have a fairly large and growing collection of music (70,000 songs with another 40k+ still to be loaded) so MM was recommended to me since I'm very tired of how slow iTunes can be on a Windows machine. Since I've literally spent months importing and retagging to be consistent and to my liking, I'm a bit gun shy of just trying to switch. I've read a lot of the information and can see several features that I will love (the extra tags, the speed for larger collections, multiple collections and the ability to stream remotely). One thing I couldn't tell (hence the desire to try MM out) is whether MM has a column browser like iTunes. That aside, here's my main questions:

Can MM work alongside with iTunes (for me to check out before commiting)?

If so, should I keep separate copies of the files I'm using to test with? (In other words, don't point MM to my preexisting, iTunes formatted files.)

Should I decide to make the big leap, how hard is it to import all of my current iTunes data and information into MM?

FWIW - The primary things I care about with my music collection is the music itself (tagged the way I've done them), the ability to convert new files to the resolution I choose to keep, the ability to create smart playlists as well as normal playlists and a few of the usual playback features. I don't care about other types of media (e.g., movies, podcasts, etc.) or album art (which just takes up disk space). I DO love reports of all types so I've heard I'll be in geek heaven with MM - we'll see!

Thanks for anyone who answers.

Craig B (a.k.a., NWDreamer)
Lowlander
Posts: 49362
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by Lowlander »

1) View > Column Browser

2) You can run both alongside each other. Do note that both are database programs so changes made in one program require updating the database in the other. Folder Monitoring in MediaMonkey can automate this on MediaMonkey's side: http://www.mediamonkey.com/wiki/index.p ... he_Library

3) For testing you could do a Portable Install of MediaMonkey and work a small subset of your music copied to a new location. This would allow you to play around, get to know MediaMonkey, screw up and still have your music intact. Otherwise I'd work on the same files.

4) File > Add/Rescan Files will scan in all the files and even import from iTunes (ratings and playback history). Otherwise it will read the tags from the files. Note that Album Art from iTunes often is missing as iTunes uses a non-standard Album Art solution: http://www.mediamonkey.com/wiki/index.p ... he_Library

5) Reports can be build by creating addons or using one of the build in or existing addons like: http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... tom+report

Note: common screw-ups are running Auto-Tag from Web on more than a single Album (this window does show the new tags) and running Auto-Organize Files with an improper mask (this window does show the resulting filenames and warns for duplicate filenames). Stay away from Auto-Organize (the automatic Auto-Organize Files) until you're familiar and I suggest disabling Infer File Properties under Tools > Options > Library and use the manual Auto-Tag from Filename where needed.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
Guest

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by Guest »

Great, thanks for the reply!

Sounds like I can give it a whirl then - probably this weekend after doing my image backups. :)
AllenSalyer
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:52 am

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by AllenSalyer »

MM blows ITunes out of water.
NWDreamer

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by NWDreamer »

Ok, I've made the jump and bought the Gold version today. After some playing around (and a lot of reading the help and forums) I think I'm going to reinstall as Portable, but I have a few questions.

1) It's my interpretation that using portable install means I can have EVERYTHING on one harddrive making backups and moving things around easier, true? (As opposed to iTunes or the normal MM installation where you have to remember to save the "hidden" areas including the registry, etc.)

2) Using the Column Browser, is there any way to make the column widths whatever you want? It seems to want to equally distribute each across the screen. Since I use a three-character Grouping, I'd like to shrink this column and give the Artist and Album columns more room (as an example).

3) This is a biggie for me. The way I used to work (in iTunes) for music already in a folder is to Add Files (one album at a time) which would copy the files to the main iTunes heirarchy on a different hard drive. Then I would ensure that all of the tags within iTunes were consistent with my way of doing things and, finally, I would then archive the original folder somewhere. Since I read here that MM doesn't copy files, it only moves them, it sounds like I should make a copy first. BTW - The reason I do things this way is that I may have an album as FLAC or 320 kbps, but I convert everything to 192 kbps to keep the sizes down (I rarely play tunes from my music manager, iTunes or now MediaMonkey - I simply put subsets of my collection onto one of three iPODs and I play everything from those which is why size matters! :wink: ). I would prefer that MM organize the file heirarchy, so is there any other (better) way to do this and keep my original folders? In other words, is making a copy that MM can move the best option?

4) Going on from #3 above, would the best approach to getting MM up and running be to just copy my iTunes heirarchy to the new drive with MM on it and have MM scan it? How would MM handle the Compilations? I REALLY don't want to fix much after the conversion if possible since I have upwards of 100,000 songs...

5) Just curious, but I've ALWAYS entered the total number of tracks on an album and the total number of discs that make up an album, however I don't see those fields in MM. Have I been doing this just because they DO exist in iTunes? Is this something most people don't care about? I know I could use two of the custom fields for this, but they wouldn't be auto-populated when I bring my iTunes files over and they wouldn't even be enterable on the same screen in MM. I don't want to, but I'm considering simply having to do without going forwards. Re-entering this information for 9,000 albums would take a LOT of time...

Thanks again for any answers! I think MM will work just fine for me once I get through this initial switch.

Craig
Lowlander
Posts: 49362
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by Lowlander »

1) Yes, including the registry. Most of these files are within the Portable subfolder of the MediaMonkey install folder when installing as Portable.

2) No, has been requested though.

3) Why not use Auto-Conversion when syncing to Portable devices instead of keeping a low-bitrate copy on your PC? Also, although MediaMonkey doesn't copy files when you do a Conversion it can leave the original in place (thus you have the original and the new low-bitrate version).

4) Yes, how well things are handled depends on how well files are tagged. If compilation Albums have the Album Artist set to Various Artists (or any value as long as all tracks on the Album have the same Album Artist value) there won't be an issue. Also see: http://www.mediamonkey.com/wiki/index.p ... erties/4.0

5) MediaMonkey doesn't support it, but it has been requested. I personally don't care about it.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
NWDreamer

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by NWDreamer »

[***ARGH!*** I had a long, complete reply finished, pressed "Post Reply" and got a "Cannot Connect" error because the main DNS server is down... A refresh brought the site back up but all my typing was gone...]

Trying again... (Much briefer this go around since I don't have the time and don't remember all that I wrote!)

First of all, thanks for the replies!

During the night I copied the entire iTunes heirarchy over to a new location on the same drive as MM, I'll give the importing a shot a bit later today. Looks like I'll have to clean up tens of thousands of comments that iTunes has dorked up though... A couple creative sorts should make it one big group change (I hope). Then I'll get to see how fast MM is with about 70,000 songs in it (I still have a LOT to import so I figured now was the best time to make the switch).


Next, a question or two:

To give myself more screen real estate, I moved the Art & Details window to the bottom left under the directory tree, but is there any way to get the Now Playing window over on that side as well? Right now I simply have the view turned off. I'm doing this to remove the far right column and give myself more space. The second question isn't a big deal, but I don't save or view artwork so is there a way to not show the default musical note in the Art & Detail window? I do like having the details there so I don't want to just turn the view off...


Thirdly, a couple of possible bugs:

1) The information in the column browser doesn't appear to change unless I hit <F5> to refresh things or click in the column itself. For example, if I have one song on a album with the genre "Smooth Jazz" while the rest are all tagged simply as "Jazz," then I'll see both genres in the column browser. However, after I've changed the one song to match the rest (so they all now say "Jazz"), the column browser still shows both until I refresh. Since I use the information up there a LOT, I can see this extra step getting a little tiresome.

2) I'm wondering if the directory organization abilities in MM might need a little refining. What I would expect is that any changes to the fields that make up the directory/filename mask should get reflected in a corresponding change to the directory path or filename. While I haven't fully tested that (but MANY of the tag changes I make to keep things consistent will do this), I have found that deleting songs from MM leaves empty directories that pollute the heirarchy. I should note that these are being left even though I have the "Remove Empty Directories" option checked. Along the same lines, I noticed some directories being left behind during the import process (again, with the "Remove Empty Directories" option checked). I can see this being VERY annoying if I have to remember to clean up in both of these cases and I really hope it doesn't happen when I change the fields in the directory path and file name masks!


I know I had something else but I don't remember what it was. Anyway, I'll try the mass import tonight and see how it goes!

Craig
NWDreamer

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by NWDreamer »

Ok, I remembered one small additional question and one minor potential bug. Can the field names like "Original Date" be renamed? Or is it possible to word wrap the column headers? Since I only use this field for a four-digit year, it (and other, similar, fields) take up more space than needed if I show the whole field name.

The one minor potential bug is in the same general area. Usually, in most programs, when you click between columns it will automatically size the column to just fit the data it shows. However, in MM, it just seems to do weird (and not too useful) things. Thought I'd mention it since it sure doesn't seem right!
Lowlander
Posts: 49362
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by Lowlander »

1) Enable the Titlebar (right click > View) to move the Now Playing window.

2) No, you can use the Details view or disable the Artwork column.

3) May be by design so user doesn't loose position or for performance. Added as: http://www.ventismedia.com/mantis/view.php?id=9601

4) Empty directories are only removed by both Auto-Organize tools. If they aren't they're normally not empty and may contain hidden files. Another thread on the forum mentions a tool to remove empty folders.

5) Only Custom fields can be renamed. Although I presume you technically can rename anything by editing the language file.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
Lowlander
Posts: 49362
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by Lowlander »

Column Browser resize is supposed to work: http://www.ventismedia.com/mantis/view.php?id=8047
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
NWDreamer

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by NWDreamer »

I like how being able to identify monkeys is supposed to confirm that you're a human! :lol:

Anyway, the import just finished. 70,000 songs in a shade over an hour. Only 42 folders out of about 7,500 were not removed so I guess that one isn't too big of a deal (and, no, I don't have any "hidden" files - I can see everything).

Thanks again for the responses. As for the Now Playing window, I can get it to be a moveable and floating window, I just can't get it to dock on the left side where I'd like it. As soon as I click on the "Dock the Window" option it flies back over to the right side... As for the artwork question, I've already removed the column but I'm referring to the separate Art & Details window with the two tabs for Now Playing and Selected. I've got it moved and docked in the bottom left corner and have changed what fields show, but I still have that default musical note (which shows when there's no artwork). For now I just increased the font size so it pushes the image below the bottom of the window.

One comment about the Art & Detail window though... I tried all the skins until I found a couple that I like far better than the default (both "light" styles), however all of the darker skins tend to leave the font as black in the Art & Detail window making it virtually impossible to read. Just a thought for the designers to try white if they can!

Thanks for creating the bug entry! For now I just have to remember to hit <F5> a lot... As you can see from my sentence near the top of this post, most of the files did get removed. I'm more concerned about files and paths in the main area not being maintained - I'll know more about that once I get in and start correcting things. Right now I've got MM modify over 43,000 comments corrupted by iTunes (which leaves me with about 27,000 still to check - most of which had a valid comment).

I'll have to check out the language file stuff later. Right now I need to get used to the program as it stands. I'm looking forward to the day I can uninstall iTunes though! :wink:
NWDreamer

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by NWDreamer »

Lowlander wrote:Column Browser resize is supposed to work: http://www.ventismedia.com/mantis/view.php?id=8047
I'll try it again once MM is done updating those 43,000 files/tags. Looks like it will be a while!
Lowlander
Posts: 49362
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by Lowlander »

1) You may need to try to get it to dock by moving around the area you want it to dock (dock to window does need to be enabled). I just tried it and was able to dock both the Art & Details window and the Now Playing window under the Media Tree.

2) The Art & Details window is primarly an Art window, thus the Artwork can't be disabled from it.

3) Art & Details text is a known issue.

4) Comments, not sure what the problem is, but RegExp Find & Fix may be an invaluable addon: http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... lit=regexp
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
NWDreamer

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by NWDreamer »

Well, progress I guess! I had to wait over SIX hours for MM to remove the crap iTunes comments from 41,212 songs (I still have to review all the others that have "real" comments since it added some things to some of those as well). It would process about 70-75 songs then hang for about a minute then do 70-75 more... Oh well, it's done.

Then I found that about 1,850 songs didn't have the Album Artist field filled in so they all went into an Unknown directory (just finished fixing that).

I just tried the Now Playing window again and this time it docked just fine - I tried it at least 7 or 8 times before... Oh well.

Still getting used to some of the differences, but a HUGE improvement (for me at least) is the ability to sort by more than one column - very happy with that.

Since the properties that I would use are spread out over multiple pages, I may have to change how I usually work, but I think things will be better overall. Looks like I won't be able to import my iTunes playlists (at least not easily). They have to be exported one by one and they result in a .txt file. Guess it's time for a whole new approach anyway.

Hopefully by late tomorrow I'll have everything cleaned up (I spent an hour cleaning up some new genres that weren't there in iTunes - no idea where they came from - existing comments are next), then I can get back to importing.
Lowlander
Posts: 49362
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: Considering a switch from iTunes to MM

Post by Lowlander »

1) You can edit in the Filelisting itself (F2 on field or slow double click).

2) Search online on how to export to M3U from iTunes, this is possible.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)
Post Reply