beaTunes News

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

beaTunes 1.2 released

beaTunes LogoAfter quite a few micro updates, we are happy to announce the availability of beaTunes 1.2. The new version is an overall improved version of what you already know and like: Plainly spoken, one of the best iTunes library management tools around.

The list of little things that we improved or fixed is quite long - we will therefore not list all of them here (if you're curious, most changes are listed in the Notes.txt file that comes with the release). But let's talk about the bigger changes...

Faster Analysis

We spent quite some time on making audio analysis faster on OS X and are quite pleased with the results. On a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo the analysis of just the BPM is about 1.6x faster than it used to be with beaTunes 1.1.7, when processing tasks sequentially. Now, many of you know that beaTunes can process more than one task in parallel on multicore machines. You just need to open the Preferences, go to Analysis and increase the number of tasks, then restart beaTunes.

What happens when you have beaTunes process two tasks in parallel on the same machine? That's right, it gets faster. More than twice as fast as processing two tasks in parallel with beaTunes 1.1.7. In other words, our performance improvements scale much better than what beaTunes used to offer. The more processors/cores, the faster it gets. In our limited experiment, beaTunes scaled almost linearly, i.e. the same number of tracks where analyzed twice as fast when doubling the number of tasks to be processed in parallel.

Automatic Track Identification

Do you have any tracks that are named 01-Track.mp3? From ripping offline or simply from before CDDB and freedb were all the rage? If so, beaTunes can now help you out. We integrated a feature called MusicDNS by MusicIP. It lets you compute an acoustic fingerprint that can be used to look up some basic data like artist, title and PUID (a PUID is basically a number that can in turn be used to look up metadata on websites like MusicBrainz). beaTunes uses this to automatically import metadata for those ill-named tracks. Furthermore, we use the data for a nifty autocorrection feature. Much like a spellchecker, beaTunes can now make you aware of different spellings or missing information in its Get Info dialog.

Let There Be Babel

The last major feature I'd like to mention here, is the improved support for lyrics and languages. You all know that iTunes has the ability to store lyrics for each track. Unfortunately, there is still no legal way to automatically fetch lyrics from some web service. We decided to offer two features:

  1. A Google Lyrics button
  2. A lyrics language analyzer

The button (located on the Lyrics pane in the Get Info dialog) does exactly what you would think it should do - it opens your browser and googles for the lyrics of the selected song. At this point you are of course free to copy the lyrics from some website and paste it into the lyrics fields. Once you have the lyrics, the lyrics language analyzer is capable of determining what language the lyrics are in (if it is a western European language). This can be useful for ordering songs or creating play/matchlists in just one language. Since not everybody has time to google the lyrics for each and every track, there is a fallback mechanism that simply looks at the titles of all tracks on an album.

And...

Well, that's the most important stuff... Of course there are also new background themes, new blogstyles, new and improved inspectors etc.

We hopy you enjoy the new version.

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