beaTunes News

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fixing Media Kind: It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a podcast!

iTunes had the ability to organize your media files into broad categories (music, movies, podcasts, audiobooks, ...) for a long time. This is especially significant for people who store audiobooks in iTunes and expect to listen to them on their iPhone using the iBooks app. That's only possible when the files are correctly categorized as "audiobook". Unfortunately, adjusting the media kind (that's what iTunes calls those categories) was only possible manually through the user interface. With version 12.4 Apple finally remedied this for macOS and the property was exposed via AppleScript. This means that software like beaTunes can manipulate it and move files into the correct category. A task made for a beaTunes inspection.

Now how would one know, whether a file is in the wrong category? The route I took for beaTunes 5 is to simply look at the genre label. If it says podcast in that label, chances are it's not a TV show. The same is true for audiobooks. The corresponding inspection is therefore aptly named "Genre does not match media kind". It lets you easily fix miscategorizations and thus makes it much easier to listen to your favorite audiobook while on the road. By the way, proper tracknumbers and identical album/artist values make it possible to group chapters into a book. Obviously, beaTunes can help here, too.

As mentioned above, programmatically manipulating the media kind on macOS happens via AppleScript. The Windows equivalent for this used to be the iTunes COM API. Unfortunately, Apple has abandoned it years ago. This is why beaTunes for Windows cannot offer the same functionality as beaTunes for macOS. On Windows, beaTunes offers proper media kind support only for folder-based libraries, where iTunes does not matter. It sure is disappointing, but it seems that Apple views iTunes for Windows as a legacy system, that's dragged along, because it cannot let it die for fear of public outcry. Which is ironic, given that so many people have a love/hate relationship with iTunes.

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