Backing up beaTunes data
Every now and then, users of beaTunes ask us, how they can back up their data. The answer to this is twofold. If you just want to protect your beaTunes data, assuming that the iTunes library stays intact, it is enough to back up the beaTunes data directory. On OS X it is located at
~/Library/Application Support/beaTunes, on Windows it's at
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\.beaTunes. Unfortunately this does not work, when your iTunes music library was corrupted. Here's why: beaTunes connects additional information to iTunes using iTunes generated persistent ids. Should you have to rebuild your iTunes music collection, these persistent ids will be re-generated, thus the connection with your beaTunes data is lost.
So how to back up beaTunes data then? Currently the best approach is to look up as many PUIDs for your songs as possible. This can be achieved with the MusicIP analysis.
You are presented with the analysis option above, everytime you analyze a song. Just check the options indicated above and beaTunes will look up music fingerprints (aka PUID) for the songs you want to analyze. Once you have the PUIDs for all your songs, export the beaTunes metadata. Just select your library and click on the
File -> Export menu item
Then save the metadata file somewhere safe. Should you need to import them, use the
File -> Import menu item. BTW, this is also a handy way to exchange metadata with friends.
My iTunes library has been corrupted before, and one of my solutions has been to put some of the data that iTunes keeps in the library file into the comments tag of the mp3 file itself. [Mostly, I make sure to get the ratings entered into the comments tag, so it's easier to recreate some of my smart playlists.]
I'm trying out beaTunes right now and am *thisclose* to buying a license. One of my remaining questions pertains to this aspect of beaTunes data. Which pieces of information does beaTunes put into the file tags themselves, and which pieces of information are stored in the beaTunes database only? Before I go adding lots of tags (del.icio.us style tags, specifically, not just id3), I'd like to know so I can make appropriate adjustments to how I work with my music.
Hi there - currently beaTunes stores colors, tags, keys, lyrics language and the 'exact' BPM (e.g. 92.23) in its own database. The integer part of the BPM is stored in iTunes (e.g. 92).
In general, beaTunes stores as much as the iTunes API allows in iTunes/id3 tags.
Thank you so much for the information! That is very useful to know.
Why don’t you store the lyrics’ language in the ID3v2.4’s Language(s) field (that is, if one’s files are that version & [therefore?] beaTunes would [presumably?] be able to write to that tag)? It’s supposed to store the language(s) in which the lyrics are sung...is there some reason why that wouldn’t be a good idea? I mean, I guess maybe it’s kind of convoluted to have to distinguish between ID3 versions when saving data...okay, I guess I kind of answered my own question.
(Still, it would be kind of nice to have that information written directly into the file—I religiously upgrade all my music files to v2.4, but that’s only because I have a huuuge number of audio files tagged in foreign alphabets & I neeeeeed the UTF-8 encoding that only 2.4 supports. ...& it’d be kinda nice to have the whole autodetect language from lyrics feature automatically fill out that field for the music that I’ve gone through the trouble of hunting down the lyrics of. Um. ...wow, this is the most useless comment. Gonna stop doing that now. Uh.)
(Link to ID3.org’s structure notes on id3v2.4.0; a little more than halfway down the page there’s a paragraph about the Language tag. Um. Yeeeah.)
HEY WAIT I ACTUALLY HAVE A RELEVANT QUESTION! I TOTALLY JUST REMEMBERED IT!
Okay! So, if one could use the Export|Import Library function to match up identical files after having rehabilitated one’s botched iTunes database, I presume that means that the MusicIP number is stored in that exported file. Right? OKAY SO THIS MIGHT BE A CRAZY IDEA BUT UH...how easy would it be to have an Export|Import metadata option that could generate an Excel (or tab delimited, but whatever) spreadsheet instead? Because! that would be spectacular, to be able to manipulate aaaaall of my library’s metadata within Numbers, & then just batch import all of the changes I make all at once so I don’t have to wait for-freaking-ever for Jaikoz or iTunes to save every little batch of textual modifications before I can get going on the next thing I have to do. IT WOULD SAVE ME THE MOST TIME IN THE WORLD EVER. ...man, as soon as beaTunes is finished writing all the changes I just did in the Inspector panel to the files|Library.xml, I’m going to try that export command & see how easy it’d be to translate into a spreadsheet. MAN I KNOW HOW TO DO TUESDAY NIGHTS RIGHT.
Okay. I’ll stop spamming your undeserving dev blog. But, uh...for real this time.
The original post was for beaTunes 1.x. Since then beaTunes 2 came out and you can now embed all the data that iTunes does not store in the id3 tags themselves - language being one of them.
To do so, you have to turn on "embed non-iTunes fields into audio files" in the beaTunes general prefs.
All newly analyzed/changed data will now also be written to the files.
Regarding import/export and manipulating the xml, yes - in theory you could do that. Not sure it's the easiest way to do it, though.
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