Your Questions: Is It Possible To Multi-Tag Music In Bulk With iTunes?

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grouping iTunes tagging
Last updated 1 December, 2017

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iTunes is an elegant way of organising your music collection - but there are problems with multi-tagging tunes.
iTunes is an elegant way of organising your music collection – but there are problems with multi-tagging tunes.

Reader Photojojo writes: “I have a question on using the ‘Grouping’ field to assign tags to tunes in order to sort them into smart playlists. I started to do some this morning and ran into a problem. I’ll use my example.

“I have playlist for all of my radio shows that I’ve done. The first one I picked was this past Saturday Soul show so I added “Purple Radio Saturday Soul” in the ‘Grouping’ field by selecting all and getting info. I kept doing this over a couple of different playlists, but quickly ran into a song that was on two different playlists, for two different shows. I couldn’t select all in that playlist because it would overwrite the info I had put into the grouping field previously for that song. Is there a way to work around this without selecting every song individually?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Using the “Grouping” column in iTunes to tag tunes for certain venues, residencies or DJ sets in order to then use Smart Playlists to sort them is a great way of managing big music collections for all your various types of gigs, as I outlined in the previous article How I Use iTunes To Plan My DJ Sets. However, the truth is that this isn’t actually tagging in the true sense of the word, because iTunes doesn’t have a formal tagging system. We’re just using a spare field to add our tags to (“Grouping” is apparently meant for some kind of classical music library system) as pseudo-tagging.

If you assign the tag or tags to a tunes when it arrives in your MP3 collection with the various sets you wish to play it in, then this isn’t a problem, but you’re right – there is no obvious way to bulk-add a new tag to the “Grouping” column without overriding the contents of that column in tunes where it already contains a tag or tags.

Quick Tag
Quick Tag can give you a full tagging facility within iTunes – if you\’re a Mac user, that is.

Using Quick Tag

Quick Tag is a free little utility that can turbo-charge your iTunes tagging, if you’re a Mac user. It will solve this issue and do much more besides. It runs alongside iTunes and gives you the ability to add, remove or crucially append your tagging in either the Grouping or the Comments column. It has loads of features and as we say is freeware, although the author is grateful for donations.

If you’re wanting to get seriously into iTunes tagging and you’re a Mac user, it could be a godsend for you. Check it out: Quick Tag.

Doing it manually

The other way to work around this is to make sure the “Grouping” column is visible, then to sort by it. Then instead of selecting all, select all that aren’t in another playlist (they’ll now be together so you can highlight them all) and assign the new tag, then go and do the rest separately. It’s definitely no more than a workaround, but it ought not take much longer this way, and once you’re up to date, you won’t be bulk adding any more tunes anyway. Plus you may find yourself able to do it in 2 or 3 bulk operations, rather thank truly having to do each tune individually.

Do you know an easier way of tagging music in iTunes? How do you do it? Let us know in the comments!

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