September 29 '15 - 9:12 am
NEW: View Cached Music

When Apple Music was announced back in June I didn’t think I’d care for it. But during the 3-month free trial, I found myself using it a few times a week. It’s good for a quick playlist in the “For You” section and I’m often delighted by some of the stuff suggested. And, despite never really taking to Spotify, I like being able to play those, “I Just Thought of Something!” albums and artists at the drop of a hat. I use it from the Music app on my phone and from iTunes on a couple of Macs in the house.

Now, I’m not giving up my exquisitely maintained iTunes audio file library by any means. But Apple Music is fun and convenient so I’m staying on as a subscriber.

But then I found out that the audio files of all those Apple Music tracks I’d been cavalierly listening to are were being downloaded and stored in my Mac’s Home folder. As a result, my hard disk had about 3 gigabytes of protected mystery files that I wasn’t sure were deserving of quarter. I mean, like…What songs are those?

So to figure that out I came up with View Cached Music:

View Cached Music

View Cached Music is an app (not a script) that will list track information about any extant cached audio files giving you a modestly-detailed history of the music you’ve been listening to in Apple Music on your Mac. It also provides a means to play audio previews (as in the screenshot above), open the Album and Artist pages of these tracks in Apple Music, copy-to-clipboard their artwork, and delete any cached audio files you may consider superfluous.

I’ve been using it to track down songs I’ve listened to which I hadn’t paid much attention to the first time around. (Apple Music’s Up Next has a Previously Played panel which can be useful, too.)

View Cached Music is free, requires OS X 10.9 or later and Apple Music activated. More information and download is on this page.

And if you don’t care about the trove of music history buried in the cache folder, there is always Flush Apple Music Cache Files.

September 26 '15 - 8:47 am
NEW: Flush Apple Music Cache Files

The first wave of Apple Music trials will be expiring soon and if you haven’t subscribed for real it means saying so long to any Apple Music added to your iTunes library.

But as Kirk pointed out a while back, there may be some residual files left over in the ~/Library/Caches/ folder, which is sort of like an “iTunes Media” folder for Apple Music. It stores the specially protected audio files that are downloaded when you play a track from Apple Music on your Mac, ostensibly so iTunes doesn’t have to re-download them if they are played again. They can’t be user-played and are only useful to Apple Music. (This cache folder doesn’t apply to Radio music. Or to Apple Music you’ve added to your library for offline use, which is stored in your official “ITunes Media” folder.)

I’m not sure if these files will disappear when the trial ends for you. iTunes doesn’t appear to remove them even now, so if you’ve used Apple Music a lot then this folder will be loaded with quite a number of full-sized audio files. I’m a sucker for some of those “For You” playlists and I’ve managed to get my own cache folder up to about 7GB.

Flush Apple Music Cache Files is a simple script that will show the number of files in the cache and the space they take up and, if you wish, delete them:

And if you’re subscribing to Apple Music and are tight on drive space, you can flush all you want anytime. Apple Music will re-download any music it requires again later.

Download the script from this page.

September 16 '15 - 1:38 pm
iTunes 12.3

Apple released iTunes 12.3 today. It adds support for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and two-factor authentication. It also fixes some issues with Up Next sorting, radio stations not appearing in Recently Added, and problem coordinating loved songs.

September 4 '15 - 9:09 am
Join Together v7.5.0

Join Together will create and export a single AAC or ALAC audio file from the audio data of tracks dragged from iTunes or files dragged from the Finder.

Join Together in action

Join Together features:

  • Create a single audio file from two or more files drag-and-dropped from iTunes or the Finder
  • Export final file as AAC or ALAC (Apple Lossless) and automatically add to iTunes as a Music or Audiobook track
  • Join Together handles all audio processing; QuickTime or other third-party apps aren’t required
  • Non-destructive—source files are left intact
  • Flexible export options
  • Easily supply tags, artwork and playback options for the final file
  • Arrange, Get Info and audition tracks in the Track List
  • Save names and timing of source tracks as table-of-contents to Lyrics tag of final file
  • Built-in and online help

This latest version provides a button to reset the AAC export settings to 128kbps stereo @ 44.100 mHz for convenience; provides UI compatibility fixes between older and newer OS X operating systems; additional compatibility support for iTunes 12.2 and later; maintenance fixes and performance enhancements.

Join Together is free to try in Demo Mode during which all of its features are available. However, in Demo Mode the volume-level of the exported file will be sharply reduced after a few minutes and through the duration of the file. A registration code which will unlock the volume restriction is $5.00. This is a free update for registered users.

September 1 '15 - 5:57 am
M3Unify v1.4.0

M3Unify is a flexible file exporter and M3U playlist creator that will allow you to off-load copies of your iTunes songs to a user-chosen location, separate folder, external drive, USB thumb drive, SD card and so on, the way you and your audio player want.

M3Unify in action

With M3Unify you can:

  • Copy files of tracks dragged from iTunes to a selected folder
  • Rename copied files using substitution patterns based on track tags
  • Create Album or Artist or Artist/Album sub-folders based on track tags
  • Export album artwork as “folder.jpg” files, one per Album sub-folder
  • Create an M3U playlist
  • Format M3U Extended track information using substitution patterns based on track tags
  • Optionally convert files to AAC files (or MP3 files via iTunes)

Plus, M3Unify features:

  • M3U preview
  • Track information and auditioning
  • Uncluttered, easy-to-use interface
  • On-board and online help

I use M3Unify to regularly update thumb drives that I use in my car, as I explain in this video at YouTube.

This latest version adds the ability to create discrete “Artist” sub-folders (in addition to the previous ability to create “Album” sub-folders); a preference toggle to export tracks of compilation albums into a “Compilation” folder, as iTunes does; adds a “View Options” panel; additional support for OS X 10.11 El Capitan; and minor tweaks and performance enhancements.

This is a free update for registered users. It’s free to try with a 15-track limitation and $5.00 to purchase. More information and video is on this page.

August 27 '15 - 2:12 pm
UPDATED: Assimilate View Options v4.0 (and Some Gripes)

Assimilate View Options takes advantage of the iTunes behavior whereby a newly created playlist has the same visible columns as the Music library playlist. Select a playlist in iTunes and launch the script. That playlist will be re-created with the same columns available in its Songs View as are available in the Music library playlist.

This latest version will only work with iTunes 12.2 or later on OS X 10.10 or later. Because Things Are Different Now. An older version from 2012 is still available that will probably still work with pre-Yosemite/pre-iTunes12.2 versions.

Working on this script exposed me to some funny quirks with the latest version of iTunes. First, programmatically speaking, there is no way to tell the difference between a Genius and Smart playlist. In fact, (programmatically speaking) they appear as identical types. They both have a smart property set to true. Their playlist properties in the XML file both have Smart Info and Smart Criteria; and if this data for a Genius playlist is exported and re-imported, it does not produce a Genius playlist of tracks but just an empty Genius playlist. Buh?

Next, there is likewise no way to tell that a playlist downloaded from Apple Music (which will appear under a “Apple Music Playlists” header in—what used to be known as—the Source List) is such a thing. And if you duplicate it, the copy will appear with your regular playlists. Don’t use Assimilate View Options with these playlists.

And while I’m sort of griping here, must new playlists default to Playlist View as the initial view? I really like Playlist Views as an option and I’m all for cutting down on Preference Pane Clutter, too, but a popup with my favored initial view couldn’t take up that much space, could it?

Oh, and Santa? ‘Scriptable playlist description?

August 26 '15 - 1:19 pm
“10 things that iTunes does right”

Kirk lists ten things iTunes does right at Macworld.

I’m very partial to #10.

August 17 '15 - 6:29 am
NEW: Apps Assist

I’m pleased to announce the debut of Apps Assist, a utility application (it’s not a script) that can display the installed, missing and orphaned iOS apps on your Mac.

If you’ve been an avid downloader of iOS apps over the years and back them up via iTunes to your Mac but never had a look in your Mobile Applications folder, well, I shudder to think how many files you’ve got in there that may be outdated, duplicated, or abandoned. To my own surprise, I had over twice as many unused versions of apps in there than I had installed apps.

Apps Assist will help you easily determine which apps are viable and which you might consider sending to the Trash. In the screenshot above, the black colored iOS app listings are installed, the gray ones are missing (these appear iconless and gray in iTunes), and the blue ones are orphaned in the Mobile Applications folder—they’re just outdated or otherwise not installed. Apps Assist provides tools to filter and sort the apps list, Trash selected files, view selected apps’ .ipa files in the Finder, export the apps list as a tab-delimited text file, and more. Probably most handy is being able to see the Filenames and Purchaser IDs for each app.

Apps Assist requires iTunes 12.2 or later running on OS X 10.8 or later. It’s free to try with limited functionality and frequent nags urging you to purchase a registration code for $1.99, which will restore full functionality.

August 13 '15 - 2:57 pm
Hooray! Sort Of

Apple fixed the drag from Playlist View problem!

But they didn’t fix the current track in For You predicament or the drag from Audiobooks setback. So maybe these are not problems at all but just the way it’s going to be.

August 13 '15 - 2:40 pm
iTunes 12.2.2 Released

Apple has released iTunes 12.2.2 which fixes some Apple Music issues, some issues with sorting and displaying playlists and includes the obligatory improvements to overall stability and performance.

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