How to Organize Your Albums in iTunes

iTunes is the glue that holds your music library together. Keeping albums organized in iTunes on your Mac is critical. Otherwise, the problems on your Mac will spread to iPhone, iPod and iPad.

iTunes Hates Featured Artists

Any song with a “featured artist” is guaranteed to screw up the album in iTunes.

Today I purchased a new CD (yes, I still buy physical CDs… they sound better than MP3), and imported the album to iTunes. Here’s the result – a disorganized mess:

iTunes Organized

That’s supposed to be 1 album. Instead, iTunes messed it up and created 5 albums.

iTunes duplicated the album for each song with a featured artist. The first album, with the artwork, shows all the songs without a featured artist.

Now, if you sync this album (…sorry, sync these albums) to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod, you’ll see the exact same thing: 5 albums when there should only be 1. Frustrating, I know.

The good news is; You can fix this problem… Kinda…

Removing Duplicate Albums & Songs in iTunes

First, you have to find the songs that are part of the duplicate albums.

Click on a song (or hold the command key to select multiple songs)

Then go to the File Menu and select Get Info (or hold command and press i).

You should see this screen:

The Artist field is the problem. If the Artist field is different in your songs, it will screw up the entire album, create duplicates, etc.

To clean up the mess and get iTunes organized again, you have to delete all of the text after the artist name (highlighted in blue above). Typically, this is where the featured artist is listed.

Do this for all of the songs in your album.

All of the tracks in an album must have the identical Artist name. If the Artist names are different (like with a featured artist), then you’ll end up with duplicate albums.

Of course deleting the featured artist is a bummer because you won’t know who the featured artist is. But your albums in iTunes will be organized.

We’ve been able to download the best music from iTunes since it launched in January, 2001. You’d think iTunes would be smart enough to know how to handle this problem by now. But it’s not, so we all have to suffer.

Written by
founded this website way back in 2007. Since then, he's owned two Macs, four iPods, two iPads, Apple TV, AirPort Extreme and 3 iPhones, is a huge nerd.