Working with iTunes, Tune Span, and Metadata

Troy Pelton shared this question 5 years ago

I purchased Tune Span to free up the space on my MacBook Pro hard drive that was much needed after loading a ton of music files to my iTunes library from a friends collection. After a close examination of these music files, I realized that the metadata for the majority of these music files were incomplete or wrong and needed to be cleaned up. I started the process of correcting this data but knew it was going to take a long time. I needed to free up my hard drive as it was slowing down the over all speed of my MBP and the unrelated work I do on it. I spanned all of my iTunes library to a 'My Passport Studio' external hard drive via Tune Span and the process worked extremely well. The problem now is that I still have a lot of work to do with the metadata on most of those files that I have spanned. I assume that now I must restore a portion of these files back to the original location (iTunes) so I can work on them (correct the metadata). My question is, when I bring back a workable chunk of files to work with - 1) Are those files no longer on my external drive? 2) Will doing this interfere in any way with how Tune Span was designed to work? 3) Is there a better way to do this? 4) Can I work with this data in the Tune Span App. and not in iTunes?

I hope my questions are clear and I can get some clear feedback to them. I love this app. and didn't realize how much of a big deal all of this was going to be until I was faced with the task. Thank you all in advance for any help you can give me on this matter.

Comments (1)


Thanks for getting in touch, I'm so glad TuneSpan has been useful for you!

You can manipulate tracks in iTunes as you would, even if they are spanned. The only catch is that metadata change to Artist/Album/Track Name that iTunes would normally make changes to the folder structure for will not be done for tracks that are not in the default media location. This is not because of TuneSpan, per se, it's just the behavior of iTunes. If you moved them to an external hard drive manually some way, iTunes would not change the folder structure or file names either.

So, you do not technically need to restore your tracks to edit the metadata in iTunes.

But, if you want the folder structure change, it would be good to restore them and then respan them after the changes are made.

1) When you span or restore tracks, those files are copied to the new location and removed from the current location (moved to the trash), and the location in iTunes updated is to the new location. If you do not want TuneSpan to trash the files, that's an option in the Advanced Preference and is also available in the Span Confirmation Sheet. If you do not trash files on the restore, when you respan them, TuneSpan will use the files that are already there and not copy them again, which would make the process faster, normally. BUT, with what you are talking about... changing the metadata after you restore them, the paths would not be the same upon respanning so you would end up with stray files on the external drive. I would recommend trashing files on the restore and normally recopying them on the respan for what you want to do.

2) Restore and respanning tracks is totally fine to do in TuneSpan. TuneSpan has a built in Restore Mode to quickly and easily get your files back to where they were before using TuneSpan. The toggle is on the bottom left of the TuneSpan window. And then you can respan them to where you had them spanned before. TuneSpan can handle any amount of spans and restores and respans and you can span tracks to other locations after you already spanned them. That's no issue.

3) If you want the folder structure updated, I cannot think of a better way to do this in TuneSpan. If you do not want the folder structure update, just edit the metadata normally in iTunes without restoring the tracks.

...3.5) If you mean is there a better way of fixing all your metadata, maybe, but I haven't done it personally. Apps like TuneUp claim to handle this stuff for you in a good way, but I can't vouch for it. TuneUp is available on the Mac App Store, but is fairly expensive at $40. There may be other options out there that I'm not aware of.

4) TuneSpan does not (and probably will not ever) support editing metadata or anything. Just the location of tracks. I want TuneSpan to do one thing and do that one thing as well as possible. I'll let iTunes handle the rest, I don't want to just recreate functionality that already exists.

Again, thanks for getting in touch. Your questions are quite clear and I hope I answered them fully. If you have any other questions or anything doesn't make sense, let me know.