A few iTunes and Front Row tips

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Apple iTunes has supported podcasts since v4.9 and I stopped using a separate podcatcher soon afterwards but earlier today I wanted to add a podcast subscription manually (i.e. not through the iTunes store). It turns out that’s easy enough – simply select Subscribe to Podcasts… from the Advanced menu but it took me a bit of research to find that particular option (I had been looking for an appropriate command on the File menu and eventually found this out from Apple’s essential tips for podcast lovers).

Whilst writing about iTunes, I might as well add a few more tips that I’ve discovered in recent days:

There are still a couple of iTunes items that I’m trying to work out:

  • How to get my old (pre-iTunes native podcast support) podcast files to be recognised as podcasts (rather than sitting in my music library) – there is a script to re-add tracks as podcasts but I figure there must be a simpler way.
  • How to mark a track as explicit – for example I have a copy of a recent Madonna concert and whilst I may share the views on American politics that she expresses during her performance of I Love New York (which is great song but has just about the worst lyrics I’ve heard from an artist of Madonna’s calibre in a long time), my 2-year-old son does repeat a lot of what he hears right now so I’d probably better avoid playing explicit tracks in the car. One way to do this would be to exclude explicit tracks from a playlist but the explicit/clean tags only seem to be possible on podcasts and purchased music.

If anyone knows the answer to these, please leave a comment on this post.

13 thoughts on “A few iTunes and Front Row tips

  1. Why do you assume that 3 stars is average? I work with the stars as 1=average, to 5=awesome. If I don’t like it, I don’t rate it, I bin it!

    AFAIK, only Apple can set the EXPLICIT rating on songs. Still, it must be stored somewhere… Certainly it doesn’t get picked up when you rip your CD and download track names.

  2. Alex – re: 3 stars=average – for two reasons: 1, because I keep the whole album, even if I don’t like some of the tracks; 2, because my tiny brain can only handle the idea of a scale where the middle is OK, top is great and bottom is awful. M

  3. Hi there!

    I’ve figured out how to mark tracks as explicit/clean. I’ll write a tutorial on my blog… as the solution isn’t as simple as it could be unfortunately.

    I’ll post another comment when I’m done.


  4. P.S.

    My star rating system:
    1 = Poor
    2 = Fair
    3 = Good
    4 = Excellent
    5 = Classic (a track that’s so original and brilliant it can never be replaced)

    Obviously anything lower than ‘poor’ is to be deleted.

  5. Nevermind… it turns out that what I thought worked – upon reboot, iTunes restores the previous library XML.

    I’ve contacted Apple for help and will post any follow-up info into this comment thread.


  6. Hi Richard,
    It sounds like your rating system is very similar to mine… and from time to time I need to distinguish between “excellent” and “bloody brilliant but not quite a classic” (i.e 4 and a half stars).

    Good luck with the explicit tagging… you’ve got my hopes up ;-)

    Cheers, Mark

    P.S. Nice website(s) you have… looks like I’ll be stopping by more often!

  7. My star system is:
    0 – unlistened
    1 – I’ll never listen to this. I might want to keep it for album completion
    2 – I’ve listened to this and haven’t made up my mind about it yet.
    3 – I like this
    4 – I love this
    5 – This will go into my next remix project

    I have smart playlists for 0 and 2+ stars, and use those as the basis for other smart playlists that further refine the parameters.

  8. Hey, I am also looking for a way to mark some of my iTunes Media that is imported and converted through QuickTime as explicit for obvious reasons… lol… Did anyone come up with a solution?

    This, after all, was the underlying topic of the blog and basically everyone who posted a comment completely missed the point and started talking about star ratings, which is completely irrelevant.

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