Sure, you’re a hardcore superuser, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the finer things in life — like shiny squircles and getting every new app first. But, what’s an OS-indiscriminate person like yourself going to do when it comes time to purchase music? That’s where the recover_itunes tool shines, and if you’re a Linux user with an iPhone, it might just be your new best friend.
iPhones and other Apple products work great when you’ve purchased music from iTunes, but can be a headache when your music comes from other sources. On the other hand, music purchased from iTunes is notoriously difficult to listen to on anything other than an Apple product. One major reason for the difficulty with the latter is in the way that iTunes handles metadata.
By some miracle of chance, or sheer will, our music libraries — and all of the programs we use to listen to them — have mostly stuck to a standard of saving metadata in the music file itself; metadata for important things like the artist, album, and song title. Unfortunately “mostly” doesn’t include Apple. Apple uses a separate file that contains all of that information.
So, knowing all of that, what happens when you copy your iTunes library to your Linux PC? You’ll be left with files containing no useful information. All you’ll be able to do is play Russian roulette with the shuffle button, like it’s the ’90s and you’ve pushed Random on your Discman. Except now you’ve got 5,000 songs to skip through to find “MMMBop” instead of just the 21 on the CD (seriously, check it out, there are 8 silent tracks on that CD. Why not just use one long silent track?)
The recover_itunes program, created by [kluete], solves this problem, with virtually no effort on the user’s part. Point it towards your music directory and it’ll search for iTunes metadata to match any M4A files, saving copies of the files with the metadata inserted. As a bonus, it’ll even try to find the matching album artwork, which should look great on the HTPC you’ve been meaning to build.
[thanks to Peter]