heard on the wire

I love iTunes

I love iTunes. OK, it has many annoying quirks and a truly dreadful icon, but it I could only have one application on my Mac, it would my “digital jukebox”.

iTunes is home to 14,309 (and counting) music files, dozens of ebooks, videos PDFs and apps, all of which it handles with aplomb. I can sync two iPhones, and iPad an two iPods with five completely different selections of music, with scarcely a moment’s thought. I can ensure that, despite our shared library, no Fall, Mary Chain or Pains of Being Pure at Heart finds its way onto The Becster’s iPhone, while keeping mine free of Abba, ELO and Nutini.

I am an iTunes geek; I revel in Smart Playlists, AppleScript-driven menus and Automator workflows.

Take Nice ’n’ Neat, for example, a super-hybrid smart playlist that combines Becster’s music with the less-offensive sections of my music for a mutually tolerable listening experience. I have to suffer ELO; she tolerates Cinerama.

Or PlayMix, a complex combination of recently added and unrated tracks, 3-star-or-greater tracks that haven’t been played so often, 3-star-or-greater tracks that haven’t been played in a long while, and a handful of 2-stars. Subsets of that playlist sync to iPhone and iPad.

Either selection would be impossible without iTunes. So would a list of 4- and 5-star songs that haven’t been played in the last 6 months, or my most played and highly rated tracks of the year. I love the fact that I can instantly create impromptu mixes of soul and rocksteady, post-rock and electronica using painstakingly customised genres and metadata (I love metadata).

I’ve never used iTunes on Windows, and hopefully I never will. I can’t imagine being without AppleScripts that let me select oft-used playlists and iTunes DJ with a keystroke; or search the web for more information, using search terms taken from the selected song. Or having to manually add new downloads (always legit) or rip vinyl recordings without the one-click Automator workflows.

Then there’s the wonderful combination of iTunes DJ, AirPlay, AirPort Express and Remote. I can set a playlist playing in iTunes DJ, stream it to AirPort Express-connected stereos in the bedroom or living room, and add or delete tracks at my leisure using the Remote app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. And if a friend visits, so can they.

I even love the iTunes Store — though prices here in Switzerland are rarely amenable. Anything that banishes the ugly, clumsy, dust-gathering, resource- consuming CD to the dustbin of history, must be a good thing.

Did I mention that I love iTunes?

[Incredibly, Charlie Brooker and Darien Graham-Smith don’t love iTunes — and only one of them uses it on a PC.]


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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.


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All the music on this site is posted to encourage listeners to enjoy it and then rush out and buy as many songs by the artist as they possibly can. Any artist, record label boss, publisher or other rightsholder who doesn't want their works featured here only needs to get in touch and the offending file(s) will be removed at the earliest opportunity.