How to tag iTunes songs quickly and sanely

The Preamble

So I’ve been using a song tagging system based on ratings for a while now, (more on that here), but I’ve recently started using a different system to add more granularity to my tagging – for example, tagging my ‘Inspirational’ (2 star) list to separate the up-tempo numbers good for writing action from the stately pieces for description and the sad pieces for… well, sad stuff.

I’d long decided to use the ‘Grouping’ section in iTunes to do this, but tabbing over to iTunes and getting info on the playing song and then typing in the tag seemed like too much hassle – I don’t want to leave what I’m doing for very long. Enter Automator and Quicksilver…

The Instruction

  1. First off, you’ll need Doug’s Automator Actions for iTunes, available here. Install them if you haven’t got them already, because there’s some amazing stuff in there.
  2. Next, put together a simple two-step workflow: ‘Get the Current Song’ followed by ‘Set Info of iTunes Songs’.
  3. Then, and this is important, click the ‘Grouping’ checkbox and under ‘options’ click the ‘Show Action When Run’ checkbox. This means that, when the workflow runs, it’ll pop up a miniature version of iTunes’ option box with grouping already selected and the cursor set to a-blinkin’. This is awesome.
  4. Stick the resulting workflow in a place where Quicksilver can see it. Assign a trigger (if you’re not familiar with these, Merlin’s got a great post about them or just a simple abbreviation.

Now, whenever you hear a song that fits a particular mood or tag, open up the workflow from QS and type your tag, then get back to your stuffs. Fantastic, and probably more useful to most people than ratings-tagging. (Although I still like that for being able to sort my music solely on my iPod).

2 Responses to “How to tag iTunes songs quickly and sanely”

  1. Lou Ordorica says:

    Excellent! Thanks for this great script. I can now create a smart playlist in iTunes to show only songs that I’ve tagged.

  2. Sam says:

    Thanks for the kind words, glad to hear it helped :)

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