How to Manually Organize Albums in iTunes and macOS Music

MacOS iTunes logo

Music artists sometimes publish albums under different aliases or group names, which can be quickly blended into iTunes. Here's how to use manual sorting options to restore some order in your iTunes or MacOS Music library.

It works whether you are using iTunes on Windows, iTunes on macOS Mojave or earlier, or Music on macOS Catalina. This guide refers to iTunes, but everything detailed here will work with the new music application from macOS Catalina. The Music app is basically just iTunes without non-musical functions, such as Movies and Television.

Changing the album sort order

The view of the iTunes album is excellent. While having new music recommended by an algorithm is useful for discovering more content, you are sometimes more inclined to relax and browse your music collection. The view of the album based on a grid handles this perfectly.

See the iTunes album

But there is a problem with this: by default, it sorts by artist name in alphabetical order, then by album name in alphabetical order. It is not easy to change this behavior overall, but you can correct some of the disadvantages that this sorting system causes.

For example, it is relatively common for artists to publish albums under different names. Collaborative projects between two artists may adopt a new group name for the duo, which will put the album away from one of the artists in your library. You might want the album to be with the rest of this artist's music. Other artists, such as MF DOOM, can release specific albums under another name, which further enhances the reading of your library.

To resolve this problem, you can manually change the sort of an album. This will not change the title of the album as it appears anywhere in your library, but it will change the title that iTunes will see when sorting the album. This fix will be synchronized with your mobile devices and will also change the sort in the Artist view.

To change the sort, right-click (Ctrl-click on the Mac) on an album in this view, then select "Album Info". It is here that you change the title of the album and the name of the artist, without this being necessary. . Click the "Sort" tab to find the options you want.

Under the "Artist" option, you can edit the "Sort As" tag so that it is the correct artist under which the album should appear. Your library will update and the album will be sorted according to your new preferences.

"Artist" is the most common setting for distinguishing the creator of an album, but "Artist Artist" will take precedence over it. If the album Artist tag is set for your album, you must also edit the sort tag to get the right order or simply delete it because it is mostly redundant.

You can select multiple albums to edit simultaneously by holding down the Command key or dragging to select them. You can also change the sorting options for individual songs if you prefer to use the song list rather than the album view.

If you want to further customize the layout of your album view, you can manually rearrange albums by setting different sort names. Since the sort name does not matter, you can sort an album as "aaaaaab" to put it at the top of the list. It's awkward and not ideal, but it's the only customization option offered by iTunes.

Sort albums by year

If you have an entire artist discography in your library, you may be disappointed that there is no way to sort their release year albums, which is probably the way you perceive their discography. . You can solve this problem with the same sort option, but it is a tedious process.

The trick is to set the name of the album "Sort As" as the year of release. This way, when iTunes will sort alphabetically, it only sees the release years, forcing the chronological order.

set the title of the album according to the year of release

The problem is that you have to do it for each album, which is a bit painful. Unmodified albums in this way will appear just before albums that have been edited. If you want them to appear after, you can set the sorting title to "aaa2015", but make sure that the number of aces is consistent.

The sort options also work in the Artist view, so this page will also be in chronological order.

Creating new albums

iTunes does not contain album folders or songs, but you can add your own albums to simulate them. It's easy to create new albums: select all the songs you want to move in the new album (hold down the command, Command), change the settings for each of them and change the name of the artist and the name of the album.

You can also check the box "The album is a compilation of songs from different artists", which will make it appear in a separate category "Compilations" in the album view.

Keep in mind however that moving songs to new albums in this way removes the song from the album from which you have extracted it. If you do not want this to happen, you can just change the sort order of the songs or duplicate them before creating the album with them.

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