Rinse: Taking your iTunes library to the cleaners

By Shem Pennant,

All the recent talk of Apple TVs has been heightened by the relation that Steve Jobs had put “the guy in charge of iTunes” on the project. This has had many in the conventional media nodding but many others (your typical angry nerds on the internet) have been outraged. Why? Well a lack of social skills and perspective play a large part in it but one of the key problems is iTunes. iTunes is an unwieldily beast that needs to be tamed. Although iTunes is now the core of Apple’s digital media empire and responsible for maintaining apps, books, photos and more, its core job of storing and playing music is sometimes neglected. If you’ve ever been silly enough to drag an m3u file into your library you know the unwieldily mess of duplicates that can arise. Or if you source you music from outside the iTunes Music Store (say you ripped your existing CD collection) then you are likely to miss out on a lot of the fun in terms of CD art, track names might be a little wonky and tagging might be all over the place. At times my iTunes library can look a little funky, and not in a George Clinton way.

Rinse

Fortunately a whole third-party ecosystem has evolved of apps to look after your iTunes library for you. The latest of these is Rinse from RealNetworks

Rinse automatically looks up songs in the widely-acclaimed Gracenote music database, downloads the correct details for each song and applies them in your library. With more than 8 million albums and 100 million tracks in its catalogue, there’s a pretty good chance that most things in your library will be covered.Even if a track is misspelt or unknown, Rinse includes an identification technology to recognise audio samples throughout the track.

Rinse is simple but very hardworking, taking over a number of tasks in your iTunes library. Have a bunch of Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prints CDs in your collection? Rinse can take care of that. All your Django filed under Death Metal instead of Gypsy Jazz? Not a problem. Missing pictures of naked babies chasing dollars in swimming pools? Rinse can download all your missing Nirvana album artwork. The push button simplicity is great and it’s pretty unambiguous. There’s also lots of in-app guidance and hand-holding, so you should have no problems sorting through your library. As a word of warning, to be this good takes ages, and it’s taken Rinse days, (literally days) to work its way through my 500GB music collection – although the accuracy with which it is doing this makes it all worth the wait.

Rinse is a downloadable service available for a one-time payment of £30 at www.rinsemymusic.co.uk. A free trial version that cleans up 50 songs in your iTunes library is also available