Saturday, February 9, 2008

20 Reasons why iTunes sucks

I'm tired of Apple fans refusing to acknowledge the short comings of iTunes. It's one of the worst music library products out there - yet the Cult of Steve faithful refuse to acknowledge Apple has failed to address the shortcomings of iTunes. Instead of aiming to be the best MP3 Player and Library Tool out there - Apple puts it's Product schemes first. This is the big difference between products built to fill a need, as most shareware/freeware is, and products built to sell another product. The general suckyness of iTunes can be summed up into Control. If are a simple user, and don't care about much.. iTunes will do ok for you generally. But not always.. we'll get to that as well. But if you are a user that actually wants some input into how your music is handled - watch out. iTunes is going to be your enemy. So lets list out some of the ways iTunes sucks 1. iTunes is geared towards monopoloizing your music. It's default model is to 'sort' your music into its file structure when you import music. This includes renaming the files and putting into a specific file structure. Not so bad - but do you get to decide those names or structures? NOPE! It's Steve's way only. Every mp3 renaming tool on the planet worth a damn lets you decide the naming system.. Not Steve tho! This normally would mean, well just don't let iTunes sort your files.. oh its not that simple! For many reasons to come Why is this important? Because even though the full info is in the ID tag of the mp3 file, you can't see that info in many file interfaces. So if you look at your files outside of iTunes - you have these stupid file names that don't make sense. There is NO reason to not let the user decide this part of the process. 2. Apple insists the only way to interface with your iPod is iTunes. Yes, there are 3rd party apps that work around Apple - yet Apple refuses to make it open. Why? Because they want control. Most 3rd party apps tend to conflict with iTunes as well when you try to sync back with iTunes. 3. iTunes is retarded when it comes to locating files. If a file moves or is renamed - iTunes can't find it. iTunes can tell you it can't find it... but it can't find it itself, nor can it be told to ID all files it can't find at once, nor can it be told to drop all songs it can't find from the library. So the result is.. you the user are required to one by one.. stumble upon any file problems and fix them. Good library tools automate the discovery of bad links.. and great ones will automatically find the file if it moved. Example.. lets say you added the year to the name of the album folder. In iTunes, that's suicide. In other tools, they either highlight this to you, or simply automatically find the missing files by looking at the ID tags. The Church of Steve would say 'well don't move your files' - of course if you've sold your soul to Steve, you've ignored item #1 so you'll ignore #3 4. Some things don't work unless you auto-sync your iPod. Example - you like using ratings on your songs? Don't bother changing them on your iPod if you didn't let iTunes sync that song for you. It will not populate back to your library. Like using Play Counts? Don't bother because they do not populate back to your library either unless you auto-sync your iPod. 5. Play Count doesn't count a play unless you listened to the ENTIRE song. Listening to your iPod and didn't want to sit through the crowd cheering at the end of that live song? Don't hit skip - or your listening to your song isn't counted. 6. Ratings are iTunes only. Forget that ratings are part of ID tags - and probably the best method for setting up smartplaylists (one of the really good features of iTunes), iTunes only puts ratings in it's library data. So what? That means if you ever delete a file from your library, you lose your ratings. Why would you delete a file? Remember what I said about moving a file? If you move files, your only option is to fix each file ONE by ONE by ONE. So its actually easier to delete the files and simply reimport them into iTunes. But by doing so.. you throw away all your play counts AND ratings. Ratings are standardized and if put into the files themselves, this wouldn't be a problem. But no.. the Church of Steve won't have it. 7. iTunes is a pig. Why do I need a 60meg download for a mp3 player? Oh that's because Apple uses iTunes as a trojan to push it's Quicktime player everywhere it goes. iTunes uses QT as its media engine. Instead of lessening the impact and overhead, Apple makes you download QT every time you get iTunes. Why do I care? see #8 8. Quicktime ignores preferences. Because Quicktime is installed with iTunes, its installed silently as part of the install. However, unless most good software, Quicktime ignores many preferences you already have set. Have QT turned off from the notification area? You did.. until you upgraded iTunes.. then its back. That goes for your desktop icons, and quick launch ones too.. every time QT throws itself back there. Stop clutteirng up my computer! 9. iTunes installs fattening services that shouldn't be mandatory. iTunes installs several RAM hog services to accomodate Apple Software Updates and iPod services. Forget if you want them or need them - you got them without being asked or choice. Thanks Steve. 10. iTunes bugging me about new versions. No I don't want the latest stupid bloated version that now has support for products I don't own! You tell iTunes to not ask you again... yet it still keeps bugging you! Yup, that's right.. your choice to not bug you doesn't apply to all future versions.. just that one version. So the next time Steve's army releases yet another version, you get bugged again. It's like a phone solicitor that doesn't follow the do not call list! 11. iTunes can't scale. iTunes seems rather snappy - until you load it up with a lot of music. Put a 100+gigs of music into it and it becomes a sloth. It can't even keep up with mouse clicks in Windows. It takes forever to open or close. It's a total pig. 12. iTunes lacks true library features. When dealing with large volumes of mp3 files.. you need bulk tools for renaming, tagging, etc. Sorry, Steve doesn't like files that he didn't give you through iTunes - so these features don't exist. Now, iTunes has gotten slightly better in the last few versions with the multiple edit, but its still abysmal compared to proper library tools. It's still slow to apply changes too. 13. iTunes does not offer corrective tagging. MusicMatch had the best feature, called 'super tagging' which basically looked at the tags you had, and suggested the proper tags and artwork. It was awesome. Too bad Yahoo killed it :( 14. iTunes is your worst enemy if you ever outgrow your hard drive. Want to move your music collection? Woah.. slow down there buddy! See every problem above.. 15. Multiple users can not share the same library. Have children that you want to listen to your music? NOPE! Because each user profile on a computer must use its own iTunes library.. and since the library can not adapt for file changes (like adds or removes) you can't even point your library at a shared file folder. Oh, and each user profile means another activation. So no, the Church of Steve does not approve of your children using your music. You must give them their own accounts and of course then you can't even share music within your own family. 16. Have multiple computers? iTunes says FU! While you can authorize multiple computers with the same iTMS account, they all have different libraries. So you can't plug your iPod into multiple computers and use it the same as your primary computer. Want to play music off your ipod? hohoho NO says Steve. If you are using auto-sych, which you must to get your library to update from your iPod remember, you can't play music off your ipod on another computer.. even if its authorized with the same iTMS account. 17. You still can't move files OFF an iPod with iTunes. DRM through annoyance. Thank you Steve - You suck. You don't let me play music on my other computer, you don't let me move the files. You make other people write software to get around your stupid ways of blocking what is important - what the customer wants. 18. iPod Photo - buhahah.. got a lifetime to wait while they sync? Pointless feature due to the overhead of actually using it. 19. Why can't I download music you knew I already bought? Because that would be a BENEFIT of digital purchases.. but noooo.. DRM freaks so all purchases are one-time only. Lose a hard drive? Good bye music! 20. The bloat bloat bloat. Ever heard of MODULARITY? Why must I care all the bloat and weight of every digital video or audio product Apple makes just so I can use the ONE product I own? I don't care about iPhones.. or AppleTV.. or the other BS. Get out of my iPod! Oh wait.. the Church does not want to give up their opportunity to shove their product awareness down my throught. What does iTunes do well? Smart Playlists - these are great.. as long as your library data is good. Too bad iTunes constantly fights you because its library data is too fragile. See #1, #3, #5, #6 podcast directory and integration - itunes removes RSS, various websites, etc and makes it ultra simple to find, subscribe, and d/l podcasts. Kudos. Tho I'm sure many podcasters would have nasty things to say about their side of getting their stuff ON iTMS... The .99 song - gotta give it to the Church, he sold the labels on the model of per song at 99 cents. The per-character searching and 3 panel filter - set new expectations on search and browsing music libraries. Very effective Conclusion Open up the iPod for real Steve. Stop force feeding it on us. Listen to your user's needs - not your latest product aspirations and give us a real media library tool. I feel the most sorry for actual Apple users. Who's really going to go through and try building a mp3 player on OSX when Apple gives theirs away for free and forces it on most of their products? Apple users are stuck with iTunes forever.


Chris said...

1. Yes you are correct...Apple is a business. If you want the freedom to sell, organize, and control a music store, program it yourself and see if you can do a better job than Apple.

2. Apple controls iTunes in order to control the usability of their product. This is why the usability experience on a Mac destroys any other OS.

3. Change the name in iTunes, not the filename.

4. I would assume that if I put the music on my iPod in the first place, I rate it high....I have zero need to have ratings on my iPod.

5. *yawn* Talk about nit-picking.

6. Why move your music? I can understand copying it if you want to work with it in some janky 3rd party program. Leave your iTunes library alone already.

7. Yea? Let's compare this to the "other" mainstream OS. Windows Media Player won't even play music from the Zune market can't buy music through WMP for your can't buy movies for your Zune you have to have TWO pieces of software installed for music and movies some of which WILL play in WMP and some of which WON'T play...sheeesh...this is a better solution?

8. Simple- Don't upgrade.

9. Buy more RAM?

10. We covered this in #8. Choose your QuickTime/iTunes settings and then don't upgrade.

11. Sounds like a Windows issue to me. Try comparing MySQL on Windows versus any *nix OS. Same issues.

12. Millions of people have already voted that they don't need these features. You have been overruled by the majority. See #1.

13. Offer your suggestions:

14. Weird...I've migrated my iTunes library nearly half a dozen times in the past 4 years. No issues. But then again, I use a Mac.

15. This is as simple as creating specific playlists for each user/ipod in one account on a single computer, or as complicated (hardly) as copying selected songs to other computers for each user to use in his/her own library. On a Mac I can have multiple users on one computer, each with their own iTunes library using music protected by one iTunes account, and it only counts as ONE authorized computer. This sounds like a management issue to me, probably caused by the needless complexities of Windows.

16. This is a limitation of iPods, not of iTunes. Blame the RIAA, not Apple or iTunes. BTW, if you haven't written to the RIAA complaining about this, you have no right to complain.

17. See #16.

18. So don't use it.

19. Actually, Apple will allow you to download your music a second time. See:

This is a one time only benefit, however. If you haven't learned to backup your music/videos after your first mistake, it is your loss, not Apples. Bandwidth isn't cheap.

20. See #7. You want to talk about bloat, let's talk about the Xbox360 with media expander. Sheeeesh.

Steve said...


1 - everyone else allows this, but not apple. Why?

2 - what is easier then drag and drop? How is it easier when you go to plug a ipod into another computer? It creates tons of artificial barriers that do not benefit the customer.

3 - again, limitations in the software. The point of a TOOL is to ASSIST you, not hinder you. iTunes hurts you more often then it helps. Why is this beneficial?

4 - If Apple thought there was no need for ratings, why are they there? Remember you thought Apple did everything to make usability better. Here is another example of artificial barriers. Ratings are part of ID3, yet apple doesn't use it? Why?

5 - Again, if its not useful, why did the Church of Usability include it?

6 - Moving it because maybe.. uhh.. my hard drive fills up? I need to switch hard drives? I use my music for things OUTSIDE of iTunes? What happened to 'Think Different?' oh I'm sorry.. that's 'Think OUR WAY' don't know how they confused that

7 - You are confused about Zune. The Zune software is reskinned WMP 11 and simply replaces WMP. And why is Zune even relevant? I could care less about Zune.

8 - Again, software creating barriers, not lowering them. Signs of bad development

9 - The machine has 4 gigs of RAM, how much do you think I should have? Why should I throw it away for nothing? Why should I have programs running I DON'T WANT?

10 - Brilliant suggestion.

11 - mysql works quite well on Windows. Apple should recognize that 80+% of their market is using a version of their program that runs like a 3 legged dog. What ever happened to pride in your work?

12 - the 'feedback or go home' argument is weak. Posted to apple forums years ago - no change. I'm not going to spam them for things they can figure out by simply looking outside the Church.

14 - So again.. works only if you do it the Church's way.. on a Mac. And again, it only works if you do it the Church's way.. with them organizing your music.. their way. Think Different must mean 'Think my Different'

15 - again more barriers for something that should be simple. Software that hinders you vs helping you is not doing its job.

16 - uhh.. who controls the iPod? You can't point fingers here.. its all one house.

As for xbox.. again, why do I care?

Apple needs to focus on creating the best software to do your tasks, not focus on controlling your world.

Hey Apple.. take some of your own koolaid and THINK DIFFERENT