CoverScout and Song Genie
When a company called Equinux got in touch and said they’ve got some software that will quickly and aptly fill in missing track information and cover art for my iTunes music collection I was naturally cynical; after all there are hundreds of alternative solutions. And I’ve tried many such solutions in the past and I’ve found them to be not only extortionate but time-consuming and ineffective too.
The first program I had a look at was Song Genie v2. Essentially Song Genie scans your iTunes library and suggests filling in the blanks, or indeed correcting what’s already there, for fields such as artist, album, year and so on by searching various online resources. Because I DJ and use smart playlists, the information associated with my MP3s is already perfect; more accurate than any software aggregator could achieve. However, it was worth testing to see if it would work, so I stripped out a few tracks of information and downloaded some new ones as a test bed. Overall I was impressed the the ease of use, speed and general accuracy of Song Genie. On most tracks this information came back completely correct with little or no editing needed on my part. Something to note is that a lot of my library is made up of obscure tracks, remixes, mixtapes and blends and, perhaps understandably, Song Genie was powerless to recognise these tracks.
Next up was Coverscout v3. As the name suggests, Coverscout aims to fill in all the missing art in your iTunes library. From what I could deduce, there are two ways to use Coverscout. Firstly you can let the program scan a selection of your songs and suggest an assortment of several (often tenuously pertinent) images, one of which you can assign to the relevant music. The other choice involves Coverscout scanning a selection of your songs as before, except this time you allow the program to apply an image without your say so, based on a small set of pre-approved criteria.
I started applying art manually but with around 5,000 albums it seemed like an exhaustive task. So I switched to the automatic application and, as expected, the results were, at times, utterly shocking. For example, I’ve a few songs by a producer known as AC slater and the cover art to represent him is the AC Slater from Saved By The Bell. Funny, yes. Desirable, no. I always anticipated this would be the case because this sort of software only uses very simple algorithms based on a very limited set of criteria.
In an ideal world I would love to have 100% perfect cover-art for my music collection but I’m not so fussed about it that I’m prepared to spend days, maybe even weeks, using Coverscout to manually find the most appropriate images. That said, I do believe that Coverscout would be the most efficient and most reliable conduit to complete such a chore.
If your iTunes library is a state, full of missing and mis-information you could probably benefit from Song Genie; it’ll definitely tidy up you music library and make selecting songs on your iPhone and iPod much more enjoyable. If you a stickler for album art, you can’t go wrong with Coverscout. It’s not without it’s faults, but it’s the best of a bad bunch.