Sorting artists by last name
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have always wondered why iPod and iTunes sort artist names alphabetically by first name rather than last name. “John Coltrane” is in the Js, not the Cs. Yet, in any (brick & mortar) music store, CDs are sorted by last name. My CD collection is sorted by last name. So I am wondering why Apple set up iPod and iTunes this way. And more practically, is there anything I can do to have sort-by-last-name as the default, other than manually change all the tags from “John Coltrane” to “Coltrane, John”?
A: iTunes has traditionally taken a relatively simplistic approach to sorting, and tries to avoid making assumptions about how things should be sorted. For example, while it’s logical to assume that “John Coltrane” could be sorted as “Coltrane, John” it would not be reasonable to most people for a group such as “The Barenaked Ladies” to be sorted as “Ladies, Barenaked.” iTunes would of course have no way of knowing the difference, and most people would probably find the latter method to be more confusing than the former.
Fortunately, as of iTunes 7.1, you can now override these sort orders yourself without having to change your actual artist names. This is handled through the “Sorting” tab which appears when viewing a track’s properties by selecting File, Get Info:
Within the sorting tab, you can override the sort order for any of the key sorting fields. To do this, simply enter the text based on how you would prefer that the track be sorted, as shown in the example above (ie, “Coltrane, John”). iTunes will sort that particular track according to how the text is entered in these sort fields.
Unfortunately, the sorting tab is not available when editing multiple tracks, which can be a bit confusing when trying to apply sort preferences to all tracks on a single album, or by a single artist. Instead of editing these tracks individually, you setup your preferred sort order on a given track as a sort of “template” and then apply that sort order to other tracks with the same tag information.
This is done by selecting the track that you’ve already modified the sort order for, and then right-clicking, and choosing “Apply Sort Field” and choosing which matching tracks to apply the sort order to:
For example, choosing “Same Artist” would apply the sort fields from the current track to all other tracks in your iTunes library that happen to have the same name in the “Artist” field. Note that this applies ALL of the sort fields that are set on the current track, so you will want to be cautious when selecting the scope of this option based on which sort fields you have filled in on your “template” track.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Incipio to acquire Skullcandy
- Apple confirms iOS 10 kernel was left open to improve performance
- Apple leaves iOS 10 kernel open to scrutiny
- Judge throws out ‘Error 53’ lawsuit against Apple
- Chinese company in iPhone patent fight is all but defunct
- Apple adds nine more apps to universal search in Apple TV
- WSJ: iPhone to see modest changes this year, eliminate headphone jack
- China tightening restrictions on mobile games starting next month
- Supreme Court patent ruling bodes well for future Apple cases
- Apple to pay $400M to consumers over e-book price fixing case
- Zagg Slim Book for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Element Case Ronin for iPhone 6/6s
- JBL Clip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Catalyst Case for iPad mini 4
- Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Flex Arc Wireless Earbuds + Speakers
- Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
- Twelve South BookBook for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Spigen Rugged Armor, Style Armor + Wallet S for iPhone SE
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app