Artists not appearing on iPod

Jesse Hollington
By Jesse Hollington  - Senior Editor
Artists not appearing on iPod

Q: There a few artists which I have downloaded from iTunes or from a CD that do not show up under the “Artists” section on my iPod. The songs are in there, but I can’t find the artist under the “Artists” menu on the iPod. How do I correct this so the artists show up properly?

– Lloyd

Artists not appearing on iPod

A: The most common cause of this is the “Compilations” settings on the tracks and the iPod itself.

iTunes includes a feature to mark tracks as “Part of a Compilation” which is generally used to indicate that these tracks are from a multi-artist album, such as a movie soundtrack or other “Various Artists” album. Since in many cases the artists on these albums may be “one-hit” wonders or may represent artists that aren’t otherwise in your library.

To avoid cluttering the “Artists” listing, iTunes and the iPod have a feature whereby you can group your tracks by compilation, in which case any artists that are only on a single compilation will be excluded from the “Artists” list on the iPod. Instead, these albums are grouped directly under the Music, Compilations menu on the iPod.

Unfortunately, many people misunderstand the “Compilation” flag and incorrectly set it for “Best of” albums from the same artist (on the idea that such albums are “compilations” of a single artist’s work). As a result, there are a number of albums in the Gracenote CD Database (where your inserted CD track information is looked up), or even in the iTunes Store, that erroneously have this flag set.

The solution to this problem is to either turn OFF the “Compilation” grouping on the iPod itself, or to modify these tracks in iTunes to remove the “Part of a Compilation” flag from them.

Turning OFF the compilation grouping differs slightly between iPod models. If you have a pre-2007 iPod model (ie, fifth-generation iPod with video, or first or second generation iPod nano), then you will find a “Compilations” option under the Settings menu on the iPod. You can set this to “OFF” to remove the Compilations menu on the iPod and basically ignore the “Compilations” flag entirely.

If you have one of the traditional 2007 iPod models: the iPod classic or iPod nano (video), this setting is instead controlled by whether you choose to display the Compilations menu option, set under either Settings, Music Menu or Settings, Main Menu on the iPod. As you might expect, if the “Compilations” menu is shown, then the iPod will group tracks by compilation and exclude these artists from the “Artists” list.

By Jesse Hollington Senior Editor
Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.