Displaying singles in iPod’s Artists menu

Updated

Q: How do I get songs from certain artists to appear under the “Music → Artists” menu of my iPod if some of the artists songs have album information and some don’t?

For example, I might have a full album from an artist, and then a single track from the same artist, but without an album tag. When I go to “Music → Artist”, the single track without album information will be gone. The only way I can find the single track is if I go to “Music → Songs” and find it in there.

I have thousands of MP3s, and finding songs by artist is my preference. Is there any way I can get all tracks to appear under the Artists menu without having to add album information to every single track?

– Timo

A: This is a bug (or, at least, bug-like “behavior”) that iLounge first noticed with the original release of the fifth-generation and nano iPods last year. Unfortunately, we’ve seen no sign from Apple that they consider it a bug, it clearly hasn’t been resolved through several firmware upgrades since the initial release.

However, we’ve since resorted to a simple, but clearly less than optimal, work-around; we simply tag all tracks without information in the “Album” field with “Unknown Album.” This makes the iPod treat such tracks as members of a second album, allowing them to display in the Artists menu.

Sound like a pain? It’s really not. Simply sort your tracks in iTunes by “Album” (click on the “Album” header), select all the tracks with no album tag, choose “Get Info” from the File menu, and add the “Unknown Album” designation to the Album field. Click OK, and you’re set.

But wait… now iTunes collects all these songs together when sorting by Album? Yes. However, if you sort by “Album by Artist” (by clicking repeatedly on the “Album” header), iTunes will sort the albums as you’d expect.

Photo of author

Jerrod H.

Jerrod was a contributing editor at iLounge. He mostly wrote articles about iTunes and iPod accessories. He was known for his in-depth knowledge of both topics and was often able to provide readers with unique insights into the world of Apple products.