Grouping multi-disc albums

Grouping multi-disc albums 1

Q: I sometimes have two or three of the same album cover in my iTunes library with several tracks on each (i.e. if the album consists of more than 1 CD). This makes it difficult to locate tracks. Is there a way can I get them all to appear under one album cover?

– Suzanne

A: iTunes and the iPod group tracks based on their album and artist entries. Tracks with the same artist and album name are normally grouped under the same “cover.”  In the case of multi-disc albums, however, often the information contained in the track’s album title will include a disk number for the album as part of the album title. In this case, the tracks will be treated as separate albums since the album title is in fact different.

Unless you actually want each disc to be treated as a separate album, the proper way to group multi-disc albums in iTunes is to set the album title for all tracks to only the album name, and then use the “Disc #” tag to identify each disc:

Grouping multi-disc albums 2

This will cause all of the tracks on both discs to be grouped as a single album when using Cover Flow or Grouping views:


Grouping multi-disc albums 3

Likewise, the tracks will also appear under a single album heading when viewed on the iPod itself.

Due to the “Disc #” field being filled in, the tracks will still be sorted in the proper order, since the disc number takes precedence over the individual track numbers when sorting.

Note that if you have multi-CD albums that have more than a single artist on them, they may still appear under separate album entries, since again iTunes uses both the artist and album name when deciding which tracks belong together. The “Album Artist” field can be filled in with a single artist name for albums with featured artists, but this does not work consistently on all models of iPod. Your better option is to use the “Part of a Compilation” tag to identify those tracks that belong to the same album.  When “Part of a Compilation” is checked, and the “Compilations” setting is enabled in iTunes or on the iPod, the “Artist” tag is basically ignored when grouping tracks into albums. See our Dec 7, 2007 Ask iLounge column for more information on how the “Compilations” feature is used.



  1. Just a minor quibble:

    You don’t “reformat the computer,” you reformat the disk or the drive.

    Thanks for a great column, week after week.

  2. The screen on my classic ipod 80g says NOW PLAYING, but it is frozen. No matter what button I touch, the screen remains the same. please advise…

  3. Is there any way to hook up an external video monitor or display to an ipod touch? So you cna see o na minotr whatever is o nthe iPod touch’s screen?

  4. After our computer crashed, I have downloaded Itunes again and have have restored all of my music files back on to my computer (Itunes and all of my music files were saved onto an external hard drive). Is there a way to upload my original playlists back onto my computer? It would be nice not to have to recategorized my 3000 songs again.

  5. I have an 80g ipod that I put podiobooks, music, movie trailers and pictures into. How do I keep all of these in one place, ie the podiobooks only in the podiobook section, music in music section, trailers etc, etc. Also with the podiobooks, there seems to be no way to seperate one ending from another’s beginning. Is there a way you can put like a line between different books?

  6. Similar to Elise above, I have had to delete my Library and then add specific playlists from an external HD to my specific playlists in ITunes. When I do this, the same song that is in several playlists gets added to the Library duplicate times instead of just once.

    How can I avoid going through the Library and manually eliminating hundreds to thousands of duplicates?

  7. I have an older 80G Ipod Classic with iTunes on a Windows XP. I’m using “Overdrive” software to download audiobooks from local library. Books download just fine onto “Overdrive”, but fail to transfer into iTunes or onto the Ipod. I’ve set iTunes to “Manually manage music ..”.

    The audiobooks download as MP3’s. Should I be converting those to MP4’s? Tried this, but even that didn’t work.

    Any suggestions would be welcomed and appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *