Removing Genre column in iTunes 8


Q: How do I get rid of the ‘Genre’ column in the browser in iTunes 8? There used to be a preference for this in iTunes 7, but I can’t seem to find this anywhere in iTunes 8. Further, the artist column in the browser has a ‘Compilation’ entry which I do not want as it contains albums that are clearly not compilations. Any suggestions?

Removing Genre column in iTunes 8

– Laurence

A: In iTunes 8, a number of preferences that were available in previous versions of iTunes have now been either removed entirely or reorganized to different locations.

The preference to hide the Genre column from the browser is no longer available at all in iTunes 8’s normal preferences screen. Instead, you can now only adjust this via a hidden preference option, accessible via a Terminal command-line in Mac OS X or by editing an XML preferences file on Windows.

For Mac OS X users, opening the Terminal application and entering the following command-line will allow you to disable the Genre column:

defaults write show-genre-when-browsing -bool FALSE

For Windows users, this hidden preference is adjusted by editing the iTunesPrefs.XML file, which is buried in your “Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes” folder (under your main username folder). Make sure you back up this file first, and then go in and simply add the lines:


You can still remove the “Compilations” entry in the iTunes Artist browser, although the preference for this has been moved to the “Advanced” tab in iTunes 8:

Removing Genre column in iTunes 8

Simply UN-check the Group Compilations when Browsing option.

Note that the “Compilations” option serves a useful purpose if you have a lot of albums that are contain works by various artists—particularly if these works are from artists that you otherwise wouldn’t have listed in your library (movie soundtracks are a common example). In this case, leaving the Group Compilations when Browsing option enabled will filter out these “one-hit wonders” from your main Artists listing.

Unfortunately, it is common for many single-artist albums to be misidentified as Compilations, particularly when using track information from a service such as Gracenote CDDB for your imported CD’s. Many users erroneously assume that the “Compilations” flag should be set for works such as “Greatest Hits” albums (ie, a “compilation” of a single artists’ works), when in fact the flag is only supposed to be used to identify those albums that contain works from more than one artist (ie, a multi-artist “compilation” of works).

Fortunately, you can adjust the “Compilations” flag yourself for any track in your iTunes library, or even a group of tracks. To do this, simply select the track or tracks that you want to change the setting for, and choose File, Get Info from the iTunes menu. In the file information dialog box, select the “Options” tab and you can change the “Part of a Compilation” setting from there:


Removing Genre column in iTunes 8



Jesse Hollington

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.