Tracking purchases in iTunes

Q: In the left pane of my iTunes, I suddenly have the SAME number of songs and music videos in my PURCHASED listings as I do in my LIBRARY listings. How do I get my PURCHASED icon to show ONLY my PURCHASED items as it used to?

– James

Tracking purchases in iTunes

A: Despite the shiny green icon, the “Purchased” playlist in your iTunes library is actually just a standard playlist, and you can add and remove tracks from it like you would any other playlist. In this case, it’s likely that at some point you or somebody else using your computer inadvertently added all of the tracks in your library into this playlist.

Since the Purchased playlist is a standard playlist, it doesn’t magically track which items you have purchased in the past. iTunes automatically drops newly-purchased items into this playlist, but it doesn’t not keep track of just any purchased item in your library.

To create a listing of all of the purchased tracks currently in your iTunes library, your best bet is to create a Smart Playlist that looks for information unique to purchased tracks.

Specifically, a Smart Playlist that looks for a “Kind” that begins with either “Protected” or “Purchased” will generally do the job.

Tracking purchases in iTunes

This Smart Playlist will include all of the purchased tracks in your iTunes library, and will dynamically update as you purchase new tracks. You can refine this Smart Playlist even further if you want to track only purchased items of a certain type (ie, only music or movies).