Review: beaTunes

Your music library with all the information fixed. (October 16th, 2007)

Electronista Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Tagtraum Industries Inc.

Price: $24.95 US

The Good

  • Easy to use. Makes good assumptions when suggests fixes in your song library. Adds color and beats per minute information.

The Bad

  • Library inspection sometimes yields questionable results. Import of metadata from MusicIP.com doesnít seem to work consistently.

I'm quite meticulous about how I organize my iTunes tracks. I make sure that all my music tracks are labeled and categorized correctly. These details are easily corrupted when switching to a new computer or restoring your iTunes list from your iPod using a utility such as Senuti.

Fix Your Music Library

I was very excited when I first heard about beaTunes. Originally designed to help create playlists of similar types of songs for the working DJ, beaTunes has blossomed into a complete suite for the detail-fixated iTunes user. beaTunes analyzes your music library so that you can fill in missing information and generate better playlists.

When the application starts, beaTunes v1.2.3 also launches iTunes so that it may edit your library. After scanning my music library, beaTunes showed me inconsistencies, including alternate spellings, mismatched genres, and other problems. The inspection window is easy to understand. beaTunes organizes songs into folders labeled by the type of problem it finds. For example, Misspelled Artist Name, Same Album with a Different Artist, and Same Artist with a Different Genre. It also organizes songs by the detected artist, album, or genre.

Error Detection

The error detection capabilities are pleasantly accurate, with few mistakes that are fixed by fine-tuning the search mechanism. I was happy to see that it did just the job that it advertised: beaTunes showed me all of the mixed capitalizations, misspelled artist, and mislabeled genres that plagued my iTunes library.

Fix Library Problems

Fixing the problems is effortless. When it shows you an artist where you have mixed capitalization throughout the name for example, such as System Of A down vs. System of a Down, it provides you with two responses based on the spellings found. You can do nothing or replace the errors with a custom artist name. A list at the bottom of the window shows the tracks that beaTunes wants to modify. You change the highlighted tracks when you choose the new setting.

beaTunes inspection screen


Inspection Results Screen


There were a few minor incorrect assumptions that cropped up. Some were understandable mistakes based on the pattern of letters, such as Toto and Dido; others were a little perplexing, such as Dunk and Tonic. The well-organized Inspection window let me ignore these odd selections, and de-select the tracks I didn't wish to change, so these issues were not a large concern.

After sorting through my library and making all of the necessary changes, I was free to inspect the rest of beaTunes. If you prefer to play with the application first, you can opt out of scanning your library and do it later. The library scanning can take a long time if you have more than 500 tracks in it.

beaTunes analysis options


Analysis Options

Create Mood Playlists

The rest of the application's features are quite accessible. beaTunes can analyze any number of tracks, and detect various kinds of metadata, such as beats-per-minute, missing artist or album information, detect language of the lyrics, tonal information, as well as song color. You can also remove blank or dead space from the beginning or end of a track. I could not retrieve any missing artist or album information, but it detects the beats per minute and assigns a color to each song as well. The color loosely represents the mood of a song, making it easier to compile an even-sounding playlist that is useful for parties, exercise, or your mood.
Editorial Note: The BeaTunes FAQ includes a link to Baltimore Sun article, in which beats per minute is broken out for exercise. It states 115-120 BPM is ideal for walking, while 120-180 is aimed at cardio workouts. Other useful links that explain more audio features are also noted.
beaTunes can even control iTunes, so if you are in the music business, it makes an excellent DJ companion. A word of caution, if your music library is primarily from the iTunes store, beaTunes may not work well for you. It can only analyze unprotected music, such as iTunes Plus songs or music you've ripped from your own CDs, because it needs to access the raw audio data, which is not available in DRM protected music.

Better Playlists

Thanks to beaTunes, my library is in tip-top shape. The titles are correct, genres are consolidated, and I have a wealth of new information to consider when I customize my playlists. It runs quite fast on my Intel iMac, especially for a java-based application. It is an excellent a companion for the average user as it is for a DJ. You can even try it out for two weeks before you buy.

beatunes screen 10.5


Small iTunes Library Sorted by Color
Notice the Lock Next to iTunes Purchased Music


by Galen Wood with ilene Hoffman


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