One big problem I have had with iTunes is the “Determining Gapless Playback Information” bug. In a nutshell, every time I open iTunes, it is apparently “determining gapless playback” for the same two dozen tracks. I keep my iTunes library on my Windows Home Server, and usually access it over wi-fi via my laptop. With iTunes 8 and 9, this could take upwards of two minutes; in the meantime iTunes was completely unusable – beachball hell. Connecting my laptop to the router sped things up a bit, but it’s still an annoyance.
Turning off the gapless playback scanning in iTunes preferences didn’t help. By scouring the Apple support forums, the problem seems to lie in corrupted MP3 files. They will play back fine, but there’s one issue or another that keeps iTunes from properly doing gapless playback scanning.
My previous solution was just to remove the offending MP3, and then re-encode it from my FLAC archives. That solution works – up to a point. The only information I have to go on is the track title that is displayed during the scanning process. I have a lot of tracks with the same name – for example, I have a lot of Christmas albums, so when one of the offending tracks is “Silent Night”, that means I would need to delete each instance until I found the right one. Not an ideal way to fix the issue. So I still had about 15 songs that were subject to this problem.
Enter iTunes 10. Apple’s latest and greatest still has not fixed the problem, and now it takes far longer to scan the offending files. We’re talking 5 minutes on a wired connection; I never waited long enough to see how long it took over wifi. So I had to find a better fix.
After googling “fix my stupid MP3s”, I ran across MP3 Validator at gromkov.com. I pointed it at my iTunes library, and it chugged away at my collection for about 30-45 minutes. Surprisingly, about half of my collection was marked as broken. I allowed it to fix everything, and “a-la peanut butter sandwiches”, I can now work with iTunes as soon as it launches.
Nice work. Unfortunately this doesn’t help those in a pure Mac environment, as it’s a Windows-only program. Doing a quick Google search for “Mac MP3 Validator” turned up a similar program: http://triq.net/mac/mp3-validator-mac-os-x (among others.) I can’t speak to how well it works, but hopefully it will be as effective as well as the program I used.