Review: TuneUp Media for iTunes and Windows Media Player

It seems that everything I review lately comes from a recommendation from a tweet. Today is no different, but it’s definitely one worth mentioning.

In my iTunes library, I have a bunch of CDs that don’t have album art. Keep in mind that I have a lot of obscure stuff that iTunes doesn’t recognize anyway. I have to manually fat-finger in the album title, artist, and track titles. That gets seriously tedious. Also, it won’t find the album artwork, so even when I get done entering everything, I’m still without a pretty picture to associate with the CD.

Enter TuneUp Media. This is seriously like the Blarney stone of music. To be upfront and honest, it does cost: $30 for the unlimited use; $20 for one year of use, and free if you have a 100-song library. The free version is almost an insult. Who has a 100-song library …? Even my mother in law has more than that. That’s the equivalent of ~10 CDs.

I obtained the unlimited use version. Once it installs, you have to create an account and use the license key provided at the time of purchase to activate it. After that, you’re up and running, and the fun begins.

It’s not flawless, but it’s pretty close. I had almost 500 CDs that didn’t have cover art prior to installing TuneUp. After it ran the Cover Art clean and scrub, I was left with only 80 CDs without cover art. These are CDs like Nitin Sawhney: Spiritual Life Music, various concert recordings that don’t have an official title, Centipede E’est, Deathmole … those kinds of CDs. Everything else was covered!

You can also clean up your ID3 tags rapid-fire. The software will search high and low to find the CD information and fill in the gaps, like track number, track title, CD title, and artist. If I’m right, it kind of works like a private investigator works: you give it what little information you have, and it finds the rest. Say you have 3 or 4 track titles, but no artist or CD title. Based on those 3 or 4 tracks, it can scour whatever database it uses, find the right CD, and fill in the blanks. Pretty cool, eh?!

If you click on the Tuniverse tab, you’ll find a wealth of information about the artist currently playing. I clicked on a-ha’s “Take On Me,” and I got a brief wikipedia synopsis and eBay auctions for various merchandise. Other available datapoints include YouTube videos, album recommendations, news, concert notifications … this thing is slick.

My favorite tab is the Concerts tab. TuneUp scours your library and reports on what concerts are coming up in your area. So far, I have concerts listed for Elephant Revival, Eisley, St. Vincent, My Chemical romance and Neon Trees (joint bill), The Joy Formidable, Arcade Fire, Deftones, Yanni, Of Montreal, and U2. That’s just amazing. And we’re not talking shows at major venues; locally, we’re talking Kilby Court, In the Venue, and The Depot (one of my favorite venues of all time).

Under the Share tab, you can post your last 5 songs played, Songs Most played, Top Artists in Collection, and Favorite Artists to Facebook. Not seeing any Twitter connectivity … maybe that’s down the road. I don’t know.

Anyway, yah. This thing is wicked awesome. I highly recommend ponying up the $30 and making this a long-term companion to your media player of choice (read: of the two it currently supports).

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