Product: TuneUp Digital Music Management and Music Discovery for iTunes
Price: Free to try, $19.95 (Yearly License) or $29.95 (Lifetime License)
Our iTunes music library is pretty much a mess. No cover art. Untagged songs as far as we can see. Oh, TuneUp, will you be the one to save our music collection so we can stop being the laughing stock at our fancy dinner parties?
If you're like us, you've accumulated quite the collection over the years. We grew up in the days of Napster, stumbled on AudioGalaxy, and finally settled on iTunes as our primary organizer of our music. As a result from all these transitions, our music collection is a mess. Tunes are mislabeled with incorrect titles, with wrong "The's" in front of band names, and many without any ID3 tags at all. What a mess. This is where clever tools like TuneUp come in.
Basically, it works like this: TuneUp grabs your library's metadata and nabs missing info from Gracenote's Global Media Database. Then it provides you with the appropriate album art, song titles, and even a contextually aware suggestion tab giving you music videos, band info, and concerts in your local area. If you love music as much as we do, TuneUp's an excellent way to keep up to date via an application interface without having to stray too far away from your iTunes collection.
As for the installation, we have no complaints here. A quick run through our messed up music collection and we ran the numbers. What we got was an 85% success rate. Not too shabby. Heck, after a while, we found it kind of fun... you know, cleaning up our music collection and all. It's the same feeling you get when you shie up your iPhone from the day's smudges. Who would've thought one can get kicks out of something like this?
A few little things that bugged us were 1) the menu bar icon didn't have an alternative dock icon to fit in with the rest of the icons (yeah, we're a bit obsessive), 2) the preferences icon does not make any sense (... <- Yeah, that's the icon), and finally, 3) (Which gets its own paragraph!)...
We're normally not one to suggest a different monetizing model, but there are sites out there like Hype Machine and Last.FM who have similar means of acquiring info on bands and exploring new music for free. Winamp (for PC) also features auto-tagging options for, guess what, free. Having to cough up a few extra bucks a year for information seems a little steep in this day in age. We understand what you're primarily paying for is the "Cleaning" feature, but why not just charge users that buy tickets through your local concerts tab as support? Also, since it appears TuneUp is already providing means to quickly buy music through the suggestions tab, wouldn't having more users utilize your program mean money in the long run?
But perhaps that's just all nitpicking on our part. TuneUp is a great concept that we really, really love. While it seems to work only 85% of the time, there's no doubt in our mind that it's better than nothing. No longer shall we feel ashamed when throwing up our music on Plex on the big screen only get gain comments from friends like, "Man, you really got that iTunes collection in order, don't you?" And we'll respond, "Oh, yeah. I'm just that kind of guy." (Or girl).
Pros: Fun to use. Pretty darn accurate. Easy to navigate.
Cons: A couple questionable UI design decisions. Somewhat steep price for information.