General Question

johnny's avatar

How can I get my iTunes Genius to recognize all of the songs in my library?

Asked by johnny (335points) August 31st, 2010

So I recently got like 65 GBs of music that i transfered from my friends’ iPods to my HP laptop. (Which if you didn’t know you could do, it’s pretty bitchin’.) But none of that music is recognized by the Genius in iTunes, because when I try it gives me a message that the music I’m trying to make a Genius playlist fo,r was not imported using iTunes, and that I should try impoting the song again using iTunes, which I took as, “buy the song using iTunes.” Is there anyway to get the Genius to recognize the 65 GBs worth of music so that I can create genius playlists for all of my library?

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8 Answers

BarnacleBill's avatar

I suspect that it’s because how you obtained the music meets the description of pirated music, and iTunes doesn’t recognize pirated music. I had the same problem with a few older mix CDs that I added to my library.

Edit: Genius works with music purchased on Amazon.

jaytkay's avatar

I think (this is kind of a guess) that you can only start a Genius list from a song which can be purchased from iTunes. You can rip it yourself, but it has to be available in the iTunes store.

I ran into that problem a couple of times but don’t spend enough times with iTunes to confirm my theory.

80% of my iTunes library is ripped from my CDs. It isn’t purchased from Apple, but it’s legal. The other 20% are legit purchases from Apple and Amazon or freebies.

Even with a legal library I sometimes cannot seed a Genius list.

blah_blah's avatar

@BarnacleBill is totally wrong. I have over 80 Gigs in itunes of music. 1 song was bought from iTunes. 10% are from CD’s. The rest is stolen. Genius works fine.

It is possible that most of your songs have botched ID3 tags. That will fuck with your genius stuff since it sends that data off to the server to figure out the playlist. Garbage in garbage out.

robmandu's avatar

(agrees with @blah_blah)

iTunes Genius feature works with any identifiable music file from any source that iTunes can play.

It might be that, for example, the music you imported as MP3s don’t have artist/album/title information that matches anything in the Genius database on Apple’s servers. This might not be obvious, especially if you used some unsupported rip-from-iPod copy scheme and wrote direct to the local iTunes db.

To be clear, Apple’s iTunes Music Store doesn’t even sell DRM music any more… so there’s nothing checking for “pirated” files.

@johnny, how exactly did you import the files? Did you import them at all the “normal” way? Or did your rip from iPod process do something “magical” behind the scenes? Did you try the Consolidate Library function?

johnny's avatar

@blah_blah, Is there anyway to fix the botched ID3 tags?

@robmandu, As far as the artist/album/title, it’s not like I’m downloading shit from native Indians or somethin. It’s popular peeps that play on the radio and what not. I imported the files by making all the hidden files on the iPod appear in the iPod’s music folder. It’s a pretty simple process that Apple doesn’t tell you can do. But I might try the consolidate thing you were talking about.

Thanks for the help dudes.

robmandu's avatar

@johnny, I guess what I’m asking you is if the artist/album/title of the songs are actually present? Or do all of the tracks just say “Unknown Artist”, “Unknown Album”, that kind of thing.

If I understand the technique you describe, you simply performed an OS-level copy of files from the iPod and dropped them directly into the iTunes Media (or iTunes Music) folder on your PC. If so, then iTunes itself didn’t place them there, and hence, it did not get a chance to process the description data from the files for its own local database. In essence, while iTunes can “see” the music you added, it wasn’t properly notified.

iTunes communicates with Genius based on what is has on record in its database, not based on the physical music files themselves directly. So… if you can:

1. Pull the new music folders out of your PC’s iTunes Media (or iTunes Music) folder and place them on your Desktop or someplace obvious.

2. Open iTunes. Click the Edit menu, select Preferences. Open the Advanced tab. Make sure you check the boxes for “Keep iTunes Media folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library”. Click OK to close the prefs dialog.

3. Drag your new music from your Desktop and drop it on the “Library” item in iTunes left-side panel.

4. When the import is complete, iTunes will have made a new copy of your music and saved it in its Media (Music) folder as well as registered the pertinent descriptive info in its local database.

5. You can trash the music files on your Desktop. They’re redundant now.

6. Genius should work now. If needed, go to the Store menu in iTunes and select “Update Genius” so it can share its new info with Apple’s servers and get new recommendations.

lonelydragon's avatar

There isn’t a way that I’m aware of, though if there is, I’d be happy to hear about it. I can’t get Genius to recognize CD’s that I bought, paid for, and imported into iTunes. It won’t work with my Amazon music, either. I get an error message every time.

ETA: Just saw the response above mine, so there is a way. D’oh!

musicmeister's avatar

All you have to do is go to and make sure all the info is the same there as the info in the “get info” when you right click on the album in iTunes. First go to “get info” for the album in iTunes and clear everything but the track number and the artist: including the artwork…then go to amazon, make sure the info is the same and then “get album artwork” in iTunes. If iTunes is able to get the artwork, then it is recognized by their server and should work with “Genius” after you update it.

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