Finding mp3 Duplicates Efficiently

My method for deleting duplicate songs in iTunes, is to click Show Duplicates in my library, create Size and Bit Rate columns and sort by Size. Songs with the same song length will appear next to each other in order. Unless there is something that makes the one with inferior bit rate (such as 128kbps rather than 192kbps) worth keeping, I delete it.

However, if there are a lot of songs with the same song length say 2:41, then the identical song titles could be spaced apart within that grouping. Hence the second method I apply sometimes – same as above except sorted by song Name. Songs with the same name will appear side by side, then I look to bit rate to see which is better (but I listen as well since there are other factors in ripping quality). I also consider the song length as there may be an extra 5 seconds at the start or end of  a song, or radio edit with a 30 second difference that I may want to keep.

I like to have songs marked with (live) in the name for live performances, but if it’s not there there yet then you might delete the song by accident. Watch for “Live” in the album (or set a filter for this), or look for big differences in song lengths or years.

Note you can create a smart playlist of songs with “live” in the album title and exlcude this from the list that you apply Show Duplicates to. Similarly, for duplicate removal or just organising purposes, you can create a playlist of songs with “acoustic” in the Name, Album or Genre.

Instead of following the menu dialogues each time for Remove or Cancel, followed by delete or keep orignal, I rather set Name of a song to delete, or Artist to delete for a selection.

This is also helpful because if I apply Show Duplicates to a plain or smart playlist, I can’t delete the song off my disk from there. So I mark it as delete, then later in my library I find a whole lot matching that word and remove them from iTunes and the disk.


Playlisting and Shuffling

As someone who loves music and getting the most out of software, I decided to explain how I have set up smart filters in iTunes so that the iTunes DJ (aka Party Shuffle) randomly plays songs I probably haven’t heard but will also probably like.

Background info:

  • The music comes mostly from CDs ripped on my father’s computer and iTunes collection.
  • Stored on my Seagate terrabyte (1000GB) external hard drive, along with my photos, as my laptop is limited.
  • A mixture of bands  from those I know well to not at all.
  • Genres ranging from rock, punk and metal to ska, blues and classical.


I enjoy a lot of music but I am not always in the mood for 60s music (with old recording quality) or hard rock. So I have a GENERAL smart playlist which is my whole library exclusding music from certain normal playlists I have compiled such as BLUES and METAL. Regardless of the genre columns, if I find a song in GENERAL that belongs in BLUES, I drag it there and it also disappears from GENERAL. There is no overlap.

Then I created an Unrated ’70+ playlist. Conditions:

  • Playlist is GENERAL or  TRYOUT sort (not yet allocated to a genre playlist).
  • Rating is unrated
  • Year is greater than 1970.


My iTunes DJ is set up with Source as the Unrated ’70+ playlist.

I leave the DJ playing in the background while working on my laptop and if I notice a song I want to rate, I give it a 3 or 4 out of 5 usually. It will continue to play once rated, but because of the condition mentioned above it will disappear from Unrated ’70+ playlist and such will not play again in iTunes DJ.

So I get to listen to a lot of songs fitting in GENERAL and easy to listen to, and that I haven’t yet properly listened to and rated before. I figure that I want to spend more time listeing to songs I don’t know than just playing the songs rated 4 stars and above, which I get tired of if I listen to too often.