fixing album artist on an ipod classic

Years ago Apple added the “Album Artist” field to iTunes, immediately solving the problem of grouping albums containing tracks with featured artists. For metadata anal-retentives like myself certain albums (rap mixtapes, collaborative albums, split singles) live in this grey area between single-artist albums and compilations. Just because I Got That Work has a featured artist on almost every track does not make it a compilation—it’s decidedly a work of Big Tymers—Psych Funk 101 is a compilation.

Album Artist works great for this, but unfortunately doesn’t work on any of the iPod Classics, which I use in my car, so albums formatted this way clutter the artist list with an entry for every combination of featured artist. My solution is to move featured artists out of the Artist field and into the Track Name.

So I wrote a JXA script to make this easier:

To install:

  1. Open Script Editor (/Applications/Utilities/Script Editor.app)
  2. Create ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts if it doesn’t exist.
  3. Copy the code into a new Document. Make sure that the JavaScript script language is selected:

    script type

  4. Save it as an Application File Format in that scripts folder.

To use:

  1. Select some tracks in iTunes and select start the script from the script menu in the menu bar.
  2. The script will prompt you for a Regular Expression with which to strip out the featured artist and move it to the Artist field. It’s prefilled with beets‘ default syntax.


  3. Behold your manageable iPod.