I recently experienced an issue where every time I launched iTunes it insisted on “Determining gapless playback information”. That wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t freeze iTunes for 2 minutes while it scanned 25 or so files every time. This was such a terrible experience I was quickly looking for alternative ways to manage my media.
If you’re not familiar with gapless playback, it’s the iTunes way of making your music library play like a CD without unintended gaps of silence between tracks. Apple has an explanation here.
After a while, I noticed iTunes kept scanning the same set of files and I began to suspect some of my MP3 files might be corrupted from a misbehaving NAS I once owned. I had ripped hundreds of discs and really didn’t want to spend time doing that again. Looking for a way to check my files, I came across this great tool called MP3 Validator for Mac OS X.
It found issues in about 80% of my files. Since I had a good backup (albeit of apparently corrupted files), I took the plunge and let it auto-repair my library. Now, iTunes starts up like a champ!
Since these corrupted files appear to be what caused the issue in my case, I would have liked to have seen iTunes:
- Run gapless playback analysis at low-priority in the background. There’s just no excuse to freeze the app for this feature. [Must have]
- Notify me with a warning message that gapless analysis couldn’t be determined on a file because it appears to be corrupted. [Should have]
- Offer to backup and repair the corrupted file. [Nice to have]