MPFreaker is an information gathering tool. Using a variety of sources around the internet, MPFreaker will automatically look up information to fill the holes in your music library such as album name, genre, track number, year, and album artwork. These information ‘tags’ are then stored inside your song files in a standard way and become available for any music software (such as iTunes™) or MP3/AAC playing device (such as an iPod™) that can use the information.
MPFreaker has two modes of operation:
Simple Mode: Drag music files (or folders containing them) to the MPFreaker icon and it will automatically start gathering information for them. In this simple mode, MPFreaker will try to add any information that is missing, and will never attempt to overwrite existing information. While it is processing, you can continue to drag more files and folders to the MPFreaker icon. If MPFreaker is launched in this manner, it will automatically quit when it finishes processing the dragged files.
Advanced Mode: Launch MPFreaker without drag-and-dropping items on its icon in order to start it normally, and continue through this help to learn more.
You can use the Source pop-up menu on the toolbar to choose a directory or your iTunes Library. Additionally, if iTunes is currently running, all of your playlists are available in this menu for selection as a source of songs.
If you create or delete playlists in iTunes while MPFreaker is running, you'll need to “Refresh Playlists List” from MPFreaker's File menu before working with them here.
The Search field lets you type in a word or phrase with which to filter your song list. By clicking on the magnifying glass, you can choose whether to search Song Information (title, artist, album, etc.) or Song Lyrics. Naturally, your songs will need lyrics in order to have something to find, so you should add lyrics for your songs which lack them first.
Terms you type in this field are treated the same way as they are by iTunes; typing multiple words tells MPFreaker that it should include any results which contain all of the words, though not necessarily as a phrase.
The Lyrics Inspector window will also highlight your terms in yellow to make them easily noticed.
The Songs List
The largest area in MPFreaker's window, the main songs list shows all songs found in the selected songs source. You can click column headers to change the sort order, double-click many items to manually edit them, and select songs for which you want to automatically gather information with the green traffic-light 'Begin' button on the toolbar. Note that sorting by the Lyrics column is not possible until iTunes has completely parsed every song file in the selected source. This happens in the background and may take several minutes the first time for your entire iTunes Library.
The “Cmp” Column
Less self-explanatory is the Compilation column, which indicates if a song is part of a compilation album. Only songs which appear upon an album that consists of multiple artists (such as most movie soundtracks) should have this checkbox turned on; having this checkbox on or off inappropriately will usually prevent MPFreaker from finding useful results.
After selecting a number of songs in the main songs list, you can start MPFreaker's information gathering process by clicking the ‘Begin’ button on the toolbar.
MPFreaker will proceed to search for information which can be added to the selected songs in a completely automatic fashion. You can continue to browse through your music, selecting more songs and clicking the same button to ‘Add’ more music to the queue. You can even change sources without disrupting MPFreaker's information gathering, though you will need to keep MPFreaker running.
The detail drawer on the bottom of the MPFreaker window contains an artwork view, lookup fields with overwrite buttons, a song progress bar, and the log.
If you have one or more songs selected in the main list of songs, you can browse, remove, or add (by drag-and-drop) artwork to the selection. If one or more selected songs has iTunes-downloaded unembedded artwork, you may choose to embed the artwork here so that applications outside of iTunes can use the artwork.
Here you can control what information MPFreaker will try to automatically fill in. Checked items will be searched for, if missing from the song in question. If the ‘Overwrite’ checkbox is selected, MPFreaker will attempt to get the information even if it is already set in the song in question, and if successful will replace the existing information. Note that if you have Artwork overwrite enabled and album cover artwork for a given song is found it will replace any and all artwork previously contained in the song. Also note that the ‘Album’ field lets you choose between ‘Oldest’ and ‘Most Common’ modes; if a given song by a given artist is found on multiple album names on a particular internet database, this control specifies which album name MPFreaker will prefer. Take care when using Overwrite, particularly for Song Titles. An overwritten song title will be incorrect if your artist, album name and track name are not all correct.
Allow Partial Matches
With this option turned on, MPFreaker will accept partial matches for song, artist, and album titles during its searches. For example, your song entitled “Peter Gunn” will only match the properly entitled “Peter Gunn (featuring Duane Eddy)” if you allow partial matches. Beware, as your song will then also match “The Peter Gunn Mambo”, but this is not a problem unless the incorrect match is also by the same artist as your song, or if your song is marked as being part of a compilation. For this reason, this feature is not recommended for locating information on remixes and live versions — you don’t want your song “Innocente (DJ Tiesto Mix)” by Delerium treated as if it were the original “Innocente”.
Under normal circumstances, MPFreaker searches for information about your songs on one internet source at a time, until matching information is located. With “Deep search’ enabled, MPFreaker will search all of its sources simultaneously, and only when all searches have completed will MPFreaker apply the results of the search. Deep searches will not find results when a standard search didn’t find any — but Deep searches may end with more reliable results. The down side is that Deep searches can take much more time than standard MPFreaker searches.
This indicator displays progress for the necessary information gathering for a particular song. Because MPFreaker may need to access more than one internet database to find song information, this progress bar may jump backwards on occasion.
When MPFreaker is able to add information to a song, or encounters a problem, it is noted in this list. Added information is shown in blue, problems are shown in red, and completed group summaries are shown in green. Of particular interest is when you already have an album name specified for a song but MPFreaker is looking for more information; if the album is found but that song title does not appear to belong to it, a list of the songs actually contained on the album is added to the log, and no information may be added to the song. MPFreaker will continue to look elsewhere for information, and may later find the specified album with your song title on it.
The Lyrics Inspector
There is only one Lyrics Inspector window, and its contents change based upon what you have selected in the main list of songs. Whenever a single song is selected there, you can view and edit the song’s lyrics in this window. If you have used the search field to find a word or phrase in your lyrics, it will be highlighted here. You can reveal the Lyrics Inspector window by clicking the Lyrics button on the toolbar or by choosing it from the View menu.
You can also remove lyrics from the selected tracks with a button at the top of this window.
In MPFreaker’s Preferences window you can adjust settings which affect MPFreaker’s overall behavior. Aside from the “Keep iTunes updated” feature, these settings should be self explanatory. “Keep iTunes updated” ensures that for every change MPFreaker makes to a song file, it will communicate with iTunes in order to ensure that it knows about the change. For people with obscenely large music libraries, this process can get quite slow. Turning this feature off will speed things up, but at the cost of preventing iTunes from noticing any of MPFreaker’s changes until you later select and deselect an affected song in iTunes, at which point it will notice that the song file has been modified and will take notice of the new information within.
After loading a list of songs from a directory or playlist, MPFreaker may present you with a list of songs which appear to have corrupted song information. These are songs that iTunes will quite happily use, but cannot be reliably modified outside of iTunes. Previous versions of MPFreaker would go ahead and work with these songs, despite the fact that iTunes will often ignore any changes that outside programs make to these songs. In MPFreaker, the solution is to rebuild the information tags in these songs by selecting them and clicking the Rebuild button in this window. This will remove any malformed information, plus other information that iTunes does not itself use, from the selected song files.
This will usually clear up the problem, although iTunes may on occasion re-insert the removed song information back into the file at some point. If this happens you may wish to take more extreme measures: select the song(s) in iTunes, control-click or right-click them, select “Convert ID3 Tags...”, and change them to ID3 tag version “None”. OK it, then do the same thing again, setting them to ID3 tag version 2.3. You will lose some advanced tag information by doing this (such as artwork, grouping, composer...) but your song info will end up clean and problem-free, ready to be MPFreaked. Indeed, if any of your songs show different information in iTunes than they show in MPFreaker, this is usually the solution.