New Selective Tag Blindness in iTunes

After having "upgraded" to iTunes last week, I'm finding that iTunes can't or won't read sorting tags (ARTISTSORT, ALBUMARTISTSORT, ALBUMSORT, etc).

Before adding music to iTunes, I run the tracks through MP3TAG to ensure that the tags are synched with MusicBrainz and/or Discogs. In the past, I've had no issues with these tags being read properly by iTunes, but since I upgraded, I can't manage to make them read.

Seeing the problem on newly imported files, I went ahead and looked at the files in MP3TAG again. The tags were as I wanted them, it's just that iTunes wasn't seeing them. As all of the files I've added in the last week were ALAC, I went ahead and used the Optimize MP4 command, but got nothing on the iTunes side.

I've tried all the "normal" iTunes side tricks to force iTunes to look at the tags, including opening "Get Info" (nothing), resetting play count (nothing again) and consolidating files (again, nothing).

I've looked in the forums here and elsewhere to see if there's a widely reported change that could account for this, but I've seen nothing. I thought we'd finally gotten past these issues with last year's changes to the Artist Sort tags, but here we are...

Any suggestions, advice, etc would be hugely appreciated.

Of course, if I'm an idiot and missing something obvious, please point that out as well. :unsure:


This seems to be again another iTunes Bug, I did some small tests and it seems that iTunes doesn't (re)-read those particular Tag's from the Audio file, but just reads the info from it's own database without updating or amending it with info from within the Audio File.

I think the only way to circumvent this, is delete the file from within iTunes (keep the file) and enter the info with Mp3tag, and the re-import the file in iTunes. Or ...... do it with iTunes itself.

Mp3tag can't control the info in the *.ITL file, and there is no point in editing the .XML file as it is merely a loose copy of the ITL.

I'm glad ( :flushed: ) to see this isn't just me. The downside is that, whereas in the past, iTunes would, at least, read the tags on being first loaded, it's not even doing that now. Were it not for my wife's insistence of having Apple products throughout the house, I'd be switching over to another playback/inventory option ASAP.

Thanks for confirming my fears.


Alright. If anyone's still reading this thread, I've done a bit more research (and installed the latest iTunes update to

This is what's happening, best as I can tell:

  • MP3 and AAC files added to iTunes have their tags read properly.
  • ALAC files' tags are not being read by iTunes.
  • iTunes behavior is the same no matter whether the ALAC files' tags were generated prior to conversion (when they were FLAC) or after (being converted to ALAC).
  • Tags edited in iTunes appear as additional tags (with the same names) when these files are reviewed in MP3Tag. This leads me to believe the issue isn't with any changes to iTunes tag nomenclature.
  • Primary tags (i.e. Artist, Title, Track, Album) continue to be read normally by iTunes.
  • Embedded album art continues to be read properly by iTunes.

So, I'm still stumped. Right now, I'm just trying to update files as I add them to iTunes, but this is hugely annoying and, absent a solution in the not too distant future, will require me to rethink my home entertainment system hardware choices (not high on my "to do list"! :angry: ).

I've included a screen grab that shows what a couple of files (one MP3, one ALAC) look like in both MP3TAG and iTunes.

@ mallthus:

I use ALBUMSORT extensively (to control the display order of albums in iTunes). I also use COMPOSERSORT (for classical music), but not ARTISTSORT.

After seeing your post, I checked to see if iTunes had started ignoring any of these sorting tags. I'm running iTunes, and I'm not experiencing that issue at all. If I do add a new ALBUMSORT tag in mp3tag, the "Get Info" trick forces iTunes to read & use it properly.

I wonder if this was a bug that's already been fixed in subsequent updates? Have you tried updating iTunes?

Just to be clear, you are using ALAC files? The OP noted that he had no issues with mp3 or AAC files.

Thanks for your response. Yes, this issue is with ALAC files only. I don't use the ALBUMSORT tag very often, reserving it for "The" fixes and getting multi-disc albums to sort properly, so I hadn't noticed that it's working. ARTISTSORT and ALBUMARTISTSORT fields, which I use extensively (both for first name/last name fixes and for Western sorting of artists with names shown in their native alphabets continue not to work.

I'm fearful that this is an issue peculiar to my iTunes installation and my 100K song + library.

Finally, for reasons I can't explain, iTunes just started to play nice with new ALAC tags. Don't know why, but it's working.

Thanks for the suggestions and help.

Yes. Exclusively.