iTunes reported to be unavailable

iTunes functionality halted on Tuesday 13th and some users are still experiencing a disruptions to their iTunes usage, as reported by 9to5mac. The Apple System Status Page was recently updated, stating that tracking issues with iCloud, Apple stores and other Apple Service may ongoing for certain users. The message on the Apple System Status Page stated:

“Users are experiencing a problem with the service listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available.”

The disruption to service has yet to be resolved. Issues were experienced by users from the 12th, however the Apple System Status Page was not updated until the 13th. This comes as one of many recent Apple service outages, causing many disgruntled Apple fans.

iTunes Working for Most

The iTunes store is working for the vast majority of users, although certain disruptions have been reported including a non-functional Siri, non-responsive iTunes store and cloud services will not establish a connection for certain users. Even though the update was late it is likely that Apple has been attending to the problem since it originated, as service has been restored in the majority.

How to remove the free U2 album from iTunes and iPhone

Apple recently automatically gave everyone with iTunes a free copy of U2’s new album “Songs of Innocence,” but many people are actually up in arms about this digital intrusion. Some simply are not fans or even follow that genre of music.

Apple will not let you delete the album but it is easy to hide the album in iTunes. In fact you may not even see the album at first in your library if you don’t have “Show All Music” setting enabled.

Heres how to hide the album from iTunes:
  1. Open iTunes
  2. Navigate to the iTunes Store
  3. Click on Purchased under Quick Links
  4. Locate U2’s “Songs of Innocence”
  5. Hover and Click the X in the upper-left-hand corner of the album

That album is now hidden in iTunes, but you’ll still see it on your iPhone because of the “Show All Music” setting we mentioned earlier.

Lets take a look at how to fix that on your iPhone:
  1. On your iPhone, navigate to Settings
  2. Select Music
  3. Turn off Show All Music

Done! Enjoy your U2 free iPhone and iTunes.

How to delete duplicate songs in iTunes

Over time, we as fastidious music collectors, obtain album after album of songs from our favorite artists, just to discover that we already had that song in our iTunes library. If that sounds familiar, here’s how you can go about deleting duplicate songs in iTunes for Mac.

Note: In order for this process to work, you must be in “Song” view. It will not work in Album or Artist view.

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. In the file menu, Click View.
  3. Next, click Show Duplicate Items.
  4. iTunes will now do a ton of work for you, and will display just the songs that are named exactly the same.

Now here comes the tedious part. Instead of showing only one copy of each song, it shows both (or however many copies you have) copies. So you’ll have to go through each one and select the copy you want to delete from your library.

  1. Hold down the Command key, and select each title that you want to delete.
  2. Once you’ve selected everything you want to delete, simply drag it to the trash in the Dock.
  3. Empty the Trash by right clicking on the Trash icon and selecting Empty.

You’ll want to be careful. A few artist are fond of releasing songs that are named the same title as other songs, but have a different beat or mix. iTunes won’t be able to tell the difference. So you could delete a song even if it isn’t the same. So, to fix this problem, iTunes has a function that lets you find and delete only exact copies of particular songs. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. In the file menu, Click View.
  3. Hold down the Option key. You’ll see the item that used to say “Show Duplicate Items” change to Show Exact Duplicate Items. Click it.
  4. Now instead of showing you every song that is named the same, it’ll show you ones that are exactly the same, down to the file size, and beat.
  5. Like in the other process, hold down the Command key, and select the songs you no longer want to keep.
  6. Drag them to the Trash container in the Dock.
  7. Empty the Trash by right clicking on the Trash icon and selecting Empty.

And that’s it! It’s a very simple way of discovering duplicate tracks in your music library. There are tons of apps out there that do similar things, and offer fine-grained control over what is considered a duplicate. So if you don’t have success with this built in method, simply search the Mac App Store for “Duplicates” and you should be able to find an app to suit your needs.

Apple bringing iTunes Festival to SXSW

Since 2007, Apple has put on a live concert series each year, under the moniker “iTunes Festival”. The concerts are free to go to, and are also streamed for free on all Apple devices, including the Mac and Apple TV. The concerts have always been held in London, where it has seen enormous success with over 400,000 visitors since 2007.

2014 will be the first year where the concert series is held outside of London. This year it will happen March 11-15 at SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, Texas. The event will be held at the Moody Theatre in downtown Austin.

From the press release:

“The iTunes Festival in London has become an incredible way for Apple to share its love of music with our customers,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We’re excited about the incredible lineup of artists performing and SXSW is the perfect place to debut the first iTunes Festival in the US.”

Musical Guests

Over the years, the iTunes Festival has had several of the biggest names in music perform on stage, including Justin Timberlake, Brittany Spears, and Lady Gaga. This year the Festival will include Coldplay, Pittbull, Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban, and Zedd, with additional acts to be announced later.


In the tech-sphere we mostly know SXSW as a technology party where startups can show off their stuff to potential investors and the public. A ton of brands have launched and/or gotten popular at SXSW over the years including Twitter and Foursquare.

That SXSW is just part of the actual event, a separate event is put on for music related quests, and another for film. This will be, perhaps, the first year the music event overshadows the tech event, at least in the tech press.

SXSW starts March 7 and goes to March 16.

Can’t Make it to Austin?

Getting to Austin can be a huge pain, and once you do get there you’ll have to put up with hundreds of thousands of people wandering the streets, and attending the events. If you can’t get there or don’t want to deal with the crowds, Apple will be streaming the event live and on demand for people who use their platforms.

It can be done through iTunes on the Mac, or through the dedicated iTunes Festival app on the iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. Apple streams all the events for free. They started the event in order to bring more traffic and sales to their iTunes music store, and (according to Apple) to give back to the fans of music and Apple.

Record songs from iTunes Radio with this new Mac App

It’s hard to tell whether or not Apple’s iTunes Radio has been a success. They haven’t announced numbers beyond the first weekend, so who knows how it’s really doing. For those of you who do use the service, which can be accessed through iTunes on the Mac, doubleTwist has released a new Mac app, called AirPlay Recorder, which allows you to record songs played on iTunes Radio for later listening.

What the App Does

Basically the way it works is by tricking iTunes into thinking the app is an AirPlay device. Which then causes the music to go to the app, which then records it. It’s very simple, and probably very illegal (more on that later). Each track is saved in your music folder in a specialized “Recorder” folder that can then be transferred directly into iTunes.

This marks the second time that doubleTwist has released an app to rip songs from iTunes Radio. They released an Android app in January, which basically does the same thing; only it does the recording on an Android device instead of directly on the Mac.

DoubleTwist AirPlay Recorder
Legally Speaking

What the app does is cool, no doubt, and it is most definitely useful to start a huge collection of music, the question is whether it’s legal or not. While we’re no lawyers here, it seems unlikely that it follows the letter of the law.

The developers claim it is legal because in the US radio and TV are available under the Fair Use clause of copyright law. “We are based in the US where recording radio and TV for personal use has been protected under fair use for decades,” writes the developer on their Google Play app page.

Of course, this takes a pretty liberal view of what radio really is. iTunes Radio isn’t exactly radio as we knew it 20 years ago before the Internet became popular.

Will the App Survive?

That’s the question isn’t it? Technologically speaking can Apple block an App like this without blocking legitimate AirPlay receivers? It would seem the only way is if they somehow have a way to block certain receivers, which is of course possible, knowing Apple.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds to this, or if they will respond at all. If they have a way of blocking it, they will for sure. If they don’t have a way, chances are nothing will be said about it from Cupertino.

The AirPlay Recorder app costs $9.99, and is available on the doubleTwist website. It does have a free trial version, but will only record the first 10 seconds of each track until you make the purchase. It’s quite expensive, but since you’ll save money on buying CDs from iTunes, you’ll make it up in no time.