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I have a rather large music collection organized like music/<artist>/<album>/<track>-<title>.<fmt>, mostly mp3. However, the tagging is rather inconsistent, as on the PC or with better old players (Cowon D2+) I don't care and use the filesystem view.

However, in the iTunes this all gets messed up because it doesn't care about file locations and looks at tags. What's worse though, it consistently splits compilations into single-track artist-albums.

So, is there a way to take the existing filesystem artist-album structure and bring it to the form compatible with iTunes/iPod? Again, I don't care about tags.

Automated approach is most welcome, but at least please direct me to some document specifying all the little details about iTunes' metadata requirement for compilations.

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I would highly suggest organizing your tags first. Not only it makes things "neat", it brings you the power of creating all kinds of libraries and playlist including dynamic playlists in the software players like Foobar. There is lots of software that can automate tag organization, i use "Tag&Rename", that can mine your folder structure and create tags based on that. Given the fact that your folder structure looks very well organized, it will be very easy to setup any software to write tags to all your music files automatically. Plus tags will aid you in what you're trying to achieve. – RusI Oct 5 '13 at 12:23
@RusI this should be an answer, might well become accepted one :) – ansgri Oct 6 '13 at 19:01
I did not want this to be the answer to your question, since i really did not answer it. Just some suggestions how to aid you in what you're trying to achieve. I will try and answer this question though when i get to my other PC with iTunes on it. – RusI Oct 7 '13 at 9:41
  1. Grab a free software Mp3Tag. Import all your files into it.
  2. It has an option to write ID3 tags from filename and you can specify what format is the filename is in.
  3. The format string in your case would be <music dir path>/%artist%/%album%/%track%-%title%
  4. It will do it for all files that support ID3 tags. And you're all set.

Here's help page if you need more tag names:

PS: Test the method with a small part of your collection first as things can always go awry.

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One of the options of navigating your iPod using folder structure is to use "alternative" firmware, like Rockbox . But it only supports specific iPod models.

From their website:

Rockbox runs well on these players, has a complete manual and is supported by the installer: iPod 1g through 5.5g, iPod Mini, iPod Nano 1g

Rockbox runs on these players, but is incomplete, less usable or has problems that limit it to advanced users: iPod Nano 2g

Work has begun on porting Rockbox to these players, but much remains before they are usable: Apple iPod Classic (6G)

It fully supports both folder\file navigation and "metadata" navigation (akin to iTunes). But using RockBox lets you completely bypass iTunes, iPod is detected as a removable disk and you transfer files just like to\from any removable disc.

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unfortunately, I have Nano 7g – ansgri Oct 6 '13 at 19:00

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