What To Do When iTunes Doesn't Have CD Names for Your Music

when iTunes can't find CD names
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MP3s aren't the only things that usually come into iTunes when you import a CD. You also get the names of the songs, artists, and album, too. Sometimes, though, you’ll rip a CD in iTunes and find that you’ve just got “Track 1,” “Track 2,” etc. on an unnamed album by the ever-popular “Unknown Artist” (I prefer their early work, personally). Sometimes you even just get a blank space where the artist or album name should be.

If you've ever seen this happen, you may wonder what causes it and how to fix it. Well, read on.

Why iTunes Sometimes Lacks CD Information

In order to identify and include the names of songs, artists, and albums when you rip a CD, iTunes uses a service called GraceNote (formerly known as the CDDB). GraceNote is a massive database of album information that can tell one CD from another using math. When you insert a CD into your computer, iTunes sends information about the CD to GraceNote, which then supplies the information about the songs on that CD to iTunes.

When you don't get any song or CD names in iTunes, that's due to GraceNote not sending any information to iTunes. This can happen for a few reasons:

  • The CD is from a very small record label, is obscure, or is self-published. Albums like that may not be included in GraceNote’s database
  • You’re importing a mix CD that didn’t have this information included on it when it was created
  • Your computer isn’t connected to the internet when you rip the CD into iTunes. GraceNote needs a web connection to download information to you.

RELATED: How to Burning CDs Using iTunes

Getting CD Information from GraceNote in iTunes

If you’re not getting any song, artist, or album information when you insert a CD, stop what you're doing.

Don't import the CD yet. Check your internet connection. If it's not working, re-establish the connection, insert the CD again, and see if you have song info. If you do, proceed with ripping the CD.

If you've already imported the CD and are missing all its information, you may still be able to get it from GraceNote. To do that:

  1. Make sure you're connected to the internet
  2. Single click the songs you want to get information for 
  3. Click the File menu
  4. Click Library
  5. Click Get Track Names
  6. iTunes contacts GraceNote. If it can match the song, it automatically adds as much information as it can. If it can't match the song, a pop-up window may offer a set of choices. Select the correct one and click OK.

If the CD is still in your computer, you can also click the Options menu in the top right corner of the CD import screen and then click Get Track Names.

Adding Your Own CD Information in iTunes

If the CD isn't listed in the GraceNote database, you’ll need to add the information to iTunes manually. As long as you know those details, this is a pretty easy process. Learn how in this tutorial on editing iTunes song info.

Adding CD Information to GraceNote

You can help GraceNote improve its information and help other people avoid these problems by submitting CD information.

If you've got music that GraceNote couldn't recognize, you can submit info by following these steps:

  1. Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet
  2. Insert the CD into your computer
  3. Launch iTunes
  4. Click the CD icon in the top left corner to go to the CD import screen
  5. Do not import the CD
  6. Edit all of the song, artist, and album information for the CD you want to submit using the steps in the article linked to in the last section
  7. Select all the songs you want to submit to GraceNote
  8. Click the Options icon
  9. Click Submit CD Track Names in the drop down
  10. iTunes then sends the information you've added about this song to GraceNote for inclusion in its database.