This is part 2 of my iTunes article continuing from my gripes and wishlist. Now onto the stuff you’ve been waiting for. Make your music player do what you want it to do and add some useful features.

Want a shortcut to skip a song or give it a rating? Set your own custom keys with iTunesKeys, a freeware program that lets you manage your music even when iTunes is in an inactive window and you are using your browser or using another program.

myFairTunes can free your songs of the dreaded DRM protection. Free your music rights so you can use it fairly. If you are using iTunes 7.02 (greater than, you’ll have to grab an updated version from rapidshare.

Now let’s say you lost music on your hard drive, and it’s still on your iPod. You can copy songs back onto your computer (but ratings and play count will be lost) with YamiPod which works on all OS platforms. It lets you play music on your computer directly from a connected iPod. This means you could throw away iTunes altogether, but unfortunately it runs slower than iTunes in my observations. It is certainly useful though. If you have a song of yours that you recorded that you want to give to a friend, you can bring your iPod and the YamiPod EXE file, then find the song and give it to your friend from his computer. YamiPod and iTunes cannot be opened at the same time, but you can use YamiPod then close it to go back to iTunes.

Want to know the lyrics of the song you are playing? Get quick and easy lyrics with EvilLyrics. Don’t worry about the evil title, there is nothing Satanic or Xenu-ish about it. It doesn’t store lyric info in the mp3 itself so you’ll save on space, but it doesn’t work offline on the iPod. It automatically downloads the words of currently playing songs in iTunes.

My friend said that it would be cool to prerecord your own radio spots as mp3s (like “Your listening to Frank’s iPod, Arizona’s only Station with Real Music.”) and have them play in between songs while shuffling as if you had your own station. And there is something like that called SpotDJ except it plays personal anecdotes and artist or song facts after a recognized song plays. You can even submit your own song trivia or a related story to the song.

It bugs me that an open source music format, ogg vorbis, the music file used by wikipedia, has no native support in iTunes, iPod, windows media player, and many other popular ones. With the plugin, you can make it compatible with iTunes (but not the iPod). The good thing is you can always covert the ogg file for transfer to the iPod directly in iTunes.

iTunes Library Updater can organize and update your music, keeping things tidy by synchronizing with new or changed info in the database. Nice if you don’t use iTunes library consolidator (I do though) or just want tags and such to update.

Another tool called idleTunes can export iTunes playlists to any MP3 player,
remove missing “file not found” tracks from your library, and other features, but I don’t think it’s been updated or compatible with iTunes7. So if you’d like to try this, stick with version 6 or downgrade.

Maybe you are a DJ or want to make a playlist of tunes with similar tempos. beaTunes is NOT freeware, but the trial program can analyze your music files and estimate BPM (beats per minute) and save in the appropriate BPM tag. You can sort by BPM in iTunes. It also can assign “colors” to each song by its style, but I didn’t see much use when you can use…

The Filter. Ditch the shuffle feature and start generating better playlists that matches the mood and tone set by tracks that you choose. It uses a music recommendation engine based on the tastes of the selected music. It even works with the iPod.

General mp3 toolsEven if you don’t use iTunes, you might like mp3Gain to normalize tracks by album or track by how it sounds to the ear, not by peak volumes, mp3tag to add ID3 tags from freedb or amazon and fix case or other tag corrections, and MusicBrainz’s Picard Tagger to get accurate tag information for albums that have missing or empty tags.