This is a simple but convenient Ruby script for anyone who has gotten duplicate tracks into their iTunes Library and wants to remove them.

iTunes currently provides some safeguards that prevent the importation of duplicate tracks, but nonetheless lots of people in one way or another wind up with them.

Thus there are lots of Applescripts and other hacks out there for removing duplicate iTunes tracks. But I wanted a simple, precise command-line program that could take care of the problem for me. By “precise” I mean a program that defines “duplicate” as an exact duplicate, meaning that the underlying media files have the same MD5 digest signature.

Other duplicate-removal programs, as well as Apple’s own iTunes “Show Duplicates” menu command, can be pretty lax in how they define “duplicates.” For example, I have two copies of “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay. One is a high-quality, non-DRMed 8.9MB m4a file. The other is lower-quality, DRMed 4.5MB m4p file. The “Show Duplicates” menu command on iTunes thinks they are duplicates. But clearly, they are not.

The best dup-removal program out there looks like Dupin from Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes. But it’s not free. It costs $15.

So for people who want a free program that finds and removes exact duplicates from iTunes, I created itunes-rm-dups (a.k.a. iTunes Duplicate Track Remover).

Prerequisites

OS X Leopard

Installation

itunes-rm-dups packaged as a Ruby Gem and distributed from RubyForge. So installation is very simple. Open a Terminal, and type the following:

sudo gem install itunes-rm-dups 

You may be prompted to enter your administrator’s password.

Running

To run itunes-rm-dups, simply type

itunes-rm-dups 

You can also limit the scope of the track-search to a particular artist or album title. For example you can type

itumes-rm-dups --artist 'david bowie'

to find and remove duplicate tracks by the artist David Bowie only.

You can also type

itunes-rm-dups --album 'best of bowie'

to find and remove duplicate tracks from that album only.

When you run itunes-rm-dups, you will see output as the program works through the tracks in your iTunes library. You’ll be prompted to answer a question or two. Before it does anything destructive, the program will show you the duplicates it has detected and which ones it thinks you want to keep and which it intends to remove from the library and delete from your file system. At this point you can confirm the program’s analysis and let it proceed with duplicate-removal, or you can abort.

This software will be periodically updated with bugfixes and other improvements. To get the latest version after the initial installation, just type

sudo gem update itunes-rm-dups

to update your copy of itunes-rm-dups to the latest version.

Screenshot

Here’s sample output from the program in action. I edited it down to keep it short.

Source, Bug Reports, Feedback

To leave any feedback, please visit the RubyForge page for this project. You can file bug reports, request enhancements and features, and comment in a discussion forum.

This project is open source. You can browse the source here.

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