iTunes Signature Maker, copyright (c) 2005 by Jason Freeman
Launch | Help | Contact | Credits | Gallery | More Info |

About iTSM:

People often ask me what music I listen to, and I find it difficult to describe my enormous music collection in just a few sentences. So I created iTunes Signature Maker (iTSM) to answer in sound a question I cannot answer in words. iTSM analyzes your music collection and creates a short audio signature to represent it.

iTSM selects a small number of your "favorite" tracks based on some simple selection criteria, such as the number of times you have played them or the rating you have assigned them. Then it analyzes the audio content of these files, combining a small bit of each of them to create the signature.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What do I need to run iTSM?

A: iTSM supports Mac OS X and Windows 2000/XP. As the name implies, you need to have iTunes installed on your computer as well. iTSM also requires Java version 1.3 or higher and Quicktime 6 or higher, but in all likelihood you have these on your computer already.

When you launch iTSM, it will check your system configuration and ask you to install or upgrade software packages if necessary. Even if you are not asked to do so, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to the latest versions of iTunes, Quicktime, and Java to ensure a trouble-free signature-making experience. Windows users can upgrade by following the links in the previous sentence; Mac users should use the Software Update in System Preferences.

iTSM should run from within any modern web browser, though we have not tested all browsers under all operating systems.

Q: Why doesn't iTSM support other operating systems?

A: iTSM only supports Mac OS X and Windows 2000/XP because those are the only platforms supported by iTunes.

Q: Why does iTSM require iTunes? Why can't it work with any media player?

A: iTSM uses information tracked by iTunes — such as your song ratings and the number of times you have played each song — to help it make the signature. While some other media players do track similar data, we decided to support the most popular media player so that iTSM could reach the greatest number of users.

Q: Why doesn't iTSM work with Microsoft's Java VM?

A: iTSM uses Apple's Quicktime for Java API, which is incompatible with Microsoft's VM. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Q: Why is my signature encoded as a WAV file (instead of an AAC or MP3)?

A: Quicktime does not support exporting to MP3, and with many versions of Quicktime, you need to purchase Quicktime Pro ($29) to export to AAC. I chose the WAV format because it is supported by all versions of Quicktime and iTunes and it can be played back on all iPods. To convert your signature to an MP3 or AAC, simply drag it into iTunes, right-click (or control-click) it inside of iTunes, and choose "Convert to AAC/MP3." Also, when you share your signature in the online gallery, our server automatically converts it to MP3 before posting it.

Q: Why doesn't iTSM include songs I purchased from the iTunes Music Store in my signature?

A: When you purchase a song at the iTunes Music Store, Apple encrypts it with Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology which limits the ways in which you can use it. So unfortunately, iTSM is unable to access the contents of these files and include them in your signature. Third-party software does exist to remove the DRM protection from these files, but under the USA Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), it is probably illegal for iTSM to decrypt them.

Q: Besides music from the iTunes Music Store, are there other types of music that iTSM can't handle?

A: iTSM does not recognize Internet radio streams in your iTunes collection, and it cannot access music shared by other iTunes users on your local network.

Q: How does iTSM compute the play count of a song?

A: iTSM uses the play counts tracked by iTunes. Every time you play through the end of a song (as opposed to skipping to the next track), iTSM increments its play count. iTunes also syncs play counts between iTunes and your iPod. If you want to see the play counts of your songs, go to the Edit menu in iTunes and select "View Options," then check play count and hit OK.

Q: What information does iTSM store on the server about your session?

A: iTSM transmits a few basic things about your user session to a database on the server. The information is completely anonymous and is simply used to identify and fix bugs in the software. Here's what we transmit: your operating system and version; your Java version; your Quicktime version; the stage of the program you are at (startup, wizard, processing, finished, or gallery upload); and the contents of any error messages which iTSM displays to you.

Q: I get an error message saying that no music was found in my iTunes music library, except possibly some files from the iTunes Music Store, but I know I have tons of music in my library. What's going on?

A: You probably have more than one iTunes Music Library file on your local disk, and iTSM is looking at the wrong one. Do a search on your local drive(s) for "iTunes Music Library.xml" and see if you turn up any old, out-of-date versions of this file. By default, iTSM will load your music libary from Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml (Mac) or My Documents/My Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml (Windows). If there is an old file sitting in that location, delete it or move it, and then you'll be able to manually locate the correct file when you next use iTSM.

Q: I have a question that's not answered here.

A: Please contact me by clicking the contact link at the top of this page.

Q: Are there any known bugs?

A: Yes. Here they are: