Hi there, first of all there is no easy or fast way of doing this in bulk without buying software. However, with a little elbow grease you can do this yourself manually.
I'm assuming you need to do this to add files you may have backed up from CDs that you own. I'm also assuming you're using WAV files as they are lossless and you want to preserve the sound quality of the music in these files.
For that reason I'm not going to ask you to convert these files to an MP3 and import them as that would defeat the purpose.
OK, ready? We are going to use a feature that first appeared in iTunes 9 back in 2009 called Automatically Add to iTunes. Quoting from the Apple support article:
"When iTunes-compatible content is placed in this folder, iTunes analyzes it for compatibility and adds it to your iTunes library. If a file is not compatible, iTunes places it in the Not Added folder."
If your version of iTunes is older than v9.0 you really should upgrade.
Right, off we go...
Step 1. Start iTunes
Step 2. Locate the "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder
We are going to use the auto-import feature to add songs one album at a time which means we need to find the magic "auto-import" folder. If you are on a Windows machine, open Explorer (Start, Run, explorer) and navigate here:
C:/Users/Your Username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Automatically Add to iTunes
Windows users note: if you upgraded from iTunes 8 or earlier to iTunes 9 then the "iTunes Media" folder may be called "iTunes Music".
If you are on a Mac, click the Finder on the dock and navigate here:
~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Automatically Add To iTunes
If it's not in one of these expected locations, you may have a different hard disk configuration or have moved it somewhere to make space. Use your operating systems search tool to locate it.
In my case I migrated my iTunes database from my Windows laptop to a custom location on my Mac. I'll describe how to do that in a future post.
Step 3. Drag 'n' Drop
Open another explorer window (or finder window) and find the music you want to import. You can select the folder that the album is in, drag it to the "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder and drop it there!
But wait. Were not quite there yet.
Step 4. Find 'em
Now we need to go back to iTunes to see where the files ended up. You have iTunes still running right? Never fear, if you did shut down, iTunes will grab the files from that folder as soon as it starts. Cool eh?!
In iTunes, have a look for the sidebar menu on the left called "Recently Added". Not there? OK, iTunes 11 hid the side bar from the default view. To see the sidebar, go to the View menu and choose "Show Sidebar". You may want to choose "Show Status Bar" while you are there.
OK, so when you click the sidebar menu called "Recently Added" you see a whole bunch of files with no album art and it's a bit of a mess. Never fear! We can clean this up.
Step 5. Gather 'em Together
Select all the files from the album you just imported. You can do this by Control-Clicking (Windows) or Command-Clicking (Mac) each of the files from the album.
Once they are all selected, right-click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) and choose "Get Info". Right, this is the trick. All the album files are selected now, so any details you edit here will be added to each selected track. As a minimum you should add the Artist, Album Title and Year.
By default each track will have its name prefixed with the track number so if you are real keen (or just nuts like me) you'll edit all the track titles and the track numbers to match as well.
Click OK and all the files should appear gathered together in the same album. If you have a few stranglers it may that they have not be selected the first time. No problem, just click the new album then right-click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) the orphaned files and edit again. Try adding an "Album Artist" to all tracks to ensure they are gathered together in one multi-disk album.
Step 6. Album Art
OK, the final step is optional but you may want to add album art to make it look all purdy. right-click (Windows) or Control-Click (Mac) the album and select "Get Album Artwork". It should add the correct album cover from the Apple iTunes database.
Having said that, there's a bit of a knack to getting this to work consistently. I'll walk through that trick in a future blog post.
Any questions, just leave a comment below or message me directly from the contact page of this site.