GeoTagging iTunes tracks

Filed under: Geotagging — geoLibro @ 4:27 pm

…sort of. I thought maybe there was a way to do this with ID3 tags — and perhaps there is — but I didn’t feel like reading about ID3 tags. Instead, I’ve got a solution worked out that is ugly, inelegent and largely Frankensteinian but is also simple and fast. Here’s how it works:

With Google Earth open and an iTunes track playing, I [use QuickSilver to] call up an AppleScript .app with the following code in it.


This will all be pretty obvious and obviously uses the Google Earth AppleScript support that Craig Stanton has put to work so well with GeoTagger and that was possibly first mentioned at OgleEarth. This shows up in the form of the GetViewInfo call, which pulls in coordinate pairs that later get dropped into a string that gets written to an existing kml file.

The peculiar part is perhaps the call to a perl script (just after the opening of the Terminal tell) that deletes the “/Document” and “/kml” closing tags at the bottom of the .kml file that were written by the previous tagging procedure.


So when this application runs, it takes the artist, album, track name, and track file path from the current iTunes track, the current Google Earth coordinates, and writes it all into that kml file. Obviously, if you haven’t manually positioned your Earth over the place you want to ascribe to your music file, you’re going to tag it with some random place on earth.

But why?
I guess because in part I spend a lot more time with music than with photos and while there is a lot less implicit geography in music files than in photos, I still like the idea of placing the music in its proper geospace. You could argue this, of course: every song had to be recorded somewhere, I am choosing not to tag based on the location of the recording. It just says a lot less about the song than do the locations mentioned, alluded to, described, or otherwise present in the text. This works out especially well for artists that tend to use a lot of geography in their songs. Tom Waits, The Kinks, Johnny Cash, even Leonard Cohen (though his are usually not so obvious within the songs themselves).

Anyway, it is painfully rudimentary, for sure; and if anyone wants to improve on it and make a legitimate software, let me know when it’s done. My guess is that a lazy ape could do better. My hope would be that this ape would add some contextualizing information (a dot in the middle of Kansas refers to all of Kansas for Casiotone for the Painfully Alone’s “Jeanne, if You’re Ever in Portland” or a very specific lat/long? Same goes for Portland in that same song.) A little jacket art wouldn’t hurt, either.




  1. I just got my 2000t and all of my songs are skipping in iTunes, and I cant figure out why. If someone could help me out and tell me how to fix this I would really appreciate it because its driving me crazy. Thanks for the replys.

    Comment by Nicholas — 2006.November.28 @ 6:48 pm

  2. I think you’re robotic, and I’m sure I don’t kow why your iTunes is skipping. Try some forums.

    Comment by geoLibro — 2006.November.29 @ 1:25 pm

  3. […] — geoLibro @ 1:44 pm Let’s try this for a while: since I’m doing this anyway by geotagging my iTunes library, every Friday I’ll post for download an mp* file (mp3, mp4, etc.) of some song that happens […]

    Pingback by New Feature: GeoMP3 of the Week « geoLibro — 2007.May.19 @ 12:29 am

  4. […] try this for a while: since I’m doing this anyway by geotagging my iTunes library, every Friday I’ll post for download an mp* file (mp3, mp4, etc.) of some song that happens […]

    Pingback by geoLibro » Blog Archive » New Feature: GeoMP3 of the Week — 2007.May.22 @ 10:48 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: