iTunes 11 for Mac running at 100% CPU when just playing music

Just in case this saves anyone else a few minutes of boring googling: the solution was to log out of the iTunes store and log back in again.

Details:

iTunes on Mountain Lion was being very unresponsive and beachballing, despite not apparently doing anything except playing music, and Activity Monitor said it was using 100% of one of the CPUs.

The CPU activity would drop right down when I stopped the music and jump up again when I restarted it. After searching around on the Apple support forums, I saw the suggestion to log out of my iTunes Store account; it seemed unlikely to work, since I didn’t have the store open… but it did. And I was able to log in again without the problem returning (yet! *crosses fingers*). Hope this helps someone.

New iTunes icon for Leopard: Aphex Twin

Some time ago I made a whole set of icons for iTunes based on old 45s because I think that the Apple one just looks a bit cheap and tacky. I’m now using Leopard, the latest version of Apple’s OS, and Leopard uses super-large icons so that they look good in coverflow mode. So I felt the need to make a new version for myself.

Aphex Twin iTunes icon

This time, instead of old soul and reggae labels, I thought I’d make an homage to one of my favourite albums of all time: Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92. I don’t listen to this kind of bleepy music as much as I used to, but this album is about as good as it gets. It was released as a double LP, and I’ve used side C for the icon because that’s the side with a track called Ageispolis on it. You can get it as an .icns file here.

New new iTunes icons

I thought it would be fun to make a whole set, with different record labels. I’ve added Trojan, Upsetter, Chess, Apple and Sun:

You can get a zip of them as .icns files here.

Yet again with the iTunes icons

I decided that while the coloured vinyl was ok on its own, the addition of a coloured note was just too garish.

The anti-aliasing round the note needs tweaking, but I think it looks pretty good. Better than the original:

EDIT: OK, I’ve tweaked it. Here’s the final version:

For Mac users, there’s a zip of those designs I got as far as making into .icns files here. To change the iTunes icon: rename whichever icon you prefer as ‘iTunes.icns’. Then you need to quit iTunes, right-click it in the Finder and choose ‘show package contents’. In the ‘Resources’ folder, replace the original iTunes.icns file with your new one (but save a copy of the original somewhere just in case).

More iTunes icons

I’ve updated my new iTunes icons for the release of iTunes 7.

I’ve switched to using LaVern Baker.

New iTunes icons

I decided I don’t like the iTunes icon very much, so I’ve made myself some new ones:

Still by LaVern Baker, Young Boy Blues by Eddie “Buster” Forehand, and We Go Together by The Moonglows, since you asked. Picked for what they look like rather than the choons – I’ve only heard one of them anyway. The Forehand is actually a fraction too big – it looks out of place in the dock. I’m using the Moonglows for the moment.

EDIT:

since I’ve been getting a bit of Google traffic for this post, I thought I’d point out the two more recent posts on the subject (one, two).

music on the net

I’ve only just started getting into music blogs, but they’re fabulous. Of the ones I visit at the moment, the ones which I’ve taken most music from are PopText and Funky16Corners, but I’m currently listening to a 70 minute mix of ‘dancehall/bashment, reggaeton, R’n’B/hip hop/crunk, soca, reggae and ragga jungle’ from Heatwave which I learned about via Mudd Up!. And my award for best design goes to Cocaine Blunts and Hip-Hop Tapes, though it would be even better without frames, imho.

And in answer to the obvious question – yes, I’ve already been persuaded to buy music (with actual money) which I wouldn’t have otherwise, so I’m not completely being a parasite.

[EDIT: having done some internet research, I now actually know what reggaeton is: Puerto Rican reggae-influenced hip hop – the booty-shaking face of globalisation, basically. ‘Bashment’ is still a mystery. Sounds good, though; I’d recommend that mix I mentioned and I’m now listening to a reggaeton mix from the same people.]

On the subject of iTunes

I’m sure this is old news to a lot of you, but humour me.

I’m amazed by how much it has changed my listening experience, having all my music on the computer. I didn’t actually intend to put all my music on the hard disk when I got the computer – the CD player is within easy reach of my desk anyway, and I don’t have an mp3 player – but I tried it out mainly because I wanted to play with the software on my new machine. What makes the difference isn’t the way that all your music is at your fingertips, although that’s nice. It’s that I have a whole load of albums which I like, but don’t particularly want to listen to all of at once. The simple fact that the computer mixes up tracks from different albums breathes life into your collection, just because you don’t have to take the decision to listen to a whole hour of acid house, or Breton folk, or early blues, or whatever it might be.

I thought that if was going to make a lot of use of the playlist function it would be making playlists like ‘funky stuff’ or ‘easy-cheesy’ or ‘Americana’: specific selections to suit my mood. In fact my main playlist completely ignores genre and mood; it consists of a combination of:

high-rated songs that haven’t been played for four days
unrated songs that haven’t been played for two weeks
current favourites

Oddly enough, the fact that the playlist might go ‘Charles Aznavour – The Prodigy – Bob Marley’ isn’t as much of a problem as I would have expected. I thought that switching between wildly different kinds of music would just be annoying – but actually I quite like the variety.