How iTunes Could Be Better

I have a relatively simple question: how do I play all tracks which an artist has featured on as either the main artist or a contributing artist?

Sounds simple but in iTunes it is anything but simple.

Maybe some context would be useful. My music library currently includes over 3,000 music tracks, all ripped from their original CDs. Every track is tagged with the track name, genre, album artist (set to Various Artists for compilations), album name, artists which feature on the track and the ‘Album Art’ graphic at 300 by 300 pixels. Well over half of my music is in the ‘Hip-Hop & Rap’ genre and features lots of artists across their albums, compilations, movie soundtracks and mixtapes. So besides the solo efforts by the likes of ‘Artist Z’, the artist list in iTunes also includes ‘Artist X/Artist Z’, ‘Artist X/Artist Y/Artist Z’ and what seems like every permutation and combination including ‘Artist Z’. Where ‘Artist Z’ appears in the “/” seperated list of artists is also completely arbitrary, which certainly doesn’t help.

My biggest bug-bear is that there is no way to select evey song featuring ‘Artist Z’ and playing them short of hunting for every item in the artist list containing ‘Artist Z’. Surely there must be a better way to do this.

I understand that the search facility is an option, but to be honest I would prefer to select from a list.  I did spend all that time painfully making sure that tracks are correctly tagged for a reason!

What I would really like to see in iTunes is the ability to select an artist and get a list of every track that artist has contributed to whether it is as the main artist or a secondary artist, no matter which album the track is from. What would be better still would be the ability to select other artists to include to reduce the list, so for example I could select the tracks which have ‘Artist X’ and ‘Artist Z’ on them and then be given the choice of tracks which features these two artists only, others artists too, or just collaborations between these artists are any other artists. It would be great if this facility was available on the iPod too.

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