Chapters and the iTunes Store

When the iTunes store first opened, you could buy continous mix CDs from DJs, but you only got the individual tracks. This sucked because of the lack of gapless support in both iTunes and the iPod. They've since added gapless support, or so they say. I still thinks it sucks because it only works about 20% of the time for me. The gap is gone, sure, but usually they cut the tinyest bit of the music too. You probably won't notice it in a live show, or perhaps even a mixed album, but you hear it in DJ mixes, especially if you have a DJ brain and can't turn off the counting in your head.

So gapless playback is poor, but the iTunes store has made this better by giving you a free continous mix, all in one track, along with the individual ones. Electric Calm 3 is one example of this. The problem with these all-in-one files is that you can't jump between the tracks like you are able to on a CD. We know that Apple has a tool to add chapter markers to files. Is it that they don't work on protected files? I decided to find out.

I made a copy of my purchased Electric Calm 3 file. I then whipped up a quick XML file with some chapter points to apply to the copied file. ChapterTool was called, and after a long delay, ChapterTool tells me status: ok. Cool, time to try it.

Sure enough, it plays just fine and the chapter marks are fully functional. This really makes me wonder why they don't do this from the start. It would make the file far more useful. Well, I guess I have the power to do it myself now. Time to write some code to auto-generate the necessary XML file.

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