Q I need to remove all duplicate tracks in iTunes, as there are currently 277, with some having more than ten copies. I have tried doing this using Automator, but it appears completely useless: a task like this that I could have programmed very quickly in SQL seems to take forever, and is clumsy to boot. Surely, there must be something better?
A Different programming languages and environments have different strengths, and this type of task is not ideal for Automator, or even AppleScript. This is because, in the AppleScript programming model, identifying each duplicate is going to be quite complex.
SQL is designed for working with data records and thus has better tools built into it, but is sadly not an option for iTunes libraries.
If the built-in feature to Display Duplicates, in the View menu, is too laborious, you will probably do best to use one of the several utilities that are designed to do this and other tasks, such as TuneUp or Dupin Lite from the App Store.
iTunes also has an improved but hidden feature that is helpful when you do not wish to wade through lists of similar but not exact duplicates: hold the Alt key and open the View menu and you will see the better Display Exact Duplicates command instead.
Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 16, 2011.