How to find out who purchased a song from iTunes Store

No one is an island, but Apple often thinks so: it treats
nearly all its products except the Mac as if only one person
might ever use them, from the iPhone to the Apple TV to the new
HomePod. However, it is possible to share certain purchases
using Family Sharing, or even to copy songs and other material
across Macs and iOS devices.

In the latter case, however, you can wind up being routinely
prompted for the password to an account at which an app, song,
or other licensed material was purchased.

This happened to Macworld reader Ron, whose sister-in-law years
ago sent him a song that he dropped into his library. Now he
gets a daily prompts to log into her account on his iPhone! He
wonders if there’s any way to find and delete that song.

Unfortunately, Apple lacks any tool to search for the party
that purchased a song. But you can see which songs have
purchase information embedded in them via iTunes in macOS—just
one at a time.

My suggestion is to create a smart playlist that lets you get
closer to figuring it out:

  1. In iTunes, choose New > Smart
  2. In the line below Match Music, select Purchased
    from the first popup menu and Is True appears in the
    second popup menu.
  3. Click the plus sign at far right.
  4. Select Date Added, then Is Before, and
    pick the latest date you can think of that the song or songs
    would have been added. (Add Date Added and Is
    if you know the earliest possible date, too.)
  5. Click OK and name the playlist.
mac911 smart playlist purchased songs

A smart playlist can help you find an errant song.

Now in viewing the playlist, you may be able to scan or scroll
through it to find songs you’re sure you purchased. If you want
to check who purchased the song:

mac911 song info itunes purchased

The Song Info view’s File tab reveals purchaser

  1. Right-click a single song.
  2. Select Song Info.
  3. Click the File tab.
  4. Under Purchased By (if that metadata appears), you
    should see the name and purchase date.

Another option that requires a little less effort is to go to
the Songs view, choose View > Show View
, and check the box for Purchase Date. Now
you can click the Purchase Date column that appears to
scroll through items in order of purchase date.

If it’s a major problem for you and you’re willing to pay the
princely sum of $1.99, you can try out and then purchase this
tool from Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes, Track Down Purchases. It’s great if you have
a lot of different commingled purchases.

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