5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 1, 2008 4:26 PM by Webb Sussman
starrtraxx Level 1 Level 1
Hi, I have a few itunes libraries. Is there a way to marry them on my new Mac? Thanks for your help!

Power Mac, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • PT Level 7 Level 7
    Are the other libraries also on Mac computers or Windows computers?

    Are preserving things like Play Counts, Ratings, Play lists, etc. important? Or do you just want to gather all the media (Songs, Videos, etc) together under a single library without regards to importing all that other stuff?

  • starrtraxx Level 1 Level 1
    Yes, I just want to avoid copying and recopying files and getting multiples all over the place... I don't care abut ratings or whatever... Thanks for your help! The libraries are on my old Powerbook (s)
  • PT Level 7 Level 7
    OK, so do you have an iPod, an external hard drive, or maybe a larger capacity thumb drive to copy stuff on to so you can then put it on the new Mac? Or will we be using CDRs and DVD blanks?

    In a nut shell, what you would do is copy the iTunes music folder of the other libraries onto an external hard drive or optical disc. Then you bring that to the Mac you want to combine them all onto. You can then use File -> Add to Library... and pick the folder off the external/CDR/DVD/etc. (or simply drag and drop the folder of media from the external/optical to the iTunes library window) and iTunes will copy all those files into the one library.

    The only thing it won't do is determine duplicates. So if you have the same CD on two other libraries and add the media from both libraries to your new one, you will get the CD twice and will have to manually delete the extras.

  • francesco.bellomi Level 1 Level 1

    does the procedure you suggest preserve album artwork?

    thanks, Francesco
  • Webb Sussman Level 1 Level 1
    There are at least two ways that I think this could be done:

    Solution #1: Use rsync: The method described here doesn’t merge the iTunes xml file, but it will merge all of your song files to make sure you have one copy of each song. Once you have this consolidated directory, you’ll have to re-import all of your music into iTunes.

    It is wise to make sure you have a backup before trying something like this just in case something goes wrong or you execute the command in the wrong directory. As far as I’m aware there isn’t anyway to lose data using this, but backups are always a good thing.

    The tool we are going to use to merge directories is called rsync and it comes with OS X. There are versions available for Windows as well, but this tutorial is going to focus on OS X. Rsync is a tool that allows you to take a source and destination directory and make the destination directory contain all of the most recent changes from both directories merged together. In doing the merge the most recent file wins.

    Rsync can work over network connections so you can synchronize multiple computers without manually copy files to one machine. However, to keep things simple for this tutorial we are going to assume that all of the iTunes directories you want to sync are on the same machine and that they are called iTunes and iTunes2. We want to make iTunes contain a copy of all of the files in iTunes and iTunes2 without duplicates.

    Open up a terminal window and execute the following command:

    rsync -r /Users/me/Music/iTunes2/ /Users/me/Music/iTunes

    This will take everything from the first directory (iTunes2) and combine it with all the files in the second directory (iTunes). Notice the "-r" as well as the trailing slash after the first directory (iTunes2/). The trailing slash is very important. Without it rsync will create a new directory called iTunes2 inside of iTunes which isn’t what we want. The "-r" makes the search recursive, so you catch all the subdirectories.

    In this example iTunes and iTunes2 are directories that have the artist directories in them. For most users the actual directories will look something like this:

    rsync -r /Users/me/Music/iTunes2/iTunes\ Music/ /Users/me/Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Music

    Notice the backslash before the space in iTunes Music. It tells the command line to treat “iTunes Music” as one directory and not two separate arguments to rsync. If you want to run rsync without touching any of your original directories, you can run the command using a new empty directory as the second argument and run the command several times with every directory you want to combine. It would look something like this:

    rsync /directory1/ /new_directory
    rsync /directory2/ /new_directory
    rsync /directory3/ /new_directory

    This would combine everything from directory1, directory2 and directory3 into the directory called new_directory. It would only put the most recent copy of each file with no duplicates, so if directory1 and directory2 had some of the same files, only the most recent one would end up in new_directory.

    Solution #2: There is a product I've heard of called TuneRanger that will synchronize and merge iTunes libraries on separate computers over a network. It does music, video and playlists and all changes appear in iTunes immediately. Versions for Mac and Windows are available making cross-platform iTunes library synchronizations possible. You can find more info at www.acertant.com or www.tuneranger.com.

    A word of caution - I've not used this product and am NOT recommending it - I only observe that it exists. Your mileage may vary.

    Consider also reviewing sites like Versiontracker or Macupdate.com for additional options.

    Message was edited by: Webb Sussman