I thought that myself at one stage, It doesn't bother me now. As long as all your media is in your iTunes folder in your music folder then you're fine.
But I do make sure that iTunes does NOT sort files and folders itself, it will get confusing. You'll find that if you start messing with everything now, you'll probably end up with a nice mess in iTunes.
If you upgraded from itunes 8 to itunes 9, that folder for "itunes music" is a leftover from the ituens 8 days.
Here is a post by forum regular turingtest2 that describes it more easily
You can upgrade to itunes media organization to get fix it.
I read that post, which was quite informative, but what I'm really looking for is a way to consolidate everything into one file. I'm sure it would be easy for Apple to come up with a straightforward file structure. It seems like the want to complicate things on purpose and don't really care.
Anyway, at the moment have had just restored my laptop back to factory settings and re-installed everything. My Music folder is backed up online, so that is restoring at the moment and will take another few days. But looking at the folders online, it is a right mess. Is there a way I can move everything to one simple structure? I would like to do this before I add the folder to iTunes.
As I said before, you're better off sorting the folder structure to your liking, then setting iTunes to NOT manage files and folders for you. It still gets a bit messy, but for a free program no one should really complain.
On another note, I've rearranged everything in my iTunes folder to make things make more sense. It's handy, not foolproof, but it does simplify things.
iTunes > Any music purchased from iTunes will go in the root iTunes folder.
Automatically added to iTunes (always there, always empty, someone might be able to give more info on that folder.)
Downloads (same as above)
iTunes media (no idea as nothing is really in there)
Movies (purchased films)
Podcasts (all podcasts should reside here!)
Previous iTunes libraries (old stuff, I've never deleted it, might come in handy one day)
Tv Shows (purchased tv shows here)
That's the main folder structure in iTunes if it doesn't organise it itself.
As a rule of thumb, I set up another folder within the iTunes root folder and store all other stuff in there: Like imported CD's and encoded videos. Within that folder I set up date folders for anything being imported on that day.
Now importing CD's through iTunes isn't the best of ideas as it will only plonk them into the iTunes root folder and after about 100+ CD's it will get very messy.
I usually use Exact Audio Copy to do all my CD encoding and then all the CD's done in that day will be put into the appropriate folder.
That's the basic jist of it, I might do a screenie to show you what I mean abit better.
And finally for the consolidation, It just won't work. iTunes has it's set way of file/folder placing. If you change it, it won't work well and you'll be faced with more messing about. And as a plus, if you stick to the original folder structure and backup to an external HDD, importing it back is a matter of copying the folder back and running iTunes, iTunes will do the rest and zero messing about.
Well the definition of straightforward is a matter of opinion. I'll pop up that image again just so we can be clear how iTunes organises everything if you let it...
iTunes 8 lumped all the artist folders at the level of *iTunes Music* along with some special folders for things like Movies, Podcasts, TV Shows etc. In addition iPod Games & Mobile Applications were stored up in the main iTunes folder which has some implications when it comes to separating the content of the library (stuff outlined in red) from the database & cache files (everything else).
iTunes 9 introduced something called *iTunes Media organisation* which basically recognises rather late in the day that iTunes is no longer just a music organizer. Not only does the new layout add clarity and structure but now that all the "media" (including stuff like Mobile Apps) is inside the iTunes Media folder it is much easier to move an iTunes library from one place to another, i.e. restore from backup to a new system, without it breaking. Content outside the red box generally won't work after such a move.
Whether you like the iTunes layout or not, everything that it is responsible for creating or moving around, e.g. CD-rips, store purchases, consolidated files, podcast downloads etc. will be placed in that layout. If you want to take on the extra work of organising things your way then turn off the *Keep the iTunes Media folder organized* and *Copy to iTunes Media folder when adding to library* options, put your files where you want them and drag them into the library. If you want to rearrange anything already in the library, delete it first, move it around and then add it back again, or be prepared to reconnect the files one at a time. Or, if you're really ambitious, do what I did and write yourself a script that encapsulates all your personal organisational rules, renames the files accordingly and then reconnects iTunes to them before it has even noticed that they've gone. Note this is not what I'd recommend - if you can, surrender the organisation of the files and the folders to iTunes and get on with watching/listening to your library instead of obsessing over how it is set out in Explorer/Finder. If you still want to organise things your own way then I still recommend you so within the general structure offered by iTunes 9 and at the very least inside the iTunes Media folder so that you can take advantage of "portability".
Going back to your original post...
Music folder has sub-folders of Amazon, iTunes and Music (and 3 desktop.ini files - do I need all of these? what are they for?)
The Amazon downloader has various options controling where it puts the downloads, I guess you've let it create its own folder. iTunes is for... iTunes. Not sure how you got another Music folder in there, something you dragged in by hand perhaps? Any windows folder with "special" properites or custom icons, e.g. "My Music" will have a desktop.ini file. In addition if Windows Media Player has scanned the folder for media files it too creates desktop.ini files. Folders with artwork also get Thumbs.db files. These are files are normally hidden.
Amazon folder has 4 folders of songs I have bought (seems as it should be)
If you are using iTunes as your main media library (whether it's allowed to organise the files or not) point the Amazon downloader at \iTunes\iTunes Media\Music\ for best results.
iTunes folder has folders for Album Artwork (is this just for iTunes?), iTunes Media, iTunes Music and Previous iTunes Libraries
*Album Artwork* is an artwork cache and is part of the library. It will be recreated if removed.
*iTunes Media* is where your media should go. Check that *Edit > Preferences > Advanced* shows this as the media folder.
*iTunes Music* is where your media should have gone in the past. Use *File > Library > Consolidate Library* to copy these and any other scattered files, e.g. those in the Amazon folder, to your main library folder. Because the process copies files rather than moving them you have to delete the now redundant originals by hand.
*Previous iTunes Libraries* contains a backup copy of the previous iTunes library made during each iTunes upgrade. If for some reason the upgrade fails or you need to roll back to an earlier version of iTunes, you can use these files.
Music folder has Amazon folder (which has 3 or the 4 songs mentioned above)
Anything here that is in your library would be copied by Consolidate, if they're not already in your library, or dupes, move them to the *Automatically add to iTunes* folder.
So back to the iTunes folder above...
iTunes Media has has a folder called Music and in this Music folder are some of my albums
Which is the way it should be, at least according to Apple.
iTunes Music has some of my albums as well.
A legacy of having upgraded and perhaps having created a fresh library under iTunes 9. Normally the upgrade process would have retained the earlier iTunes Music folder but put the iTunes 9 layout inside it. If you decide to consolidate into iTunes Media this folder will contain dupes you can remove, assuming of course all the files were in the library at the time of consolidation.
So why are my iTunes albums saved in different folders and why are my Amazon albums partly duplicated in different folders?
A number of different bits of software with different settings at different times.
And how can I get all this lot into just one folder or into some better order?
Initial instuctions above... Decide what you want to do and either move everything around by hand or get iTunes to consolidate. For everything not inside the iTunes media folder check that there's a corresponding copy in the library or that you really want rid of it before throwing it away.
For general tips on getting your library organised inside iTunes itself see http://samsoft.org.uk/iTunes/grouping.asp
After you've finsihed letting iTunes move things around, or even if you don't, you might find there are empty folders or folders that have orphaned artwork. These often get created by Windows Media Player and get left behind when files are reorganised. See http://samsoft.org.uk/iTunes/CleanDeadArt.asp for a script to tidy things up.
No, don't do it by hand if you can avoid it! Too much work and you lose play counts, ratings playlist membership etc. If you're currently letting iTunes name/organise your files it is just a matter of judicious use of consolidate.
If you have a particular rules such as using longer file & folder names than iTunes would use then I can probably help you move things without breaking them. I have scripts for that sort of thing.
But yes, if you put things in the iTunes 9 layout then any downloads & purchases will slot neatly into that layout, assuming of course iTunes "knows" to use the new iTunes Media organisation and hasn't forgotten. I'm about to go home from work but I'll post a tweak for that later if you are planning to manually shuffle things.
Nearly all the preferences for iTunes are stored within the main *iTunes Library.itl* file. Notable exceptions are the Keep... and Copy... options, which is a real PITA if you want test the way iTunes behaves for most users while keeping your own library manually organised, and the *iTunes Media organisation* status which is held in a file called *.iTunes Preferences.plist* which in turn lives in the iTunes Media folder.
The file contains the following text:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
Where the line <integer>1</integer> means it is in the new layout and <integer>0</integer> would mean the old layout. I think one of the recent builds managed to rename this file without the leading full stop and then the next went back to the old format ignoring the renamed file. At least that is what seems to have happened as at one point iTunes "forgot" I'd upgraded and started putting things in the old locations. I also suspect this explains why some other users have found their libraries have become more confused.
Anyway, if you're in to manually managing your library you can choose the layout by tweaking this file rather than using the *File > Library > Upgrade to ITunes Media organisation* tool which will want to move everything according to iTunes' rules. iTunes also won't let you downgrade if for some weird reason you decide you prefer the older layout.
P.S. I guess the GUID matches a unique key in my library so don't just copy my text but edit your own file.
Just gave it all a quick try, failed terribly. Basically I moved everything to the new layout then got iTunes to sort it, but it still didn't do it correctly, kept putting all the music into the iTunes root folder which basically turns it into a mess again. I'll just keep to my current format and keep organisation off.
After looking at how iTunes sorts it's files though, I'll slightly change how the files/folders are structured.
Just gave it all a quick try, failed terribly. *Basically I moved everything to the new layout* then got iTunes to sort it, but it still didn't do it correctly, kept putting all the music into the iTunes root folder which basically turns it into a mess again. I'll just keep to my current format and keep organisation off.
After looking at how iTunes sorts it's files though, I'll slightly change how the files/folders are structured.
Ah, there's the problem. Generally if you move anything by hand then iTunes loses track of it...
I'll flush iTunes, then re-install everything again and let iTunes sort itself first and see what happens.
Actually, another thing I just thought of, is that I backup EVERYTHING in the iTunes folder, so if I copy it back again, it'll still probably mess up. Can I get away with JUST copying over media and nothing else, would that clear things up?
Basically It'll be starting fresh, so I'm hoping it will.
If you want a fresh clean iTunes friendly library with your existing data in it just rename the iTunes folder as *iTunes Old*, then start iTunes and it will either build a new library automatically or ask you to choose or create one. If creating build it the usual place or at the a drive with enough space for it to expand.
Once the library is created enable both the *Keep... & Copy...* options, then move the media from the current location to the inside of the new iTunes Media folder, and then import the iTunes Media folder. As the files start off inside the iTunes Media folder, iTunes will just move them around rather than wasting time creating copies the you have to tidy up later.
If future you can then backup the entire iTunes folder as a unit. It could be restored to any other location because in this layout it is "portable".