I don't even know where to start this discussion AGAIN. I got a job recently and so I haven't used my library (or my computer) for some time and I just looked at it and AGAIN, yes AGAIN... most of my ripped content is gone. I have a "1970's" playlist that I have been building for YEARS which - on my phone has 210 tracks - now has 10 tracks in iTunes. There is a BUG people. This is driving me insane. iTunes is the WORST. I just don't know how people deal with this.
And now, I just learned from a friend of mine that uses a Mac and iTunes on an iPhone that "oh, yea. it happens all the time but I just add them all back in"... ***?
Does ANYONE at Apple have a braincell??? This is just plain nonsense.
Endlessly frustrated and out of words,
I don't work for Apple and I'm not a programmer. I'm just another frustrated user like you.
That being said, this is my experience. Maybe it will help you find your music, maybe it won't. No harm, No foul.
In the past I've always had good luck with iTunes. Then I downloaded iTunes 11.
Twice now my entire library has gone missing for no apparent reason.
While looking for my music I discovered that in my "iTunes Music" folder there were folders with the names of artists whose music I had downloaded from eMusic. These folders were (like yours) empty. The music tracks were actually in my eMusic folder. I don't know why iTunes created a dummy folder for them. It seems to have only happened with music that I had bought (from eMusic) a while back. The newer stuff I bought was just put in the eMusic folder.
As for CDs that I have ripped myself, I have found that iTunes puts them in the "iTunes music" folder under "Music". Just look down the list of artist folders and you will see a folder called Music. This is where iTunes puts all music that I have ripped. If I was looking for a Billy Joel album the path would be...
C:\Documents and Settings\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Music\Billy Joel\Storm Front
Clicking on the Storm Front folder would reveal the track names.
To add the tracks back into iTunes use the "Add To Library" in iTunes and follow the path to the artist/album you need to add.
Yes, it's a hassle. But it has to be done to get your music back.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
Empty/corrupt library after upgrade/crash
Hopefully it's not been too long since you last upgraded iTunes, in fact if you get an empty/incomplete library immediately after upgrading then with the following steps you shouldn't lose a thing or need to do any further housekeeping. Note that in iTunes 11 an "empty" library may show your past purchases with links to stream or download them.
In the Previous iTunes Libraries folder should be a number of dated iTunes Library files. Take the most recent of these and copy it into the iTunes folder. Rename iTunes Library.itl as iTunes Library (Corrupt).itl and then rename the restored file as iTunes Library.itl. Start iTunes. Should all be good, bar any recent additions to or deletions from your library.
Alternatively, depending on exactly when and why the library went missing, there may be a more recent .tmp file in the main iTunes folder that can be renamed as iTunes Library.itl to restore the library to a recent state. There is also the possibility that Windows (Vista or later) has created backup copies of the iTunes Library.itl file which may be found if you right-click on the current copy and select Restore Previous Versions.
See iTunes Folder Watch for a tool to catch up with any changes since the backup file was created.
When you get it all working make a backup!
Should you be in the unfortunate position where you are no longer able to access your original library, or a backup of it, then see Recover your iTunes library from your iPod or iOS device.
I've noticed more of these missing library posts of late and a common factor to most since I started asking is AVG Anti-Virus. It seems in some cases it might be at least part of the reason why the library file disappears. Try excluding the iTunes folder from any AV scanning process.
Here we are, over three months later and now, since I've given up on iTunes I decided to open it today to see my library that I haven't seen in about a month. Guess what? ALL of the CD's that I re-ripped on March 27th 2013 are no longer in the library. This is happening on several unique computers.
I backup my iTunes library every time I make changes to it. Incremental backups that take a few minutes. I've actually got three copies. A while back I dropped the 1Tb portable copy that I move between by computers at work and at home. It died. In other circumstance it could so easily have been the only copy of my library and it would have been a major pain. Instead it was a minor cost to replace and a minor inconvenience to rebuild. Hard drives fail. Accidents happen. You've complained that iTunes has lost your files (as yet I don't think you have the evidence to rule out a third party) but despite being concerned that there is a risk you took no precautions? You should routinely backup all your important data.
My computer is backed up every night. The entire thing. These files disappeared weeks ago from the backup. I have no idea when. It's ludicrus to expect someone to backup just the iTunes libray "just in case" for just such a bug. And that's really it, isn't it. This is a bug. I can repeat if faithfully on several computers and nobody is listening. That's how you retain customers, isn't it?
If your backup doesn't allow you to recover files deleted in error, or at least warn you that files will be pruned, then it isn't up to the job. I don't know what you're doing differently to me but iTunes never loses my files. And I can reproduce that on different computers too. Perhaps it makes a difference that I don't let it reorganise my files, but I've set up plenty of libraries for other people with the default settings and they work without any issue too.
I had this problem earlier today (found this topic):
When I was importing an audiobook from CD, I noticed the first 4 tracks were missing. I looked everywhere and could not find them.
Root cause: I allowed Itunes to do the auto import before I labeled the Audiobook CD, so it was going into my library with no categorization (therefore not associated to the rest of the tracks / book / cd / genre). So it labeled everything correctly from track 5 and on, but didn't realize I meant the first 4 tracks were the same thing.
My solution: I hit "no" when it asks to import the CD automatically, then label the CD with all the details, then hit Import CD. Viola, all tracks are associated with each other, 8 full CDs worth.
Hope this helps someone else!
.... You grabbed Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster from Amazon MP3 in 2009, threw it in your iTunes library, went to sync your 160GB iPod classic and got an error message saying you needed to restore the device's factory settings. According to The Wall Street Journal, upon restoring, non-iTunes music would disappear.
Upon restoring only the media that is in the library can be restored to the device. If, prior to the restore, the device contained media that wasn't in the library then it will be lost. You can retrieve available iTunes store purchases from iTunes, available Amazon purchases from Amazon, etc., or re-rip your CDs (you didn't dispose of them after ripping did you?). That which isn't available to redownload or re-rip and isn't backed up elsewhere is lost. Quelle suprise! The same would be true for any other ecosystem.
This seems to be a different issue from media being deleted directly from the iTunes library which is what I thought this thread was about. Had it been me I would have carefully backed up my library when it was suggested, and then, should it have happened again, documented the events when media disappeared unexpectedly in the hopes of finding a pattern. I've seen the occasional reports of missing media, a few hinting that the feature that makes reduced bit rate files for devices might have been an issue for some users, but mostly there isn't enough information to suggest a mechanism, or pinpoint the blame on iTunes over anything else.
That's really a different issue ... your original contention was that iTunes is deleting content from your library (the law suit is referencing a specific scenario with DRM-protected material from 5+ years ago).
I can only cite my own experience: my library is overwhelmingly sourced from my CDs and digital purchases from non-Apple sources - I only have 2 or 3 albums (out of approx. 4000) that are iTunes Store purchases. Over 10 years of iTunes usage, always using the current release, I've never seen content disappearing except in cases when I've goofed (e.g., deleted something from the library when I thought I was removing it from a playlist). Of course, its possible that I've just been very lucky, and that I might fire up iTunes tomorrow and see the symptoms you describe.
Can you trace the disappearances to specific events such as iTunes or Windows updates? I know that others have reported these, though I've never seen them myself, but it does seem that there are circumstances/configurations when iTunes can lose track of its library content - though this is typically the result of corruption to the iTunes database rather than actual deletion of media files.