12 Replies Latest reply: Feb 18, 2014 7:20 AM by UKenGB
UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

Rather an open ended subject, but let me clarify:-

 

There really is no way to satisfactorily share media using iTunes, although there are many kludges offered here and elsewhere on the 'Net. One of these, as suggested by Apple, is to place the iTunes Media folder in some location that is accessible by all those who wish to share. Unfortunately, this falls down as soon as one user adds more music, videos etc since the other users won't get to see the new media unless they specifically add it to their own library. So it can sort of work, but it's not true sharing by any definition of a multi user database.

 

Be that as it may, if the iTunes Media folder is being shared in this way (each user actually has their own Library file), what happens with the 'Automatically Add to iTunes' folder?

 

iTunes monitors this for any new files and attempts to add them to its library and in isolation, it works. But in the scenario above, there are now several users all sharing this same iTunes Media folder and hence several instances of iTunes all monitoring that same folder. So what happens when a new file is added. Which iTunes gets it? Any of them? The quickest one? or do the iTunes all fall over when they find they're all trying to do the same thing to the same file, simultaneously?

 

Anyone tried this or have any idea how iTunes will behave in this situation?


MacPro, MacBook Pro, Mini Server, TVs, iPad, iPhone 4, Mac OS X (10.7.2), 30" HD display
  • ed2345 Level 7 Level 7 (21,870 points)

    UKenB,

     

    The Automatically Add... folder is specific to a single iTunes library.  For you reasons that you have correctly articulated, it is of no help in adding a single file to multiple libraries.

     

    The closest thing to what you want would be to add new songs to a shared location, and let each library notice them by using 3rd party "folder watching" software such as iTunes Folder Watch.  Make sure that each library is set with the preferences "Keep..." and "Copy..." both unchecked, lest the individual iTunes start messing each other up.

  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    I'm not sure you've grasped my point. I'm specifically not talking about multiple 'libraries' of media. IOW, just one single iTunes Media folder, but of course each instance of iTunes sharing it has its own library file.

     

    What I have ascertained is that if each iTunes is being run by a different user, then the new file is ignored by the others since its permissions will only allow the iTunes of the user who added the file to deal with it. This is possibly a good thing as it helps to prevent conflict such as I'm discussing here.

     

    However, that rather begs the question of what happens when more than one instance of iTunes is being run by the same user at the same time and a new file is added to the AAtiT folder on one of those Macs. So each iTunes CAN deal with the same file and I can see no reason why they won't both try to at the same time and what happens then?

     

    I'm not wanting to achieve anything here apart from establishing the best way to make iTunes share nicely -something it does NOT do by design. I cannot understand why Apple don't make 'iTunes Server' a service that can be run by OSX Server and then my and many others prayers would be answered, but so far Apple have myopically ignored this requirement. However, that is not the point of this question.

     

    As I think I said, there are many reports on the 'Net about how to make iTunes share its media, but I've been messing with iTunes for many years (since before Apple even bought it) and I've never been able to make a true iTunes server. I can end up with close to what I want (same media available throughout the house), but there are always caveats and here I'm just looking into it again to try and figure out if there's a better way.

  • ed2345 Level 7 Level 7 (21,870 points)

    Ken,  What you are calling an "instance" is what I am calling a "library," since it has its own iTunes library file and has a list of content that is independent from the others, whether or not they are sharing media.

     

    You are correct that what you want is not well-supported in iTunes, which is why you may wish to consider 3rd party software as mentioned.

  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    OK, we understand each other, but I'm not sure that iTunes Folder Watch does anything that Apple's AAtiT folder doesn't achieve, although you might be able to configure it to run on just one of the machines sharing that media folder.

     

    However, it's Windoze which is of no interest to me, hence why I posted my question in the Mac section.

     

    There's a lot that iTunes does that is really great, but it has 2 MAJOR drawbacks. It won't share nicely and you can't spread its media storage across different locations (and believe me, I've tried).

     

    So much for Steve Job's claim that the Mac would be the "digital hub".

  • ed2345 Level 7 Level 7 (21,870 points)

    Ken,

     

    OK, I am not familiar with the operation of the AAtiT folder.  Does it allow you to add a file in one place and have that content be added to multiple libraries/instances of iTunes?

     

    Also, if you have suggestions for Apple, you can use the iTunes Feedback page.

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (44,445 points)

    you can't spread its media storage across different locations

    I've had my media spread across 2 hard drives and 3 partitions for the past 7 years.  I manaually manage my media.

  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    ed2345 wrote:

     

    OK, I am not familiar with the operation of the AAtiT folder.  Does it allow you to add a file in one place and have that content be added to multiple libraries/instances of iTunes?

    No idea really. iTunes simply watches that folder and adds any suitable file it finds. My original question is how this works when multiple iTunes are watching that same folder.

     

    I'm not desperately needing to use that folder or anything like it. Can be useful sometimes, but I was interested in how it works when it's shared. The fact that it's in the iTunes Media folder (which they say can be shared) indicates to me Apple haven't really thought this through.

     

    Also, if you have suggestions for Apple, you can use the iTunes Feedback page.

    We're almost on first name terms.

  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    Limnos wrote:

     

    you can't spread its media storage across different locations

    I've had my media spread across 2 hard drives and 3 partitions for the past 7 years.  I manaually manage my media.

    With respect, that's not iTunes spreading its media across different locations. That's you handling the storage location and telling iTunes to not mess with it. Not the same thing at all.

     

    You CANNOT tell iTunes to place different media in different locations, however much you try and fool it with Aliases, symlinks, mounts whatever. iTunes simply ignores the unix conventions of using such artifacts and refuses to cooperate.

     

    ANY other alternative means manually doing it yourself which reminds me of the expression "why have a dog and then bark yourself". I have always been able to make iTunes do sufficient to provide me with what I need, but that doesn't make it right. After all these years, iTunes should have got these things sorted. You SHOULD be able to run an iTunes server and you SHOULD be able to tell it where to distribute its media and not have to faff around with it any more every time you add something.

     

    But you can't.

  • airboater Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I don't have much to add to this from a technical POV, but I did see one question that has an answer.

    I cannot understand why Apple don't make 'iTunes Server' a service that can be run by OSX Server and then my and many others prayers would be answered, but so far Apple have myopically ignored this requirement. However, that is not the point of this question.

    The answer is because of the music (and media) industry licensing policies. So it might be good to remember this when trying to do something of this sort - You might be trying to do something that ends up being illegal - Frustrating as it is.

  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    I don't agreee that this is anything to do with licensing. I AM allowed to share my music (that I have purchased) for anyone in my house to listen to it. I'm not giving it to anyone, but they ARE allowed to listen to it. This is not just my interpretation of the law, but Apple specifically say you can do this and make it possible for you to do it. They just do it very badly and make life difficult for the user.

     

    Time was when Apple stood for ease of use, but that's got lost somewhere along the way.

  • airboater Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I still think it's for licensing reasons. If Apple allowed other users to access your library, how can it know who is in your household? Imagine you are in a dormatory or apartment building and have a drive on a wi-fi network extended with repeaters. You could sell passwords and profit from this or allow others to freely copy the song files to their own collections - which is clearly against the license. So when I say it's not allowed for licensing policy - this is what I am referring to.

     

    Of course you can share within your family. But how does your computer know who is family and who isn't?

  • UKenGB Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)

    You're missing my point. You CAN already do it. I'm not suggesting Apple allow something they don't already allow. It's nothing to do with licensing. I'm just saying they should do it better as currently it's a badly thought out and badly implemented mess.