Moving itunes library from PC to MAC: problem with .wav files

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by tongzilla, May 18, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hello everyone,

    I'm just got my new iMac and started moving my iTunes library from my PC to Mac.

    This is how I did it.
    My iTunes library is already organised in my PC, i.e. all music in the iTunes folder.
    So I just copied the my entire iTunes folder onto an external hard drive and then to my mac.
    Then I use the "add to library" function on itunes so my mac can organise all my music.
    The "keep itunes music folder organised" and "copy files to itunes music folder when adding to library" check boxes are ticked on both my PC and Mac.

    I look at my itunes library on my mac. Everything is good with artists and albums and song names looking good and organised. My playlists and other data is missing - no big deal, since I can make new playlists (BUT if anyone can tell me how I can get my old playlists and data on to Mac iTunes that would be great:)). However, the biggest problem is that all the .wav files have lost their artist and album names! How can I get these back?

    Thank you.
  2. macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Sounds like you let iTunes organise your library for you, so it renamed the files to their title only, thereby stripping the artist and album name from them since it creates folders with that information.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2007
    The Netherlands, Europe
    Copy the iTunes music database and the XML file over to your Mac. It's in the iTunes folder. Just overwrite it and you got your playlists back. Good luck!
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2008
    Thanks c-Row, what's the solution to this problem?
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2008
    I thought the database and XML files are not compatible between the PC and Mac.
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2008
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2008
    I just phoned up apple tech support and the first person I spoke to couldn't help so he connected me with another guy, who couldn't help me either, so he connected my to a "product specialist" in Ireland, which is more helpful, but still couldn't find out exactly what's going on. He's going to do some "research" and call me back. He said it's something to do with .wav files not have track info stored with the actualy song file unlike mp3.

    Anyway, the problem still exists: my .wav files have no artist/album information, and has a track numbers at the beginning of the song name...which didn't happen with the exact same files when using itunes on my PC.
  8. macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2007
    WAV files have no built-in tagging capability. Their information is stored in the database file. From what I've seen on my own system (I have both an upgraded PowerMac and a PC and keep a backup of my music on the PC system as well and can stream either around the house using AppleTV units (or Airport Express) as Airtunes devices and control either using "Signal" on my iPod Touch (Remote Buddy also works but is only for Mac).

    Basically, I found if/when I transferred ripped WAV versions of DTS CDs, they'd lose their database info when moved to the PC (or vice versa). Despite what some have said, the PC and Mac versions of iTunes seem to use different/incompatible database files (.ITL on Windows iTunes and .XML on Mac iTunes). *WHY* Apple would choose to use incompatible databases on the two systems thereby making system moves a pain in the butt that would otherwise be a simple folder copy operation over the local Network is beyond me. That includes things like album covers you've added yourself to WAV files (they are stored in another folder and linked in the database). When rebuilding the database, the iTunes option will only find artwork that is has available on the iTunes store and thus custom items will be missing with WAV files. (Oddly, some album titles such as Duran Duran's Wedding Album DO exist on iTunes IF you buy the album but can't be found if you dumped your own CD of the album for some unknown reason. I had to add them manually using artwork I found through Google Images).

    In any case, renaming the .XML files to .ITL does NOT work. They truly are incompatible as far as I can see (if there's a way to convert or another way around it, I'd like to hear about it). So as far as I can see, you basically have two options when moving your library from the Mac to PC or vice versa.

    1> Rebuild the database file using "Add to Library" and selecting the master directory to an ORGANIZED iTunes library (i.e. you might want to 'consolidate' first if your music is scattered all over the place and you haven't been using an organize option or only importing CDs directly) and THEN manually correcting all your WAV files entries. If you only have a few albums that use WAV, this might not be too bad, but if you have many, it'll be a nightmare. It's bad enough having to correct a number of albums on ONE system by hand (i.e. iTunes only finds database info FOR you for WAVs if you've ripped them directly from a CD using CDDB as far as I know). Otherwise, this is a miserable option.

    2> FIRST *CONVERT* your WAV albums to another format that DOES/CAN store tagging and album art information such as Apple Lossless. Apple Lossless can easily be converted BACK to WAV with no data loss and CD burns will contain identical WAV information to the original. You could also convert to lossy formats like MP4, but the original data will not be preserved. Either way, any database tagging will be stored in the individual song files themselves so when you rebuild the directories on the PC or Mac, they will reorganize themselves automatically with no work needed from you. Album covers are another matter, though. If you added them yourself using artwork on a per track basis or a 3rd party software program (e.g. Corripio or whatever), then the artwork will be stored per song also and also reappear/rebuild automatically when you transfer (and will also work in say something like RhythmBox in Linux, if you happen to also use Linux on one of your machines with the appropriate MP4 and/or Apple Lossless codec plugins that are floating around out there. They might also be able to locate missing artwork on their own). If they are not present, you are dependent on iTunes 'automatically' finding artwork for you all over again, which works for 'most' commercial albums. It is missing a LOT of albums, though and occasionally puts the WRONG artwork on an album ('Greatest Hits' labeled albums often are messed up and need corrected manually).

    Also in regards to artwork, I know that "Signal" on the iPod Touch (or iPhone) looks for its own artwork independently of iTunes and thus sometimes shows the wrong artwork even for albums I have the artwork for in iTunes while other times finding artwork I do not even have added or are shown when playing Internet Radio stations through iTunes, which is kind of neat. By comparison, Remote Buddy for the Mac does NOT show artwork for radio stations the last time I tried it and is dependent on iTunes artwork being available (either through the database and/or tag files on the songs themselves) to show artwork.

    So basically, I'd recommend converting WAV songs to Apple Lossless first and then they will transfer fine and you will still not lose any musical data. The only real advantage of WAV is that it's a common denominator format and can stream both to Airtunes devices and non-Apple devices like the PS3 without conversion (even things like SqueezeCenter depend on reverse engineered libraries to play Apple Lossless and they may be buggy; I got gaps once in awhile while trying Squeeze Center out. MP4 did not have that problem by comparison (I also maintain a 2nd library in MP4 conversion form to transfer to my iPod Touch, which can only hold 16GB while my Apple Lossless collection is over 100GB and the 256k MP4 version is still around 34GB, larger than even the largest iPod Touch).

    Basically, if you're going to use all iTunes/AirTunes/Apple equipment, Apple Lossless works fine and has no issues. It can also be converted back to WAV and then to FLAC or something in the future if needed (assuming you have enough HD space to do the conversion of a large library). If you're using mixed equipment and need WAV as a common denominator for some reason, you're going to have to either maintain more than one library conversion for each system or fix the database yourself when you move it or look for a utility that may or may not exist to convert it over for you.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2008

    iTunes libraries ARE compatible. Just change the extension.
    .itl on Windows, none on Mac.

    XML files are Cross Platform.

    *Sorry, I accidentally submitted the next post before I was finished, resulting in this one, but a copy seems stupid, and I couldn't figure out how to delete it...
  10. macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2008
    iTunes: To Mac and back again!

    To move an iTunes library from PC to Mac:
    1. Copy the entire music folder to where ever you want it on the Mac.
    2. Make sure NOT to open iTunes, and that iTunes is NOT currently open.
    3. Go to the iTunes folder in Finder. There should be a file called iTunes Library.itl. If there is a file called iTunes Library without the .itl extension, rename it to something else, or delete it.
    4. Rename the file "iTunes Music.itl" to "iTunes Music" without quotes.
    5a. You may now open iTunes.
    5b. If you copied the iTunes folder to the default location on the Mac, just open iTunes.
    5cI. If not, or if you dont know what I mean by "Default location," hold the alt/option key while you click the iTunes icon, and until a small window appears.
    5cII. Click "Choose Library" and then point it to the "iTunes Library" file, then click open.
    6. Done!!!

    To move an iTunes library from Mac to PC:
    1. Copy the entire music folder to where ever you want it on the PC.
    2. Make sure NOT to open iTunes, and that iTunes is NOT currently open.
    3. Go to the iTunes folder in Explorer. There should be a file called iTunes Library. If there is a file called iTunes Library.itl with the .itl extension, rename it to something else, or delete it.
    4. Rename the file "iTunes Music" to "iTunes Music.itl" without quotes.
    5a. You may now open iTunes.
    5b. If you copied the iTunes folder to the default location on the PC, just open iTunes.
    5cI. If not, or if you dont know what I mean by "Default location," hold the Shift key while you click the iTunes icon, and until a small window appears.
    5cII. Click "Choose Library" and then point it to the "iTunes Library.itl" file, then click open.
    6. Done!!!

    Now you know.
    The iTunes files ARE compatible!!
    No messing around with corrupted files and rebuilding with XML.

    BTW: XML is a cross platform format

  11. macrumors 68030

    Feb 6, 2008
    Does doing it this way keep your playlists intact as well? I hope so because it's not worth it otherwise.
  12. macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2008
    Playlists, and using iPod to move library

    The playlists are stored in the iTunes Library file, and should thus be transferred when you move the rest of the Library.

    About Moving Librry:
    You've got to make sure that iTunes is set to keep the iTunes folder organized, or that you tell iTunes to "Consolidate Library" before attempting to transfer it.

    My take on using an iPod Touch to move files:
    You can transfer it using the iPod, and I would assume the iPod Touch as well.
    The iPod stored all of it's music, videos, etc. in a folder called iPod_control, and this works in your favor, because it means you can copy anything you want to the iPod's root directory, or any subdirectory that you make without affecting the iPod.

    Moving Library via iPod
    Without further ado, here's how to do it:

    1. Plug iPod into any computer with iTunes, and tell iTunes to remove all content from the iPod. This can be done by going to the iPod, clicking "Manually manage this iPod" or something like that, then going to the library on the iPod, selecting all and hitting delete. It will then ask you if youre sure you want to to that.
      *Make sure it's the library ON THE iPOD, or you'll end up deleting your iTunes Library.*

    2. Make sure iPod is set to use as disk, and then copy your entire iTunes library folder to the iPod. Do this via Finder on OSX, or Explorer, and NOT via iTunes, or you won't be able to get it off again.

    3. Plug the iPod into the destination computer, and copy the folder to where you want it. The default location is C:\Users\[username goes here]\Documents\Music on Vista. Similar for XP.

    4. Follow the rest of my tutorial from earlier starting at step 5.

    Hope it helps, Happy New Year


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