Sync iTunes libraries between 2 computers?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by daleremote, May 20, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #1
    I've been searching the forums and web looking for info on how to / best way to sync iTunes libraries (including playlists, ratings, and play counts). I've found several programs including TuneRanger, SuperSync, Syncopation and some others (links below).

    The general consensus seems to be that they all suck.

    Is this true? Has anyone had any good experiences with these?

    (TuneRanger seems to do exactly what I want, but doesn't appear to have a free trial period.)

    http://supersync.com/
    http://my.smithmicro.com/win/tuneranger/
    http://www.acertant.com/web/tuneranger/default.htm
    http://www.socketheadstudios.com/mytunesync/
    http://www.martian.com/SlingShot.html
    http://www.deusty.com/software/mac.php
    http://www.sonzea.com/syncopation/index.html

    thanks!
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    I use Sync Toy from Microsoft (free download). I have my music folder on a network drive that both PC's can see, that I mapped to M: on both computers. I then wrote a script that will run Sync Toy to sync my two iTunes folders on both PC's and then open iTunes. The script takes a little less then a minute to run and will make sure that the two libraries are in sync.

    It works pretty well, the only problem so far is that you cannot edit the two iTunes info at the same time (if you call that a problem).

    Let me know if you want me to post the script.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    You are teasing me with this PC only solution! ;)

    I was thinking of trying something on the Mac side using rsync for the song files and videos, and using some diffing program to compare/contrast the XML files, kind of a 2 step process, but that's kind of beyond me at this point.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Ahhh...sorry, I'm not a Mac guy but I would imagine a solution similar to the one I posted would work on a Mac setup.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #5
    Did you have any luck figuring this out? I'd like my Mac Mini to be my main library to sync with my ipod, but I'd also like a copy on my MBP.

    Meta data is incredibly important to me and my smart playlists so I'd love a solution!
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #6
    I pretty much gave up. Decided to keep it simple and have one iTunes library (on one computer).

    I was leaning towards Sonzea Syncopation or TuneRanger.

    I couldn't find any software that got consistently good reviews.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #7
    Do you have a airport extreme or time capsule, or any other wireless router that allows for a external HD to be connected to it? If you dont the this wont really help, but very soon there will be four macs in my house, so I have come up with a plan for my new network, should be great (if it works) anyway... you could use one of your macs and copy your itunes library over to the HD, then connect it up to the router, then in properties... advanced... change the destination where your mac looks for the library on the wireless network, then get your other mac to do the same.

    I havnt tried this in reality, so I dont know what would happen if one mac downloaded, ripped, or edited any new content, if it would automatically show up on all the other macs. Im not sure. But you could give it a shot.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
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    #8
    Aw I was worried about that. Yeah I can't find any solid reviews for any of the solutions. I can't believe how hard it is to do something like this. It's not like we are the only ones with 2 computers! If only you could update play/skip data on network tunes, then that would be fine.

    IT wouldn't automatically show up. You'd have to re add it I'd assume. Unless they all used the same iTunes Music Library.xml file.. Hmm,,
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #9
    Maybe store Library.xml on a network drive?

    No good for laptops away from home, though.
     
  10. macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #10
    Not sure if this works cause I don;t have two macs to try it but can you sync another persons library in itunes?

    If so and your computer is on the same network you can share your itunes library on one computer and see it on the other and sync it (if your able to)
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #11
    The only problem with this solution is you could only have iTunes open on one computer at a time. And you'd have to close it before opening it on another Mac, so it would write changes to the xml file.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    Looks like this all we can do:
    1) Buy Syncopation or TuneRangers
    2) Cross fingers
    3) Hope for the best
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #13
    Here's what I do:

    I keep my main iTunes library on my PC, and have the entire iTunes folder shared.

    On my MBP I have an Automator script setup that mounts the PC's iTunes folder, runs rsync to pull any new music from my PC, and then dismounts.

    In the rsync command, I exclude Library.xml, as this will get rebuilt by iTunes when I open it on the Mac side. The important things to sync are your music folder and your Library.itl file. I'm not sure about the new Extras.itdb and Genius.itdb files since I haven't ran my automator script since iTunes 8 came out.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #14
    That's a good idea! So your Automator just mounts your PC drive then runs the rsync command? I'm just reading the man pages for it, let me get this straight.

    its
    Code:
    rsync [options] [source] [destination]
    So in my case it'd be

    Code:
    rsync ~/Music "/Volumes/(mac mini)/Music/iTunes"
    Is it worth sticking on any options? And rsync is one way isn't it, so I presume if I wanted to sync the other way, I should just amend the script?

    I should probably fetch some network cables cos I'm not transfering a 24 GB library over WiFi :D
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #15
    Here is my full command:

    Code:
    rsync -av --force --delete --stats --size-only -e ssh --exclude="ethumbs_vista.db" --exclude=".DS_Store" --exclude="iTunes\ Library.xml" /Volumes/iTunes/* ~/Music/iTunes > ~/Documents/AutomatorLogs/iTunesMSync.log
    And here are what the options do:
    -av: -a basically says to sync everything recursively and preserve things like date modified, -v is just verbose mode (so I have more details written to my log file)
    --force: prevents you from having to confirming overwriting files
    --delete: if something has been removed from the source, it will delete it on the destination
    --size-only: skip files that match in size
    -e ssh: chooses an alternative remote shell (i don't really remember why i use this)
    --exclude: excludes certain files from the sync. I excluded hidden files and my Library.xml file
    > at the end simply directs the output to a log file (since automator doesn't really show you anything when it runs shell scripts)

    You'll have to play around the options yourself to get the command built to your needs. Make sure you have a backup of your iTunes before you start testing it out :)

    You are correct this is a one way sync only. If you want to reverse the direction I would create a second automator script and just reverse the source and destination paths in the command.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #16
    Nice - I've just done this, and it worked great. I'm going to write a guide so that others can do it to.

    One thing I've noticed though - if you are syncing between two Macs, that both have the same account shortname, you can even copy over the iTunes Music Library.xml, and all your meta data is there. This is fantastic news for me as I'm quite strict about all my meta data!
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #17
    Nice...the reason I excluded Library.xml is because I'm syncing between a PC and a Mac, so the C:\ paths in the PC version wouldn't work very well on my Mac :)

    What exactly is in the Library.xml file that wouldn't be in your Library.itl file? I am under the impression that the itl file contains all metadata and it generates the xml file automatically when you open itunes (if it doesn't exist). When I copy everything over to my mac (excluding the Library.xml file and letting itunes generate a new one), I still have my metadata (play counts, ratings, etc)
     
  18. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #18
    I don't know.. Let me check. Also I couldn't get the Automator log thing to work. Do you have to set up a log file first? The Automator workflow works fine if I take out > ~/Documents/AutomatorLogs/iTunesMSync.log

    Can't find the itl file, but if it works for you then it must generate the xml automatically.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #19
    I don't think you have to setup the log file first, but make sure the directories exist maybe.
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #20
    Yeah that worked :D
     
  21. macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #21
    Pretty much. And then it only works if you duplicate your entire library - and even then, it can be unreliable / uncooperative. Handling of anything but the main music library (i.e. excluding podcasts, etc) is bad on Tuneranger.

    Haven't tried Syncopation, and since it's not cross-platform I haven't any intention of trying it.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #22
    I've uploaded the freshly written guide here:

    http://guides.macrumors.com/Keeping_2_iTunes_Libraries_in_Sync


    My initial impressions are that it works great. Providing you only use one Library at a time and sync before changing computers. I can't say if this is better or worse than the above software, but it's certainly cheaper at $0 :)

    Annoyingly, as soon as I submitted that article I thought of a way to do it all within an Applescript. Damnit :D
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #23
    Thanks for putting all of this into an article :cool:
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    squarefrog.co.uk
    #24
    No worries. I've learned more about Unix in the past couple of days than I have in the past 3 years! I really like how you can learn any function by just looking at the man pages.

    It came in incredibly useful this morning as someones Powerbook wouldn't boot and the internal hard drive wouldn't mount. But I could boot up to a Leopard install disc, get into terminal and copy their user folder over using ditto. Awesome.

    I'm trying to work out why you use -e ssh, but I can't figure out why. I've just left it in, in my PC/Mac transfer example. The next thing is putting all of this into an Applescript so that it pops up asking which mac I want to use as the source then auto copying over. I've done all that, but it's getting the script to output the copying status thats hard. It's not that useful unless it lets you know that it's working!
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #25
    True, that would be a nice feature. I've never done any Applescript myself, sorry I can't help ya...but I'll keep checking this thread and the article to see what you come up with
     

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