Best way to deal with Music situation

rctneil

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 29, 2013
137
29
My MacBook Pro has a 500Gb SSD but the music situation is annoying me as i'm not sure how to resolve it in the best way.

I have 50-60Gb of music. I subscribe to iTunes Match so it's all in the cloud for use on my phone and via my Apple TV which is great. I'd rather move all the tracks onto my home server, but if I do that then the Music app thinks the tracks don't exist and offers to redownload them (at a lower rate (if higher was available)). My preferred solution would be: If i'm on my local network then Music should look there and use those files, i'm not on the network then it should just stream the tracks so as to not fill up my disk.

I don't wish to subscribe to Apple Music. How do other people manage their music libraries?
 

Erehy Dobon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
984
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My iTunes library has 240 GB of music locally stored on an external drive attached to my Mac mini. I am also a longtime iTunes Music subscriber. I continue to sync my iPhone directly with iTunes just like I did fifteen years ago with my then iPod.

By contrast, my five year old iPad mini has never had any locally stored music. I turned on iCloud Music Library under Settings > Music and I have full access to my music library when the iPad has a network connection.

You are not the first person who has desired to store their media library in someplace other than the system drive. iTunes is a very old program and hundreds of millions of users around the globe have been doing this for nearly twenty years.

I will bet you a buffalo nickel that if accessing an iTunes Library on a network storage volume is possible, at least one human being on this planet has actually written some sort of article or tutorial about how to accomplish this.

Heck, there might even be an official Apple Support document on the topic, but again, I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to do their own due diligence.

How did I do it? I don't recall. It was ten years ago when I did this myself on my Mac mini 2010 server which had two 500GB internal hard drives. I know I put my iTunes media and photos on the second drive back then.

Anyhow, best of luck.
 
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rctneil

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 29, 2013
137
29
What I found was many articles discussing iTunes Match, most of which are now out of date but the info still applies.

It is possible to move the library onto a NAS drive or even just the music files, but as I stated in my original post, if I do this then when I open the library not being on the network then the app thinks the files are missing and just downloads it again from the cloud. This is what all the articles mention.

This is not ideal as then I end up with multiple copies of the same track spread over my local disk and my network disk.

Adobe Lightroom copes with this scenario perfectly with master photos. When on my network it uses the photos on there. When away, it uses smaller previews.

Neil
 
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ThrowerGB

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2014
56
16
I've had a difficult time doing a similar thing except I'm trying to put the music files on an external SSD. There are a variety of instructions in the web but they all seem different and some don't seem to work. However I think I have it working. I'm running Catalina 10.5.5 and can't say this works in any other version.

Before you try this, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD BACKUPS!!

There are three major steps:

Step 1. Create a new music library (the old library is likely called "music library.musiclibrary"). This should avoid ending up with duplicates in the library and will allow you to easily delete the old music files from your internal drive.
Start the Music application holding down the "option" key. The application will then ask you if you want to create a new music library.....

Step 2. Go to Music Preferences>Files. Mine set up as shown below. The "Music Media folder location " is a pointer to a folder where you want the actual music files to be. By setting it to somewhere (using the "Change" button) other than the default setting, you're telling the system that the new location is where the actual music files are to be stored. You will likely want to point to a folder on your server.
- Note 1: Apple still says "Music Media" on this window. This is not to be confused with the "Media" directory buried within old iTunes folders or default Music folders created by the new Music application.​
- Note 2: It seems important to have the two checkboxes checked.​
- Note 3: The button "Import Settings" here refers to the settings for importing from a CD. It does not apply to the "Import..." selection in the Music "File" drop down menu which I use in step 2 below.​

Step 3. Now, having pointed to a new location for the music files, you have to actually move them there without messing up all the pointers hidden in the mess of files Apple has lying around. The current location before trying this is buried, possibly in different folders within Music and/or iTunes folders in your home directory (within "Users"). In this step, you will use the "Import..." selection in the Music "File" drop down menu. With the "Import..." selection, you will be guided to point to the music files you want to move to the new location you've set up. Those files are probably organized as shown below. Note that the screen capture shows the layout on my external SSD "Media Drive" after I've completed this step.
You can select a group of the original music files and they will all import to the new location at the same time. You can repeat this for each location where you find original music files.

At this point you should have everything ready to test. Make sure you test syncing to your iPad or iPhone etc. Once you're satisfied, you can delete the music files from their old location. And delete the old "music library.musiclibrary".

If you have a problem, not to worry, you made backups before you started.
Hope this helps.
1593407252796.png
1593409346396.png
- - Post merged: - -

 
Last edited:

rctneil

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 29, 2013
137
29
I've had a difficult time doing a similar thing except I'm trying to put the music files on an external SSD. There are a variety of instructions in the web but they all seem different and some don't seem to work. However I think I have it working. I'm running Catalina 10.5.5 and can't say this works in any other version.

Before you try this, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD BACKUPS!!

There are three major steps:

Step 1. Create a new music library (the old library is likely called "music library.musiclibrary"). This should avoid ending up with duplicates in the library and will allow you to easily delete the old music files from your internal drive.
Start the Music application holding down the "option" key. The application will then ask you if you want to create a new music library.....

Step 2. Go to Music Preferences>Files. Mine set up as shown below. The "Music Media folder location " is a pointer to a folder where you want the actual music files to be. By setting it to somewhere (using the "Change" button) other than the default setting, you're telling the system that the new location is where the actual music files are to be stored. You will likely want to point to a folder on your server.
- Note 1: Apple still says "Music Media" on this window. This is not to be confused with the "Media" directory buried within old iTunes folders or default Music folders created by the new Music application.​
- Note 2: It seems important to have the two checkboxes checked.​
- Note 3: The button "Import Settings" here refers to the settings for importing from a CD. It does not apply to the "Import..." selection in the Music "File" drop down menu which I use in step 2 below.​

Step 3. Now, having pointed to a new location for the music files, you have to actually move them there without messing up all the pointers hidden in the mess of files Apple has lying around. The current location before trying this is buried, possibly in different folders within Music and/or iTunes folders in your home directory (within "Users"). In this step, you will use the "Import..." selection in the Music "File" drop down menu. With the "Import..." selection, you will be guided to point to the music files you want to move to the new location you've set up. Those files are probably organized as shown below. Note that the screen capture shows the layout on my external SSD "Media Drive" after I've completed this step.
You can select a group of the original music files and they will all import to the new location at the same time. You can repeat this for each location where you find original music files.

At this point you should have everything ready to test. Make sure you test syncing to your iPad or iPhone etc. Once you're satisfied, you can delete the music files from their old location. And delete the old "music library.musiclibrary".

If you have a problem, not to worry, you made backups before you started.
Hope this helps.
- - Post merged: - -


Thanks for posting but I wasn't really asking how to move my library and files onto an external disk or NAS. I'm aware how to do that.

The problem is how to inter-operate that for when I am not connected to that drive or NAS.

Let's say I move my files onto a local NAS. At home everything would be fine and tracks play fine. When I go away from home and do not have that NAS connection, when I open Music/itunes and try to play a track, it tries to find it on the NAS and fails, it then marks it as failed and tries to download it from the cloud but it stores it locally and starts to build up a new folder of music on my local disk. When back at home, if I play the same tracks it just uses the newly downloaded ones.

Basically, when Music has the ability to play tracks from the NAS, then it should do so, when away, it should stream first followed by offering a local download it necessary. But it should ALWAYS first check if the NAS version is available as most likely that will be the best quality version I have.

Does that make more sense? I hope I've explained it correctly.

Neil
 

ThrowerGB

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2014
56
16
Thanks for posting but I wasn't really asking how to move my library and files onto an external disk or NAS. I'm aware how to do that.
<snip>
Sorry, I misunderstood. Although I must say that what Apple has done with iTunes/Music/iCloud/Apple Music+ etc integration seems poorly implemented with lots of work still needed. I look forward to whatever solutions crop up.
 

rctneil

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 29, 2013
137
29
I really don't think that what I am after is actually possible.

Therefore I think I have 3 other solutions:

1. Leave things as they are and just accept that my music will take up space on my local MacBook

2. Store my audio files on an external disk and remember to carry this with my laptop and connect it each time I want to listen to something.

3. Bit of a long winded solution but should do the trick. Set up a Win 10 VM on my home Unraid server. Move my library and audio files onto the VM and use that as my master library. Music on my Macbook then just becomes a listening device like my iPhone and other MacBook.
 
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