Changing iTunes library directory structure

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Matek, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. Matek macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #1
    Hi, I'm a recent switcher and I'm trying to get used to iTunes. Recently, I've been attempting to organise my library using the "Keep iTunes Music folder organised" feature and soon found out that it messes with my files in a way I don't like.

    I'm used to having my music folder split into 2 main sections - single songs and albums. In the single songs folder I keep all the single songs together (no subfolders) because mostly there are max. 2-3 songs from the same author. In the albums folder I have music albums, each in its own folder, named Artist - Album.

    The automatic music folder organisation feature I mentioned earlier changes this, as you probably know. It creates a seperate directory for each artist and seperate subdirectories for albums inside it.

    I don't like that for several reasons (I don't want a seperate directory for nearly every single file that is not a part of an album, etc.), but unfortunately there is no way to simply change this in iTunes.

    Does anyone know of other solutions to this problem? A simple AppleScript solution? Maybe some kind of external software that fools iTunes into thinking the files are organized the way it wants them? I'm also willing to drop iTunes altogether if someone comes up with a decent replacement.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #2
    If you uncheck the "keep Itunes folder organized" check box then you can store your files in whatever folder structure you choose and iTunes will be quite happy. You music doesn't even have to be inside your iTunes folder, nor does it even have to be all on the same drive.
     
  3. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #3
    A simple workaround would be to check the "part of a compilation" box for your singles. This way iTunes will put them in subfolders of a Compilations directory by Album name and will not create an Artist folder for them.

    That said. I can't remember the last time I cared how the files are saved on the disc. When do you need to manipulate the music folder without using iTunes?

    B
     
  4. Matek thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #4
    Sure, that's what I'm doing right now. But I'd still prefer if iTunes could do the organising instead of me doing it manually :p.


    Thanks for the tip, others have suggested that, but while it is better, it still creates a bunch of folders i don't like seeing and opening. For example - if i drag and drop the content of the folder into VLC it doesn't detect everything and acts weird.

    About browsing the actual files - you have a point and again, people often ask me about that when i mention this problem, but unfortunately i still work with files a lot. My library is on an external drive that gets carried around and plugged into windows systems without iTunes, i visit lanparties and want it to be nicely sorted out for people to access. For example - my little sister wants to load some music onto her mp3 player in windows by using dragndrop. She wants about 15 albums from my drive, currently she only needs to open the "albums" folder, mark all 15 and then copy them. If i had it organised with iTunes, she would have to copy every one of them manually, because they are inside artist folders, plus she would end up with folders that are named only with the album name which would make them harder to recognise.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    Still not seeing the real problem with drag & drop since you can select things within iTunes (which runs on Windows too) that can easily be drag & dropped elsewhere.

    Another thought would be to use the "Album Artist" tag as an alternative to Compilations. if you set it to "Singles" you might be able to get it to separate out your Singles.

    B
     
  6. Matek thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #6
    I know that iTunes works on windows, but most people don't use it (excluding iPod owners) and i doubt someone will install it just to browse my drive in a friendlier way, especially since it comes in a pack with QuickTime and Safari. And i tested it right now - I couldn't copy an album from iTunes in a way that would make it end up in a folder. Even if you drag the album cover or mark all songs and drag them, it only copies your files, it doesn't make a folder for the album. Making the folder manually gets me right where i started.

    The other suggestion isn't bad, thanks, but it only solves a part of my problem and it causes new ones. Firstly, I don't want to do unnecessary tagging, some weird mp3 player might display it and it could bother me or anyone else using the files in the future. And secondly - I sometimes download, ehm, free music ;) and i can move it in my music folder without changing any files, which means i can still share and upload that music. If I add some tags, the files change, their hash code changes and they can no longer be uploaded as a part of a torrent.

    I do appreciate people trying to help, but believe me, I tried this a couple of times and always ended up going back to good 'ole manual sorting. I've thought this whole thing through and I know how I want it to be, please don't try to convince me to do it the iTunes way. :D
     
  7. efunk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #7
    Are you sure? This is poll from one international site that is music related.

    Code:
    Which program do you use most to listen to music?
    iTunes  	42%
    Winamp  	29%
    Windows Media Player  	11%
    Foobar  	8%
    Other  	4%
    Amarok  	2%
    I don't listen to music  	1%
    XMMS  	1%
    MusicMatch Jukebox  	0%
    RealOne Player  	0%
    mpd  	0%
    Cog  	0%
    Songbird  	0%
    Sonique  	0%
    RealJukebox  	0%
    
    Votes: 94,260
    I don't care how itunes organizes it's folder. I organize my music how I want in iTunes main window. And if I need some tracks I just drag them from iTunes to folder and here you go. If you're lazy enough to organize your library manually then don't complain about problems in iTunes organization which aren't there.
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #8
    By any definition 58% (those who don't use iTunes) should be considered "most" as Matek said.

    B
     
  9. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    #9
    I could never understand why people care how iTunes organizes the folders (or iPhoto for that matter). Apple provides a very nice front end so you don't have to mess with folders and the like.

    Can you guys please point out some situations where it makes a difference how the folders are structured?? A situation other than "you don't like it", why don't you like it? Is the iTunes folder structure preventing you from doing something?? For the life of me I can't imagine why it matter when you have a front-end piece of software to browse your music.
     
  10. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #10
    Aside from personal preference.

    Most of these boil down to one thing. Access to the library without iTunes. For Matek it was an issue of being able to sync with other non-iPod devices.

    B
     
  11. Matek thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #11
    Ah, only balamw seems to understand :).

    I (and other people as well) often access (for different reasons) my library without iTunes through a file browser (for example over the network). For this, I have it organised in a way I like, while iTunes organises it in a different manner. All I want to know is wheter there is a way to change the way iTunes organises it.

    It's not really a "problem" of iTunes, it's just a missing feature. I've seen nice solutions for this in some software. CDex, a windows CD-ripping tool for example lets you define a manual directory structure where it stores ripped albums, I can give you a few examples:

    /My Music/ (just stores all files in a given directory)
    /My Music/%%artist%% - %%title%%/ (stores it in folder named Artist - Album Title)
    /My Music/%%genre%%/%%artist%% - %%title%%/ (does same as above + sorts stuff by genres)
    /My Music/%%artist%%/%%album/ (this would create a directory structure identical to the structure iTunes create by default if you let it organise your files)

    I just made this up, but the syntax is similar and very powerful too. You have the access to all data available by ID3 tags and the software lets you define how you want to sort your files.

    I explained a couple of cases earlier, you probably missed it, but ok, i can repeat that if i was unclear. Let's say i want to copy 30 mp3 albums from a large collection of at least a couple hundred (to an mp3 player that doesn't support itunes, to a friend's usb key, doesn't matter). If I use my own sorting style, I have folders named Artist - Album in a large folder with all albums. I can simply hold the apple key and click on albums i want and after i'm finished marking them just drag and drop everything to the final location. If I use iTunes sorting, there are 2 problems. First i have to open each "artist" folder seperately (I have more albums from same artists, of course) and manually pick the desired album to copy. That means i have to open 30 folders, drag and drop 30 times and go back 30 times. And second - i end up with a bunch of folders that are named just with the Album name (without "Artist - "). The person accessing the music might not recognise the album and will have to open a file inside to get that information.

    Hope this clears it up a bit, I can provide more info if needed.
     
  12. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    #12
    OK I can see your point.
    I just drag the albums I want to "share" from iTunes to the desktop. Bypassing the need to go into the folder structure.
     

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