Different users sharing same iTunes library?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by davie18, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. davie18 macrumors regular

    Dec 29, 2010
    I'm having some problems because I have a quite large music library (about 45gb), and when I have transferred it over to my mac and added it to my itunes library, it simply copies the whole library to my itunes folder. However, it does the same thing for each user, so really each user has the whole music library in their own personal folders.

    This seems a bit silly really as it means if there are 3 users which use the mac for example, it is going to take up 135gb of space just for music.

    Is there any way you can make it so the itunes library is stored in an easy place so that all users can access it easily, as opposed to in personal folders?

  2. jamietshaw macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    Yes, it’s possible and you don’t appear to have any demanding requirements that makes it difficult (e.g. connecting to a server, multiple users at the same time).

    1. Put your music files in a folder accessible by all (e.g. within /users/shared)
    2. Delete your iTunes database in your Music folder
    3. Start iTunes and change the folder location in Preferences to the new, shared location
    4. Import the tracks from the shared folder
    5. Repeat 2-4 for each user

    I highly recommend setting up a couple of extra users on your computer and testing it out with them, as it’s easy for things to go wrong.

    • Deleting the iTunes database loses metadata not embedded into songs, like ratings.
      [*This method means you have your own database, which allows different tracks in your iTunes to someone else, plus different ratings. The (potential) downside of this is that if someone else adds a new track, you’ll have to manually add it if you want it (or use a program I have written to find tracks automatically, or try out the Home Sharing feature). You could all share the same database. After the first one has been created, move it to a shared place. Then, for all 3 users start iTunes up whilst holding Alt and tell it where the database is.
    • When copying all the music files into a shared folder, you’ll probably want a folder containing a combination of everybody’s tracks. If the most recently modified file should be the one that overwrites the other, use rsync in the Terminal. For each user, run the command
      rsync -avu /path/to/source/ /path/to/dest/. If one user’s files are likely to be better than than another’s in some way, such as because they imported their tracks at a higher bit rate, use the cp command to merge files. Start with the least important user and end with the most important, as each time cp is run it will overwrite any duplicates.
      cp -Rpv /path/to/source/* /path/to/dest

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