Help with iTunes Library - Preserving Song Ratings

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by thornslack, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. thornslack macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2013
    Hi All,

    I'd like to reformat my mac with a clean install and I feel confident in migrating most of the data that's on there manually. I'm going to make a clone just in case but my main concern is the huge itunes library. I have spent countless hours rating songs in the library (the stars) so that I can play massive playlists of only tracks I absolutely love. Years ago when I manually migrated the itunes folder I want to say that those ratings did not persist even though all the actual content migrated successfully.

    So my question would be how I can move the library and retain the song ratings. If I manually copy the itunes folder and then reimport after a clean installation will that be successful? Open to ideas and suggestions. Thanks so much, let me know if I can clarify anything!
  2. mikzn, Mar 30, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018

    mikzn macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2013
    I keep my audio files (music) on a separate media hard drive - photos, music and videos.

    FYI - The 2 files that store info for the ratings and play counts and other info are
    iTunes Library.itl
    iTunes Library.xml

    (Good files to back up once in a while in case you upgrade itunes and want to revert to an older version - new version of iTunes may update these files.)

    They are usually located in the iTunes media folder - you can copy the whole folder and paste into your new clean install - don't forget to also copy and back up the actual music folder and files MP3 AAC M4a etc.

    I have had the same structure since my g5 desktop mac and migrated the music folder to many new drives and several macs with out losing the play counts, ratings and other info. Very important to make a complete back up of the iTunes folder and the music files (may or may not be in the "iTunes data folder") and keep separate until you have the install complete to your satisfaction in case anything is messed up or missing.

    It should be as easy as copying the iTunes media folder to the new location (mac or drive) and opening iTunes with the option key to select "Choose Library" and then browse to your moved files.

    Make a back up just in case.
  3. jimthing macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    Great advice. But if you own several thousand items, how does one know you have something missing, unless you happen to notice it randomly one day?

    I suppose some original vs. copy checking software would be needed...?
  4. mikzn macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2013
    I have over 25,000 music files - some have way more

    you are right it is a concern - making sure they are all in the folder you designate in iTunes preferences is important - since that is the folder to copy to the new location / drive

    FWIW - I manage music manually and store all MP3, AAC / ALAC, all version of windows media files, Flac files etc and keep them all in one media folder "Music" - I do the same with Movies and home videos = "Videos"

    I actually do the same for photos for multiple photos and iPhotos libraries - way more storage!

    this makes it easy to back up and transfer to new drives and multiple mac - at least form me.

    Some files do get lost over time - you can view the before and after count of files in the folder? and ultimately they show up in the itunes library as a (!) in the first column in iTunes

    Sometimes they are still there - just orphaned and you can reconnect them - individually - very tedious

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