How to - Creating and maintaining Lossless and Lossy music libraries in iTunes 9 A forum member has asked for information on how to create a new library for his music collection and below is my attempt to help. Having done this myself and never finding a complete step-by-step guide, Ive attempted to make one of my own. Many others have helped me along the way so this is my way of giving back. Unfortunately, I dont have my MBP right now and wont have a Mac around for about two months. Please feel free to add feedback, tell me where Im wrong, whats missing or offer other ways of accomplishing these tasks. Once I get MR member input, I will update this post to reflect the best current practices for creating and maintaining two separate libraries for your lossless and lossy music collection. At the bottom of the post I list a couple of known issues and have a couple of questions so please chime in. It is a common desire for those with laptops, iPods or anyone who has limited storage space to want access to their music collection in multiple formats and different devices. Many portable devices have a small HDD space making it incapable of holding your entire collection in a lossless format. For these people, the only option is to create two libraries for your music. One is the lossless collection. This is the best quality file that you have and the one you want to keep forever. The other is the lossy collection. This may not be the best quality file, but its small and convenient and lends itself to portable devices. 1. Make sure that your lossless library is backed up 100% on an external drive and make sure this backup is completely removed from your computer before you begin to convert your library. You don't want to lose the collection by making any mistakes... So now you should have the lossless iTunes backup on an external HDD, the original lossless library on your internal or a separate external HDD and enough free space on your internal HDD for your lossy library. 2. Make a separate library in iTunes by holding down the ALT key when opening iTunes. Then select Create Library. Make sure to name this library something appropriate like "Lossy Library" so you'll know which library is which. You should have a completely empty iTunes window open on your screen. Now go into Preferences > Advanced tab of your new library and un-check "Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to library." This will keep you from adding all of your lossless files to the new library. (You can also hold down the ALT key while doing step #3 and it also prevents files from copying, as well, but let's get the basic steps down first.) While you are still under the Preferences > Advanced tab, you will click Change to give the new name and location for your iTunes Media Folder location. This folder will be where all of your lossy music files will reside and where iTunes will look for them to play the file. 3. Use Finder to locate your lossless music folder. Select all of the files in that folder and drag them into iTunes. You should now see all of your lossless music files in your Lossy Library. 4. Under Preferences > General > Import Settings, tell iTunes what kind of lossy music you would like your new library to be, MP3 or AAC and of which quality you want the music to be. The lower the settings, the less HDD space will be used. 5. Select All of the songs in the Lossy Library and create the lossy music by going to Advanced > Create AAC Version (or Create MP3 Version). This will take a while depending on the size of your collection. iTunes is creating the new lossy files and placing them in your new Lossy Library. 6. Once step five is completed, you will have two versions of each song in your library, the lossless version and the lossy version. Now we need to get rid of the lossless files. Sort the library by Kind, and select all of your lossless music. Delete it. It should not ask you if you want to delete the original lossless file, because that file is not in your Lossy Library folder, it should just delete the names of your lossless tracks from the library. 7. Thats it. Now you have two iTunes libraries. One is lossless, the other is lossy. iTunes will automatically open the last library used, so if you want to switch libraries, just hold the ALT key when opening iTunes and select which library youd like to use. Updating the libraries: This is where I have a major problem with iTunes. Aside from the fact that it wont automatically let you create a lossy library, you must maintain both libraries independent of one another. When you add new music to your lossless library, you must manually add the new music to your Lossy Library. Make sure you have the proper iTunes Media folder location correctly set and your Import settings the way you want them before you proceed. 1. Add the new music to your lossless collection and update the backup copy of your lossless music files. 2. Remove the backup copy of your lossless collection from your computer. 3. Close iTunes. 4. Reopen iTunes while holding the ALT key. 5. Select your Lossy Library. 6. Go into Preferences > Advanced > General tab of your new library and un-check "Copy Files to iTunes Media Folder when adding to library." 7. In Finder, locate your new music and drag it into iTunes. 8. Under Preferences > General > Import Settings, tell iTunes what kind of lossy music you would like to create. 9. Highlight the new music to be compressed and go to Advanced > Create AAC Version (or Create MP3 Version). 10. Once the new lossy files are created, delete the lossless tracks. Again, iTunes should not ask to delete the files because they were never added to this library. 11. Listen to your new music and enjoy. ***Questions/Known Issues 1. When switching between libraries must you always change the iTunes Media Folder location? 2. When switching between libraries must you always change Import settings? 3. When changing the iTunes Media Folder location, how do you prevent iTunes from automatically Updating iTunes library? In my experience, iTunes tries to tell the lossy library that the files should be linking to the lossless library. It changes the extension to Apple Lossless and when I disconnect my external containing the lossless files iTunes no longer recognizes the lossy file structure I had created. 4. Im sure there are scripts that do this without all the manual labor, anybody know of one that works 100% of the time?