iTunes: Move to new MBP when NOT using default Media folder; rebuilding music library

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Libertine Lush, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Libertine Lush macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    Hello all,

    In anticipation of a new MBP arriving soon, I'd like to transfer my entire iTunes library (music, podcasts, playlists, apps, iTunes U) to the new MBP. However, I am not using iTunes' default Media folder location for my music--I prefer my own file structure. I have that option unchecked (see attachment). Although I am using the default media location for all other non-music content; I left that untouched. So it is in: /Users/My Account/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media

    I've googled guides instructing how to transfer iTunes to a new computer; however, they work with the assumption that you're using iTunes' media folder. I am only doing so for part of my content.

    1) How can I move my entire iTunes library when the data is in both the default and a user-designated folder outside of the iTunes folder?

    Alternatively, should I simply introduce my music to the new MBP manually, a fresh start. I wonder because I recently deleted a massive amount of my music. I deleted the files via Finder, not in iTunes (is that disctinction important?). Then using the guide here (, in just a few steps it explains how you can remove all the dead links of deleted music in iTunes by creating a smart playlist, then in that playlist Option+Deleting all the dead links.

    2) In doing so, will all the album artwork and any data related to the deleted music be deleted as well? My "iTunes>Album Artwork" folder is 1.49GB, the "Cache" subfolder is 1.2GB and the "Download" subfolder is 285MB.

    3) If I manually add my music (File>Add to Library) to iTunes on the new MBP to have iTunes build my music library anew, as long as the file structure of my music on the new MBP remains the same as on the old MBP, can I transfer all my playlists (especially "Top Rated") and have the playlists still link to all the music?

    Thanks for any help. It feels so daunting just typing it all out.

    Attached Files:

  2. cyberpunk, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012

    cyberpunk macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2012
    I don't fully understand your issue. maybe take this opportunity to rethink how to compile your music collection.

    I compile and structure my collection manually and also use playlists. My collection consists of two folders music and playlists. Both of these folders are located within the home music folder. I can move these two folders from mac A to mac B and all is well.

    Playlists stop working only when the tracks that have been compiled are moved from their original location. You can delete the tracks in the playlist and in the library and still the playlist will be unaffected the next time you import it into iTunes. make a new playlist and test this out.

    This is important to do before importing tracks into iTunes

    In preferences uncheck both 'keep iTunes media folder organised' and 'copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library'.

    What these options do is make a copy of all imported files into the 'iTunes Media' folder and reorganise them.
    I once left 'keep iTunes media folder organised' checked and changed the iTunes media folder location to the home music folder(because it gives the warning 'move to trash' when removing tracks from library) and it reorganised my whole collection once I had imported it all. bad mistake.

    share some feedback and I will attempt to help further
  3. Libertine Lush, Aug 15, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012

    Libertine Lush thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    It sounds like maybe we're handling our music collection the same way. When you say that your 2 folders of music are in the "home music folder," which one is that? Please see my attached pic: Is it the folder that contains all the folders in that image (Users>Username>Music), the iTunes>iTunes Media>Music folder, or the iTunes>iTunes Music folder? I'm thinking you mean the first option?

    My music collection is entirely inside the last folder in that image, titled "My Music."

    So if I move my music collection, which you can see in my pic is located in Users>Username>Music>My Music, from this Mac onto another Mac, as long as I place my collection in the same location on the new Mac, the playlists (including Apple's default "My Top Rated") will work?

    And does the Username on the new Mac need to be the same, as I imagine that's being referenced in the playlist info?

    You can see in my first post's pic that I've only unchecked the "copy files to iTunes media folder when adding to library" option. So when I introduce new music into iTunes, the music isn't replicated by iTunes and my original files/folders remain untouched. When I'm not using iTune's media folder as the location for my music to begin with, why would I need to also uncheck "keep iTunes media folder organized"? It doesn't touch it in my setup. Only the remaining portion of my library (podcasts, Apps, etc) is using the default iTunes Media folder location. Am I overlooking something or misunderstanding you?

    Thank you.

    Attached Files:

  4. cyberpunk, Aug 15, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012

    cyberpunk macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2012
    yes you are correct about the organise checkbox. My point was to explain the mistake I had made, but you understand.

    Same folder you are right.
    Users>Username>Music - this is called the path. Below are different ways of writing it
    macintosh HD/users/username/music
    root/home directory/music

    ~/ is the unix shorthand
    home folder is also called home directory

    simply, this is the home directory

    copy an album folder, create a playlist and experiment

    I did some experimenting and came up with weird results. I'm pretty sure if I were to copy my two folders to an external drive then to the new computer all would be ok. Im unsure about top rated see this

    I doubt username and such will matter

    iTunes Library.itl iTunes Music Library.xml I think these files may be important I read a post about something similar but I cannot find it again

    If you haven't seen these yet, they may be useful

    I may be wrong about drag and drop proceed with caution

    This problem also affects myself and so I would like to find the correct answer

    also.. You can find many extremely useful scripts here along with one to remove 'dead' tracks

    Album artwork should be embedded into the music file and so there is no need for an additional copy anywhere else. The artwork is embedded if you can see it as the icon for the music track in finder.

    Try this:

    Import all the playlists into iTunes
    Make a copy of this file ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml
    Copy everything in the music folder to the new computer
    Open iTunes
    In preferences uncheck copy files
    Choose File>Library>Import Playlist
    Then locate ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml or maybe choose the copy

    I think this may work. Just be sure not to take any chances and be thorough before proceeding to delete anything. If you have both computers and an external hard drive in front of you, then all that it will take is some trial and error.

    Post some feedback
  5. Libertine Lush, Aug 25, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012

    Libertine Lush thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    Hello again. Sorry for such a slow reply. Didn't have the time to properly read further and try this out until today.

    Firstly, thank you for your comprehensive info and links. Taking some info from some of your links, some ideas I thought up and some trial and error, I was able to transfer my entire library. It's not as smooth as it should be--thanks Apple--but also not that complicated.

    For the music:
    1) I copied my "My Music" folder (one in my above attachment) to the new rMBP. I kept the same folder structure on my new rMBP, so this may or may not be relevant to later instructions about playlist transfer.
    2) In iTunes, with the "Copy to iTunes Media Library..." unchecked, went to File>Add to Library, and pointed the location in Step 1.

    In Finder, it's clear I have the same amount of files on the source and destination computer, but for whatever reason iTunes sees about 250 less tunes on my rMBP. After all this work though, I'm not going to bother looking into that--enough reading and googling for this one endeavor. Unless someone knows...

    For everything else (Podcasts, Playlists), but Top Rated:
    Exporting the playlists via File>Library>Export Library, then introducing it to the rMBP via File>Library>Import Playlist, didn't work. Some playlists transferred, most didn't. Podcasts, Top Rated didn't transfer at all.

    1) Enable Home Sharing in iTunes on both computers. Your content will be visible on both now.
    2) On the destination computer, drag your playlists over from the source.
    3) For podcasts, select them all, click Import at the bottom right.

    Your podcast settings will not be transferred. Podcasts where you've deleted all episodes, will not appear either; you'll have to resubscribe to those. Playback location also isn't transferred.

    For Top Rated:
    Perhaps it's possible to transfer via Home Sharing too, but I thought this up before I did Home Sharing.
    1) On the source computer, select all the tracks in your "Top Rated" smart playlist and drag it into a new regular playlist. Export that regular playlist, import it into the destination computer. All tracks for me then appeared successfully.
    2) Now just select all those tracks, rate them 5 stars, and it'll appear in the default "My Top Rated" smart playlist.
    3) Delete the imported regular playlist.

    On second thought, as I've finished typing all that, way too much work. :p

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