iTunes' Spreads the Wealth

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by lokipower, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. lokipower macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Hey Folks,
    Question for the wise ones. I want to have a central source of all things iTunes, (music, videos, apps, etc.).

    We have:
    • 2 iMacs
    • 1 MacBook Pro
    • :apple:TV
    • 2 iPhones
    I want to have ONE source for everything that would normally go into iTunes, but I would like to share it amongst all of the :apple: items in the house, plus when either I or my wife syncs our iPhones, we want our own selection of goodies.

    Shoudl I?

    1. Create a shared iTunes library on my iMac, (the faster of the two iMacs and the one with the 1 TB Firewire800 drive), and share amongst the other computers.
    2. Copy all of our goodies to a folder structured like the iTunes folder and point all of the computers to that folder as its iTunes library, (using preferences in iTunes).
    What we want to accomplish is:

    1. Any computer can import items for us to use
    2. Sync our iPhones independantly with the same source of files
    3. Feed our :apple:TV via streaming (not copying over to the :apple:TV)
    4. Get rid of duplicates in iTunes, (at present we have a folder based filing system by OUR genres so iTunes will NOT organize for us).
    With your recommendation, please let me know why you choose this route. I am leaning toward number 2, but do NOT want to rule out the first option considering my lack of understanding of all things Mac at this point.

    Much thanks to all...
  2. lokipower thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Surely someone has more than one Mac and is doing something like this. Please help.... Thanks
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I'm using a NAS to store my iTunes library, with two Macs accessing it. Don't know about the iPhones or ATV, though.
  4. lokipower thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Meaning you pointed both iTunes to your NAS or you are sharing 1 mac's iTunes with the other?
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    All the music files and iTunes library (only one library, mind you) both reside only on the NAS. My goal was to be able to access the music from either computer, regardless of which computer was turned on. In order to share one Mac's iTunes with the other, the host must always be turned on - the reason I went with a NAS instead of a USB/FW external drive.

    Once you have a single library with all your songs, move the song files themselves and the iTunes library file to the NAS, then open up iTunes on each computer and point to the folder on the NAS where the library file resides.
  6. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Eventually I will go through this exercise myself, so here is rough steps I have in mind:

    1) Create a shared folder on that central iMac. I believe you can make it so that you and your wife will have write access to that folder from any other computer. Everybody would need at least read access to that folder.

    2) Change the iTunes Music folder location of a user (let's call that "iTunes_user") on that iMac through the preferences of iTunes on that Mac, so it uses that shared folder to store all the media files. If such a user already exists with all or most of the media files, you can just keep a check mark next to "Keep iTunes files organized" option to make iTunes move all these files easily.

    3) If you don't mind losing your existing playlists etc, every user on any computer other than "iTunes_user" can start a fresh iTunes. Select that shared folder as iTunes music folder. It might be better to uncheck "Keep iTunes files organized" option.

    5) Each person can buy or just add new media and the new files will automatically be added to that shared folder. If you run this script every now and then, I believe it will find out the new files that the other users added to your library.

    Then I guess you'd need to import those new files through that m3U as explained in that link. You might be able to automate this import action.

    Let me know if you think this should work for you.
  7. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    I have a similar set up.

    Mac Mini
    MacBook (gf's)
    iPhone (gf's)

    I have all of my media on the Mac Mini (a 1TB external drive with 2 500GB drives backing up the 1 TB drive) I have iTunes on the Mac Mini set to the music (and movies) on the external drive, then I use iTunes sharing to share to the :apple:TV and other macs when I feel like it, which is mostly to the :apple:TV (the 40 GB has nothing on it, i only stream from the Mac Mini as my movie collection is more than 600GB)

    The one downside to this configuration is I have to sync my iPhone and iPod to the mac mini. My gf syncs her iPhone to her MacBook, but keeps a small selection of music/movies on her laptop. If she wants to watch anything or listen to anything else she just shares it from the Mac Mini. So if my gf wants to put some of my music on her iPhone I have to copy the file over to her MacBook. This doesn't happen to often so it doesn't bother me to much.
  8. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Expensive, but it's what I have done

    1) Get a very large hard drive and stick it on an AirPort Express Base Station
    2) Pick your favorite iMac. Use it to sync the iPhones and :apple:TV.
    3) This is the tricky part. I have my iTunes music on my MBP's hard disk so I can have it when I travel. I have videos set up on a couple of hard drives (that's why I said to get a big ONE) hooked up to the AEBS. If I buy videos from the iTunes store, I move them to the networked HDDs and delete the copy on my MBP. This means everything I have is on the iTunes library file on my MBP, but the LARGE video files are on cheaper external hard drives. You can't find 1.5TB drives for a notebook.
    4) If you want to, you can make the networked drive your iTunes library source.
    5) Either way, you can just add the files in whatever locations to the iTunes libraries on the other Macs. Just make sure the settings don't import the files. Keep them wherever.

    That's my setup. Works pretty well. My iTunes music is backed up on a remote Time Machine drive (also attached to the AEBS). I back up the iTunes-purchased videos to either another external drive or DVDs. The others are from videos I own, so they're already backed up.
  9. lokipower thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Michael, wPod and theBB, thank you for your responses. Tomorrow, thank you too, I have a follow up question for you. As it stands, it would seem as though this is a weakness of Apple, as there should be a better way to sahre media files. My HP Server has an iTunes server built in, but I can not sync with my iPhones using that share, AND its only music.

    I do not like the idea of having to have my computer on all the time to access the media files, but it woudl appear that this is my only option because we add music and videos ALL THE TIME, and I am not comfortable with running scripts just to keep the iTunes up to date. With Windows, it seems so much easier, which surprises me about Apple. Oh well.

    So I want to make sure this is correct, copy all of my media to my FW800 dirive, (I want to maintain my structure, so I will not have iTunes manage). Go to my iMac's iTunes preferences and point the library to this new drive. Then within iTunes, share this library. From there, my wife can create her own play lists, sync her iPhone and use all of the data within that folder. I also assume that to add new music or other files, I need to manually add them to the libary using the import feature.

    I want so badly to have a single source and point both sources to that single spot, but as I understand it, doing it this way will create issues, including not being able to mutually import music and have the ohter user see it.
  10. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Don't forget to set iTunes for each user on every computer to start using your central media location. You could also use something other than a computer if you already have a router or base station with a USB2 port.

    If you want a central location for all your files and you want them available all the time, something has to be on all the time. Whether that something is a networked hard drive connected to your router through ethernet, or a USB drive connected to a base station or a computer is up to you. I don't think Windows or Linux world would make much of a difference. iTunes does not mind using this central location, so that part is easy, too. The only major extra help iTunes could provide would be automatic monitoring of that location, so that it would add files added by other users to its library. (That is the only reason to run that script.)

    Of course, a one stop setup assistant would be handy for users who are not that computer savvy. Maybe in the next few years...

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