Long-neglected iTunes Library - a music love-story

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by jeffthemediocre, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. jeffthemediocre macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2014
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #1
    The time has come for me to face the music...or my music, I guess.

    My iTunes library is a mess - I converted all my CDs to mp3 in July of 2004 and have just been accumulating and adding to the same library since then. Podcasts, Movies, TV shows, Apps? Yes please - I would like all of those.

    I started out with a 250 gig external HD, then 500 gig, 750 gig - were all soon added. I remember being excited to finally have all my media on one disk (a 1TB HD was on sale for the holidays that year). I recognized my gluttonous ways and put myself on a diet. I got rid of many podcasts, duplicate libraries, I no longer use iTunes for movies/tv and am happy to have a much loved more-manageable sub-200 gig library of mostly music (mp3).

    Is it all backed up? Hum...kinda - there are a ton of redundancies (partial libraries on a whole bunch of messy external hard drives). I let Match work its magic a few years back (took more than a month to upload/process) and it is all synced up to Dropbox. Am I happy? Not even close. I've heard horror stories about corrupted file structures, iTunes re/mis-organizing, renumbering disasters and hard drive failures too many times to count. I'm living on borrowed time - and I know it.

    Big picture: I'm hopeful one of you kind MacRumor-ites might show me the light. I need a plan to backup the data I have/love (secure/idiot-proof backups), and a smart way to add to my library (don't even get me started on how much I love FLAC and Meta-data). Should I even be using iTunes anymore to organize everything?

    I've been reading about RAID setups and Cloned External HD which keep themselves in sync - for years... technology which only became economically feasible in the last few years, but have held off on purchasing additional services/hard drives until I know what direction I'm going.

    How do I assure that I won't need to spend a ton of time and money trying to recreate a library I love in the event a power surge or a dropped computer?

    I'm not crazy about paying for iTunes Match and a 1TB Dropbox every year, when I think they are similar in their function - how do I decide which to keep?

    While I have managed to cut back on every type of file (audio/video), apps have largely gone unfiltered...I don't know if it is important for me to keep every single .ipa file I've ever downloaded since 2008...or is it okay to rely more heavily on my iTunes cloud?

    I am motivated, I have a budget saved up and a (really good) reward for the music lover or lovers who can help me harness the beast that is the permanent record.

    Much thanks for any assistance - I cannot wait to check this off my to-do list.
    JTM
     
  2. w0lf macrumors 65816

    w0lf

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Use XLD to convert FLAC to ALAC (the same thing just Apple's wrapper).

    http://tmkk.undo.jp/xld/index_e.html

    As for dupes. There are plenty of apps to weed them out. Just do a quick google search.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/201007/how-to-find-and-remove-duplicate-files-on-mac-os-x/

    I think iTunes is fine to use as a media manager especially if you also use any other Apple devices.

    Honestly just having an external drive that you hook up once a month or something and do a backup on would be fine. Chances of your main drive and an extra both dying are zero.

    Get a nice power strip with a surge protector. Also as I said above just get an external that you only connect up once a month and sync to. Then the chances of a power surge or being dropped become basically zero. Also power surges won't damage your hard drive in the first place as the actual disk would have to get wrecked which shouldn't occur from just a surge of power.

    http://www.quora.com/Can-a-power-surge-ruin-or-damage-an-external-hard-drive

    Honestly neither is necessary. If you're actually benefiting from iTunes match somehow I suppose I'd keep that but both are just throwing money away to paranoia.

    There is no point in having apps sync to your computer. In fact you usually just end up wasting bandwidth downloading the same apps you already have on your Apple devices multiple times.
     
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #3
    But there are scenarios where your computer and external drive could both be inaccessible - such as theft, as happened to me. Luckily, not my backup drive, but you get the picture.

    So there's 2 things to take care of. One is a hard drive failure. I'd suggest a NAS drive, with slots for at least 2 hard drives. That way, if one fails, you still have a redundant drive.

    then there's the backup, which, to be a true backup, should be stored off-site, or at least in a lock-box. Fireproof, if it's valuable enough to you.

    For that drive, a monthly sync and verification is probably "good enough", as you'll only need that if something happens to the data on both hard drives in your NAS - e.g. theft, fire, or total RAID corruption.
     
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #4
    I used to be that bad. Started back in 1995 by the time iTunes came along I had masses of cd's which were also in digital format on my pc. Decided to redo everything in 2005ish and dump my cd collection. By the time the iPhone came out my music collection was stupidly big. After reading a guide on someone's blog I started playing with smart playlists to weed out duplicates. Not I'm down to about 19000 tracks on iTunes match with all my original tracks stored in a separate organised folder on one of my drobos with iTunes lib on my Mac sync'd with iTunes Match with all the smart playlists.

    If I purchase an album this gets put on the drobo in it's original format and then I generate a smart playlist of that album only adding the tracks that were not there in the first place.

    It was hard work to get it that way but now it's done I can add more without thinking to hard.
     
  5. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Location:
    Yes
    #5
    Fifteen minutes a day adds up nicely over a five year period.
    Once I got all my CD's and irreplaceable LP's and cassettes transferred, it's been a matter of touching things up whenever I spot something odd. Well, that and re-adding a bunch of album art when Apple screwed with the library format some years back.
    Getting things mostly right, and then making a consistent habit of fixing other problems as I notice them, has left me with a 19.5K track library in pretty good shape. Trying to do it all in a month or two would be extremely painful, so why try? Like my old record collection, I think I maxed out at about 600 albums, a decent digital music library is a long term project.
     
  6. jeffthemediocre, Feb 7, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015

    jeffthemediocre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2014
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #6
    Please, please tell me one of your irreplaceable cassettes is a mix tape. Please?
     
  7. Partron22 macrumors 68000

    Partron22

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Location:
    Yes
    #7
    Actually, yes. Some of those lesser known acts are literally impossible to find nowadays. The 15KHz rolloff of even good 70's tapes is painful, and Scotch tape splices add little to sound quality, but with extensive jiggering in Audacity, I've got listenable stuff I could not get any other way.
     
  8. jeffthemediocre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2014
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #8
    I love a good mix tape. Love. I converted several of my favorite mix tapes to CD awhile back and imported to iTunes...I still know when the "tape" is about to flip midway through a song or two, though the divide hasn't been there for years.
     

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