Problems with iTunes after moving library to a NAS

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Russell Bell, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. Russell Bell macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    I recently moved my iTunes library to a NAS so that I could store my music in ALAC and have it always accessible to my Sonos. Since the move, I've had a few issues.

    1. In iTunes preferences, I have set the iTunes Media location to my NAS share and I have selected Keep Files Organized, but I find iTunes is not updating the metadata for these files. For example, I recently added files that did not have cover art. I used iTunes to download the cover art and while this appears in iTunes, it does not appear when I view the file in Finder. I'm also afraid that any other metadata updates I make (fix the genre, etc.) are not being written to the file itself. How can I ensure iTunes actually writes the metadata to the file itself (so that I can get cover art on Sonos)?
    2. I'm in the process of reripping my CDs to ALAC and as I add an ALAC album, I'm deleting the mp3 version. However, despite telling iTunes to delete the actual file, iTunes has only been removing files form my iTunes library and I have to go in and delete the old mp3 files in Finder. These files are in the "iTunes Media Location" folder, so why won't iTunes delete these files?
    3. After waking my computer from sleep mode, sometimes iTunes cannot find my library if my wifi has not started up and it cannot connect to the NAS. As a result, I need to manually add the iTunes library location each time this happens. Isn't there a way for iTunes to remember the library location, even if it is not accessible at that exact moment?
    4. At one point when iTunes couldn't find my library on the NAS, it defaulted to the original iTunes media location. As a result, while all of my tracks are stored on my NAS, most of my iTunes library is "linked" to tracks on my internal HD, which I would like to delete. I tried to "consolidate library" but that would just put duplicates of all of my tracks on my NAS. Given that my iTunes library file folder structure is identical on my NAS to my HD, is there an easy way to tell iTunes "Don't look for the tracks on my internal HD, look on the NAS"?

    Thank you.
  2. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    1) To the best of my knowledge, iTunes does not mess with your metadata unless you specifically edit it using 'Get Info'. Automatically retrieved cover art is stored in a separate directory in the iTunes hierarchy. It has always been thus.

    2) No idea. When I delete files, iTunes always puts them in the trash.

    3) iTunes does remember the correct location. Try quitting iTunes and restarting it once your Wi-Fi is available.

    4) You can tell iTunes where your library is in Preferences/Advanced. It is not going to look elsewhere, barring Wi-Fi failure - see #3.

  3. Russell Bell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    1) Thanks. I tried manually updating the cover art and that worked. Unfortunately, iTunes crashed whenever I did it with more than about 4 tracks at a time.

    2) I figured it out - iTunes is deleting the files on the internal drive (because that's where iTunes thinks most of my library is - see original #4)

    3) I'll try restarting iTunes if I have trouble.

    4) I know how to tell iTunes where to look, the problem is, at one point it reverted to the original location and now has those files indexed as opposed to the new location on the NAS.
  4. jlc1978 macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2009
    Instead of setting the NAS as the iTunes location try using a symlink to point iTunes to the NAS.
  5. ijabz macrumors newbie


    Feb 6, 2014
    bridport, dorset
    1> That option means that if you manually change the metadata then iTunes will automatically rename the file to reflect the new metadata, so it's only relevant for fields that make up the file name, basically title, album, artist and trackno. Note if you add the music to your sonos from the nas drive then if you modify metadata so that it renames files you'll have to resync your nas drive to sonos because sonos won't be able to find these renamed tracks.

    3,4> iTUnes isn't designed for storing it's music on network, and if you are using wifi rather than wired Ethernet the problem is worse so personally I would consider using a solution better suited to networked storage such as plex or if you really want to use iTunes store the files locally on your computer and periodically make a copy onto your nas for use by sonos. The other thing is that if you are using sonos to play music do you need iTunes anymore ?
  6. Russell Bell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    1) If I change the metadata in iTunes, I only need to have Sonos rescan my library if it has changed the file name or location. But I knew this and it hasn't been an issue for me so far. I was just frustrated when I used iTunes to download cover art that I later could not see on the Sonos (which I now know is because iTunes was not storing the cover art in the file itself).

    3) My intention is to use iTunes to organize my library and sync with my iPhone/iPad. Therefore, I don't really use iTunes to play media, just organize and sync. I also don't want to keep the files stored locally because I have a 500 GB internal hard drive and I'm in the process of reripping to ALAC and I don't want to store ~300 CDs in ALAC locally.

    4) What benefit would a symlink offer? I'm not familiar with them.
  7. ijabz macrumors newbie


    Feb 6, 2014
    bridport, dorset
    If you only want iTunes for syncing to iPod,,iPhone there are other options you could use.

    Using a symbolic link fools iTunes into thinking the folder it is looking at is a local folder rather than a remote folder so if you make the default folder actually a symbolic link that should prevent iTunes reverting to default.
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I too use NAS to store my media files (including those used by iTunes). There are a few things that can create challenges when using a NAS. I opted to put the music on the NAS, not have iTunes organize the music and simply use the "add to library" feature with the "copy" feature in the iTune's preferences/advanced unchecked. This leaves the iTunes db and more stored locally on my computer.

    One of the things that must be done (in my case) is to make sure the NAS is up and running and that my computer is fully connected/communicating with the NAS and in particular, the location of the 'iTunes media files." Sometimes, while the computer can see the folders of media files, it doesn't really pay attention to what is inside. In turn, iTunes can be problematic when handling multiple files in an operation (such as getting info etc.). This might be more an issue with iTunes itself as it does have the information of location but fails to do operations based on the paths to each song. The other part to this is that when it does look for the songs, it may take time for iTunes to see it on your NAS and times out (thus sometimes only 1-4 or 5 songs work and then stops doing the operation like "get info."

    In general, my set up works well and I can play my music through my computer, via airplay on my AVR etc. Only once in a while does it get a bit sticky. As others have suggested a symlink is not a bad way to go but be aware that if your NAS is turned off then on again, you may have to "re-activate" the link before using it. Also, if iTunes fails to see the NAS, sometimes it will (not sure if this applies anymore) generate a new "library" on your computer as a new default.
  9. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Well, the prevailing wisdom is to create a new library by using Option when you open iTunes. This creates the iTunes database and media directories in the new location. But by using Preferences/Advanced, your database remains in your local music folder and only the location of the media folder is changed. The useful side effect of this is that when your NAS is not available, iTunes can still find its database and support files and as a result probably does not even care that the media folder is not available - at least not until you try to add something...

    If you used Option to create your iTunes library and your copy of iTunes has now reverted to the Music folder, you can probably make it happy by copying the non-media files from your NAS to Music/iTunes and then updating the location in Preferences/Advanced.

  10. Russell Bell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014

    This sounds like what I would like to do. Is it possible for iTunes to keep my media folder organized on the NAS and have the database files on my local computer?

    If so, how would I go about doing this without losing everything and starting over, given that I have all of my media on the NAS and would like to move the database files only to my internal drive?
  11. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I have always done it that way, albeit I have used an external drive rather than a NAS.

    I would do it like this, in part because I do not know what state your library is in right now:

    0) Backup everything (goes without saying, right?)
    1) Shutdown iTunes
    2) Rename your local Music/iTunes to Music/iTunesBackup
    3) Start iTunes with Option key, Create Library, point it at Music. This should give you Music/iTunes.
    4) In iTunes/Preferences/Advanced set the media location to your NAS. Answer 'no' to "Do you want to move..."
    5) Shutdown iTunes.
    6) Copy everything except media from your NAS iTunes directory to Music/iTunes, e.g:

    Album Artwork folder
    iTunes Library Extras.itdb
    iTunes Library Genius.itdb
    iTunes Library itl
    iTunes Music Library.xml

    7) Cross your fingers
    8) Start iTunes and inspect.

    If everything looks good, check and if needed turn on options like "Keep folder organized" et al.

    In case something does not look right, your NAS-based database files are still on your NAS, you can point iTunes back at them with Option. If those are not the right ones, then the right ones are in Music/iTunesBackup :)

  12. Russell Bell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    That sounds like a good way to do it. Unfortunately, I'm not going to have time to look at this again for another two weeks. I'll update you then.
  13. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Well, it all worked an hour or two ago. But I cannot promise that I will remember any of it two weeks from today. :)

    Good luck,

  14. Russell Bell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    I looked tonight - my library files are on my internal drive and my media is on the NAS. So why do I have such a difficult time batch editing metadata for file in iTunes?

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