Seperating my music files from Itunes

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Aro2220, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Aro2220 macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2008

    I've been using iTunes for a while with my iPod touch. It's great, but I've noticed something:

    When I add music to iTunes, it seems to make a copy of the song, or I think it's actually just referencing the file on my hard drive. I think there's a consolidate library option that will copy all my music into a directory...but I don't think that's going to do what I want to do. Read on...

    The problem is that I've been sorting my music within iTunes for a while now. Mainly it means deleting songs I don't like anymore. Surprise-surprise, I found out that it's not actually deleting the songs from my hard drive. Which means if I ever try to make a backup of my music library I've got a LOT of songs that I have hand-picked for removal, back into the mix again. Hours and hours of organization GONE. Eep.

    My hard drive has been making clicking noises lately which probably means I can expect a complete HD failure soon. I need to back up everything and I need to do it fairly often.

    I tried to back up my iTunes library to an external HD but I couldn't figure that one out. Instead, I was able to back it up onto DVDs. But, I can't really access those files individually. At best they consist of unlabelled file names like ABNX.mp3 and so on. I have no idea what is what.

    I can back up my files onto DVD's but that takes hours. I would much prefer it to be making changes to my actual file library so I can just copy everything manually onto a HD without requiring iTunes to iTuneify my collection before exporting.

    The main reason is that if I want to buy another mp3 player (lets say a cheap one for the gym) it isn't going to be an iPod, it will probably be some $10 piece of junk...which means I can't use iTunes. So, I need to be able to access my library by their files. And it would be nice if the files are labelled so I can search for them in explorer, etc.

    I just want things organized more than just by its id tags and I want the ability to move my library away from apple if I need to (i don't like being restricted)

    Anyway, does anyone know how I can clean up this mess? I want a nice organized iTunes library - which I can do already - and a nice organized file library - which I can't do.

    Before I go to bed every night I can just delete all the music off my external HD and set a complete copy of my music library and then go to sleep. I can't do that with the DVD backup since I have to switch DVD's every 20 minutes.

    This way, if my Hard Drive crashes all I have to do is reformat, install iTunes and throw all my mp3's back on which are already organized by their ID tags. No need for 12 DVD and 40 hours of iTunes conversion. It would also be nice since I can put my music onto other computers easily without needing to do the weird iTunification. (I have 3 seperate computers that I use at home)

    I don't need to know how to convert protected files. This is for unprotected files only.

    Sorry for the long read. Thanks for any help.
  2. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    If you select 'keep itunes music folder organized', and 'copy to itunes music folder when adding to library', then consolidate your library, you'll be all set. Everything outside of the iTunes music folder is now trash, and everything inside will be as neatly organized and named as they are inside the iTunes app. From then on when you rename, clean up, etc inside itunes, it will clean up and rename the actual file structure in the iTunes music folder.
  3. Aro2220 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2008
    That sounds great, just one question.

    Can I go into the file folder and copy the files manually? Or are they somehow protected?
  4. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    This is an example of how the music folder looks in the finder (Explorer if you're on a PC). It's only as organized as your iTunes library itself. If you have a bunch of songs with no albums, artists, etc. then this folder doesn't look as pretty. Yes you can go in and copy them.

    Attached Files:

  5. Aro2220 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2008
    I checked my folder and noticed a bunch of .m4a's..and i thought apple was converting everything into m4a and I was upset about that

    Then I saw your post and noticed yours are in .mp3

    then I checked my folder again for the new files that were being copied...they are in .mp3

    I think the .m4a's I have were from wma files that were added to my library and were subsequently converted ages ago.

    Very cool. Thank you very much. Everything looks like it's working great =-D

    Merry Christmas!
  6. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    m4a means AAC file. You have the option in your import preferences to specify mp3 or AAC. I personally prefer AAC, but if you are buying a cheap 'mp3' player, might as well stick with that.

    Happy Holidays!

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