Sharing (synchronizing) a single iTunes library over multiple computers

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Charles-Ryan, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Charles-Ryan macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2008
    Okay, i've been looking all over for a simple answer to this problem for a while and haven't found a solution that doesn't involve paying for third-party software or a lot of seemingly unnecessary hassle. I posted this question on Apple's site too but haven't gotten any answers there yet either. I'm sure you guys can help though. Here's my situation:

    I have an older 12" PowerBook G4 and a brand new MacBook Pro. I also have a Time Capsule and a 30 gig iPod, but i'm not sure whether they will be helpful or not for my situation. When i got my MacBook Pro, i let Leopard transfer all my info, so now both computers have the same login information, music library, iPhoto library, etc... But not for long, naturally. I want to use my MBP at home primarily and will spend most of my time on it, but i will also frequently be out and will be taking my PowerBook along as it is both more portable and less of a concern if something happens to it. What i want to do is to set things up so that my iTunes library (including playlists, ratings, and other metadata) is kept synchronized across both computers (perhaps via the Time Capsule?) and that any changes made on either mac will at least eventually be mirrored on the other without causing duplicates or loss of any files. I don't need to keep separate versions or sizes of iTunes libraries either; the hard drives are each large enough to hold the entire thing.

    On a side note, the iPod only needs to be able to sync from the MBP, i think, though it would be nice to have the option to sync from either. Sadly, it’s not large enough to hold the whole library, so i can’t use that to go back and forth or anything.

    Also, i wouldn’t mind if the library were only stored on the TC and the PB, since the MBP should be able to access the TC 99% of the time, but in that case the PB would have to compare its own library and metadata to that of the TC, while i’m not sure how the MBP would store its iTunes database on the TC and not its own drive. I imagine that, with the current implementation of iTunes at least, it would have to be all on the MBP and the PB, with the TC version merely a backup. In most cases, i should be able to reach both my TC and my MBP from the road over the internet, but i still want to have the library on the PB hard drive for when i don’t have a connection.

    I wouldn’t mind a “master, slave” type setup either, with the MBP being the master, since with the only working optical drive and a faster connection, it will be doing most of my importing- but it’s important that the playlists and everything are the same and it sure would be nice if i didn’t have to remember not to make any changes from the PB. I don't plan on buying any music from the iTunes store and my entire library is DRM free, so that won't be a problem. Both systems are running the latest versions of all software and operating system (though i hear this may change with Snow Leopard...?)

    And while we’re at it, doing the same or similar to my iPhoto, iCal, Addressbook, Documents, etc. would be nice. Perhaps something can be done with the entire Home folder that would accomplish all of this? I’m not sure if the fact that one is Intel and the other is PowerPC would put a hitch in that method though. There are some settings, such as the totally different trackpads, etc. that will not be the same, plus i’ll be using a lot of programs solely on the MBP, which is why cloning the drive is not an option.

    I’d like to find a way to set this up using just Automator and maybe some Applescripts if possible, but if i do have to bend and go third-party, it would need to be solid.

    I know my situation is unique (I’ve found a lot of people trying to synchronize libraries, say, with a spouse, etc. WITHOUT syncing the metadata- or people wanting different libraries on different computers to feed into the same pool, but those are very different cases, obviously) but i’m sure there are plenty of people out there with several different macs of their own who could benefit from this solution. Any help you can give towards this would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Charles-Ryan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2008
  3. creationmyth macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2008
    US of
    I don't think there's anyway to do it where you have two physical copies of the same itunes libraries that automatically mirror each other's updates. As far as I know, this is impossible. Even storing the library on an external and loading it into two separate iTunes applications (one on the MBP, one on the PB) would not necessarily ensure clean updating.

    However, if both computers are connected to the same internet network one could access the iTunes library of the second via a "shared" connection. I've done this several times. Basically it's a way of gaining remote access to another computer's iTunes. The "shared" setting has to be turned on in the iTunes app of the computer with the files, however. Anyway I doubt this will exactly solve your problem but I think it's the only way to really get the same iTunes library on 2 comps.

    Other applications like iCal and the address book can be synced using a .mac account and the program "sync".
  4. prostuff1 macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2005
    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    You could probably get something working by just setting up some sort of synchronization between the two libraries when they are both at home and on the same network.

    Seeing as i have never done anything quite like this my suggestion might be a little off but here it goes anyway.

    Something like Chronosync should do the job for you. If you could just make sure to have both computers on your network at say, 3 am every morning, then you could set up a task to run at that time. I use Chronosync on a much smaller scale to sync a folder on my computer with one on my thumb drive. I just have to make sure that i have the thumb drive plugged in every night. If i don't it gives a little error about not being able to find the thumb drive. It's no huge deal just a little annoyance.
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    This is just one of the ways in which iTunes just isn't for anyone who really cares about music, but some of us are locked into because we choose to use iPhone/Touch.

    Tuneranger which you may already have come across is a slightly fiddly, rather bug-ridden way to sync metadata and iTunes-related files across multiple computers. It is pay-for software, although I can't imagine anyone with more than one entry-level computer being so cheapskate as to regard $30 as a sole dealbreaker. And as somewhat crap as it is, it's the best solution I've seen out of...

    ...well, one. There are involved Applescripts which will do some of the tasks, but I can almost guarantee you'll tire of sweating/waiting over the scripts pretty quickly.

    Chronosync will take care of the rest for file sync. Another $30 - oh, the humanity...
  6. Charles-Ryan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2008
    So Chronosync alone wouldn't do the entire job; i'd have to use Tuneranger as well?? $30 is one thing, but $60 and bug-ridden software is just ridiculous, IMHO. There's gotta be an easier way.
  7. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    The short answer is no.

    The long answer is not until His Steveness deems it worthy of the plebs to have the functionality.

    Besides, Chronosync is pretty decent (although you can get something just as decent from MS on Windows for $0) - so think about it as only sorta-having-a-punt-on $30.
  8. cjvirus macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2008
    The solution!

    Hi there this is my first post and i hope i would help you. I have totaly syncronized my 2 itunes database files acros my home lan.

    Here is my setup:

    1. Western Digital 1 Terra Network Attached Storage with all my mp3z in it
    2. winxp on my desk top
    3. winxp on my laptop

    and now the magic:

    you need this commands to be executed

    XCOPY path1 path2 /D /I %3 /y
    XCOPY path2 path1 /D /I %3 /y

    you replace the path1 and path2 with your itunes library path

    XCOPY "C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl" "\\Fireslicer\C\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl" /D /I %3 /y

    you put those 2 xcopy commands in a batch file and run it before you run the itunes

    the script just copies the newest file to olderone so you always have the fresh list

    this script wont help you if you want to edit both lybraries at the same time.

    i am sure that one of mac gues here could translate this script to mac commands

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