Where should I place my music files?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ColeUK, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. ColeUK macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Good Afternoon guys,

    I have just purchased my first mac! A refurbed iMac! and I now want to move my music files across onto it.

    I am very pedantic and would like my HD to be as tidy as possible.

    My question is: Where should I place my Music Files on the HD?

    1.) Should I create a music folder within the HD Music Folder and allow iTunes to copy/duplicate the files into the iTunes Folder? (Selecting the options via iTunes Preferences).

    2.) Transfer the music files directly into the iTunes Folder?

    Or something else? What method do you guys use to store your music files on the HD?

    I intend to have some sub folders within the main folder to separate Albums and individual artists or tracks I have downloaded in the past etc...

    Finally, If I use the "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" option, will my tracks be renamed? As I intend to name/keep files names in a format I prefer.

    Do you guys have any other advice or tips for me regarding keep folders tidy on the HD?

    Appreciate the feedback!
  2. ecstasy macrumors 6502


    Jun 9, 2009
    Well, I leave all my music in one large folder, separated by artist, genre, etc.

    I prefer not to have iTunes put the music in its own folder.
  3. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Well, iTunes organizes music into ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/[artist]/[album]/[track number] [track name].[extension]. If you don't like that, leave organization off and just put the stuff straight into ~/Music (or wherever you prefer). If you do want iTunes to organize your music, it'll copy straight into its folder, so delete the originals from your hard drive after importing.

    (~ is shorthand for your user home folder.)
  4. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    I keep my music on an external HD and I organize it manually.
  5. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    I let iTunes manage my music because it automatically creates folders by Artist and Album. If you want all the users on your computer to have access to the music, I would put it somewhere public rather than in your user folder (where iTunes defaults to).
  6. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Canada EH!!!
    On my iMac, I do the same thing and put my music in a shared folder like Users/Shared because my wife and kids have their own accounts. On my MacBook Pro I just let itunes put the music in the default folder.

    If you want to allow itunes to manage your music, attach your external HD and then open iTunes and use Add to Library to import the music.

  7. i.shaun macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2008
    I prefer letting iTunes organize it, as my only access to it is through iTunes.

    Allow it to copy to library when importing, and also allow it to organize the music for you. That way any changes made within iTunes is automatically done to the files themselves.

    as stated above, the physical files are organized in a /iTunes/iTunes Music/Artist/Album/03 - track.mp3 format.

    That makes it very easy to locate physical files when necessary, simply find the artist folder, then the album, and you're there. Don't edit anything within the iTunes Music folder manually if iTunes is controlling it -- you can cause errors.

    In order to share iTunes with other users, simply move it to a central location. Either move the entire "iTunes" folder to an external HDD, Public subfolder within your user space, or into the "Shared" folder:

    On both user accounts, hold "Option" while opening iTunes, and select "Choose library". Navigate to the shared folder, and select the iTunes library file.
  8. jman240 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    From my experience with my mac so far is there really is a different mind set when using files and directory structures here.

    Let me explain. On a windows machine you have to manually organize all your files and folders for everything. On a mac, with select file types, not so much. You still can be very pedantic with documents and the like but I find with music I have an easy time of just letting the mac (see iTunes) handle it.

    The paradigm shift I made was allowing the application to take care of file management and just enjoy yourself =). I sound like such a Mac user now lol. I let iPhoto handle all my photos, iTunes organizes all my music and I use the applications to actually manage the stuff I want to manage like fixing song titles and album artwork from old CD imports. Ideally, for these types of files you never have to browse through the files system. This sort of design is intentional.

    Even for lost files or files you don't have organized well, Spotlight (the mac os search) is a godsend, so that really takes the effort out of trying to be meticulous with your directory structures, at least it did for me. It is best to first read up on how these apps handle files though, such as iPhoto 09 placing all your photos into a large database like file (though you can still export them back out if you really want to).

    Hope this helps a bit.
  9. i.shaun macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2008
    It's all preference really. On Windows, the views are single folders with different view styles, and the optional "tree" view on the side.

    When I was using that structure, I used to have ALL files in ONE folder in "details" view to find them easily. With OS X, I let iTunes do it all, and I have no problem locating the physical files with the Finder's Grid view (Which I love).

    As for Photos, I don't like iPhoto. I rather organize my photos myself rather than having to open up the app just to view a photo, or do something with a single photo. iPhoto also has a bad way of organizing which I don't like. I've imported everything before and was displeased with the mess it made. It was a lot of work to manually import any new photos I save, re-name the files so that iPhoto organizes them in "smart" albums properly. It seems to like throwing any import into an "event" mixing different pictures together, and it's one incoherent mess.

    It was too much. I put them back in my own file structure and I will organize them manually. For iTunes I don't mind using the app because I often leave it on, and play music a lot. Photos are accessed arbitrarily from time to time for various reasons so I don't require iPhoto at all.
  10. ColeUK thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Opted to let iTunes manage the files.

    Thanks for your input guys,

    On review I have opted to let iTunes organize my files. I was half way managing the names, style in my own way, but seems to be far too pedantic, and moving across to a mac I am already really happy with the results!

    Imported the folder from my ext. HD into iTunes with both preferences enabled:

    "Keep iTunes Music Folder Organized" & "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library"

    I will slowly clean up and mange the file names in iTunes to get the best presentation of file names I am happy with. (But will not concern myself too much with it now that I have this beast of a machine!) ;o)

    Thanks also for touching on iPhoto and Photo organization, as this will be the next mammoth project I undertake!
  11. yliu macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2009
    I would import all the music into iTunes, and iTunes would copy all the music into its own library, so you can delete the original files. when u want to delete a song you can do it from itunes.
  12. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Canada EH!!!
    After the import, have iTunes download the album artwork for you.


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