I am trying to track everything I listen to over several years through iTunes. Help.
October 18, 2012 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I would like to access my entire iTunes library (stored at home) at work in such a way that when I listen to a track, its play count in iTunes goes up. Am I missing something easy or is this harder to do than it should be?

I am not willing to move my iTunes library or shift to a different application (although I am of course willing to use other applications to accomplish my end, I just have almost ten years of data in iTunes).
posted by anthropomorphic to Technology (13 answers total)
 
Do you have any sort of portable iOS device? Because they all do this sort of reporting.
posted by Oktober at 10:36 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Open your home iTunes Library on your work computer, by using the "alternate Library" feature. This means that your work computer will have to be able to see and access the location of your iTunes Library on your home computer (or course), and my understanding is that this method can cause problems if both computers are trying to access the Library at the same time (though the last time I tried this approach was several versions of iTunes ago). If iTunes at home is closed when you are at work, this method should do the trick.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:44 AM on October 18, 2012


Oktober is right. I have a nano. Plug it in a work and listen to the library there (withOUT downloading music to your work computer. Sync it once a week or so, voila. If you have an iOS device you don't even have to manually sync it. Just use the cloud. The only reason I actually plug my nano in is for battery life/charging.
posted by Brittanie at 10:47 AM on October 18, 2012


I have a 120+ GB iTunes library. My 64 GB idevices are not sufficient. Also, I find that if I play songs through my iPhone through iTunes at work (which I would prefer because I like using the larger screen on my monitor to view more data, database style), the play count does NOT update. Very frustrating.

@Rock Steady: So I would need to have the library file accessible somehow. How? Do I need to set up a server?
posted by anthropomorphic at 10:52 AM on October 18, 2012


My solution to maintaining accurate play counts has been to ignore iTunes' play counts and use last.fm to track my listening habits. I stream my 20,000 song collection from my PC to my iPhone using a server app called Subsonic and a client called iSub. Each song I listen to, whether it be through iTunes itself or Subsonic, phones home to last.fm and reports what I've heard last.

Depending on why you want iTunes to have an accurate track of your listening, this solution may or may not be feasible for you. Either way, good luck!
posted by blue t-shirt at 11:05 AM on October 18, 2012


Neglected to mention this part: I realize you don't want to lose your iTunes history, but it's apparently possible to import your listening history from iTunes into last.fm, which means it'd be preserved should something happen to your iTunes library.
posted by blue t-shirt at 11:09 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe the play count, along with a lot of other data, is kept by and is a function of the itunes program. The music files are separate. So anytime you access the files without playing them through the local program it would have no way of updating. The play count is the local copy of itunes saying "I have played this song X times" not the file saying "I have been played X times".

It would be like taking your LP’s to someone else’s house and playing them, your turntable at home would not know how many times you played it.

I’m sorry if this is all obvious to you.

I also use last.fm for tracking. It keeps track of my ipod plays too.
posted by bongo_x at 11:10 AM on October 18, 2012


If you have less than 25,000 songs (and want to pay $25/year), you could use iTunes Match. I access what I want from iTunes on my work computer and the play counts get updated everywhere.
posted by FreezBoy at 11:18 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


FreezBoy: you could use iTunes Match. I access what I want from iTunes on my work computer and the play counts get updated everywhere.

Well looky that, it does. That's how I access my music at work, but for some reason I thought it kept separate playcounts. This is what you want to do, anthropomorphic. iTunes Match is well worth the money.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:24 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe the play count, along with a lot of other data, is kept by and is a function of the itunes program.

I'm not sure this is true. I hardly ever listen to music through iTunes. I almost exclusively use my iPhone or iPod. I have a general smart playlist limited to 4g, least recently played. I sync manually about once a week, and the playlist always refreshes with new songs.
posted by Brittanie at 12:52 PM on October 18, 2012


I believe the play count, along with a lot of other data, is kept by and is a function of the itunes program.

True, but when you play songs on your iPhone through the iPhone, it updates play counts when you sync with your home computer. For some reason, if you hook your iPhone up to a different computer and play mp3s on your iPhone through iTunes, it does NOT update the play counts when you sync with your home computer.

iTunes Match might be what I need, even though I probably have way more than 25k songs. Thanks! Let me know if anyone has any other suggestions.
posted by anthropomorphic at 1:09 PM on October 18, 2012


Playcount is actually stored in the iTunes Library.itl file, along with ratings and playlists and other iTunes-specific metadata. If this kind of information is important to you, make sure you are backing up that file.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2012


The reason it is not uploading playcounts when you use itunes on your computer is that the playcount info is being saved with the itunes library info, and when you use itunes on a different computer, you are using a different library, regardless of where you are pulling the music files from. When you play them on your ipod directly, they save the playcount info and then transfer it to the library when you sync.

I haven't used it, but itunes match sounds like your best bet.
posted by markblasco at 8:14 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


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