A household divided by music software...
April 15, 2012 1:39 AM   Subscribe

I need help making iTunes, MediaMonkey, two iPhones and an external drive all play nicely with each other and our household's burgeoning music collection!

Found out about MediaMonkey here on the green a year ago, and love it! I've been using it (gold version) to manage my music on my personal laptop, but have decided to finally take the plunge and combine my music collection with my husband's on our PC desktop & external drive. For reasons that defy logic (i.e. complete laziness coupled with a case of Apple fanboy), my husband refuses to switch from using iTunes. I know, I know.

What I'd like to do: Organize all current and future incoming music (location/file name/tags) using MediaMonkey, and move it onto the massive external drive. Point iTunes to the music on the external drive, and have it notice when new music appears there, so the husband can reap the benefits of my labor. ;) Be able to put music onto our two iPhones (4s & 4 using the latest OS, if it matters) using iTunes (for him) and, if possible, MediaMonkey (for me). Maybe use Subsonic to stream to either of our phones, but this can't be a primary music delivery system because we travel and hike in remote places a bunch. I care a lot more about music and our collection than he does, even though he's the tech-savvy member of the household, so that's why the job's fallen to me.

What's happening now: Almost all of my music is cleaned up and moved onto the external drive. His music is mostly a nails-on-chalkboard disordered mess that I'm slowly cleaning up and moving to the external drive for the household PC. I told iTunes on our PC to stop trying to reorganize our music, and (I think) to look at the external drive, but have no idea how to get it to update as new music gets put there. I'm using iTunes to put music on both of our phones because I don't know how to get MediaMonkey to play nice with the latest OS on my phone. His Mac laptop and my Dell laptop are currently not interacting with the music collection, but it'd be awesome if they could somehow(external drive is network-attached). I've downloaded Subsonic, but I don't know how to get it to look at the external drive for our music.

Please hope me, preferably with small words aimed at the tech-comfortable-but-not-super-skilled. Thanks! :D

(Bonus itunes frustration/question: iTunes breaks up some mixed artist albums into two albums when it loads them onto my phone, for absolutely no reason that I can see, and it's pissing me off. Album Artist is always labelled as Various and MediaMonkey sees it as one coherent album.)
posted by Gori Girl to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: On the bonus question: the iPhone music app does not respect the "Album Artist" tag. That's all that's going on there.

I've been using iTunes for a long time [without ever losing a song or having it move stuff around unexpectedly; maybe I'm lucky], and can probably take a good shot at explaining how to do what you want [I have a Windows machine here in the house with the 250GB music library on an external drive; three other machines in the house use iTunes to access the shared library, each syncing their own iPod/iPhone. The main machine syncs to one iPhone, one iPad, one iPod.] if you can describe the particulars a bit more.

Are there two machines involved? Your laptop and his desktop, with the external drive on the desktop? Once all the music is on the external drive, do you want it to be stored only there, with both machines accessing the same set of files?

On updating the library with new music. To my knowledge, there isn't an automatic way to do this. There are a couple built-in options, but I' don't want to muddy the water before I know what the infrastructure looks like.
posted by chazlarson at 6:04 AM on April 15, 2012

Also, your bonus issue really annoys me, too. I've got a raft of single-song albums on my iPhone by "Frank Sinatra and Somebody Else" or "Beastie Boys featuring This One Guy".
posted by chazlarson at 6:20 AM on April 15, 2012

Best answer: Well, now that I read your question again, I see that everything I was asking about is in there. Sorry about that.

On subsonic: All that should be required is to set up a music folder in the settings. Here's what it looks like on this machine, with the music directory on an external drive.

On the music server, a couple more questions:

You can set up iTunes as a server that will be accessible to the clients, each of which have their own local iTunes libraries [find something in the master library, drag it down locally to sync it, or just listen from the server]. In this case, if a client drags a song into iTunes, it doesn't end up on the server. However, new songs added at the server are automagically visible to all clients.

Or, all the clients access the same network store for their music; if someone drags a song into iTunes on their laptop, it ends up on the network store. This setup does not require iTunes on the server at all. However, other iTunes will not automagically see these additions.

Is one of those close, or did you have something else in mind?
posted by chazlarson at 1:16 PM on April 16, 2012

Response by poster: This is very helpful - thanks! (Sorry for the delay in responding - I'm traveling in an area where Internet is very spotty).
posted by Gori Girl at 11:43 PM on April 16, 2012

I'll try to codify the notes I made in the last couple days describing how iTunes works and how to configure it for various purposes.
posted by chazlarson at 7:31 AM on April 17, 2012

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