Transferring my Winamp library into iTunes?
November 11, 2012 2:16 AM   Subscribe

Winamp, I love you but you're bringing me down. I'm finally ready to make the switch to iTunes, but I'd like to preserve my ratings, play counts, and last play data. How to best migrate my media library?

I know -- iTunes is the devil etc etc. But after years of standing up for Winamp, I just can't take it anymore. There's always some other thing that's not working. Right now, it's barely starting up at all, and I just want something that works, no matter how corporate or bloated.

So, how to best migrate? I have a ~600 GB music library with over ten years worth of ratings, playcounts and lastplay info. I'd like to keep as much of that as possible so I can set up equivalent smart playlists in iTunes. But there doesn't seem to be an easy way to do this...

* Winamp lets you export an iTunes-format xml library, but I haven't found a way to import this into iTunes.

* Winamp now also offers a way to write ratings to the mp3 files themselves. I have this turned off because I think it messes with lastplay info, or at least filetimes. But if this was a workable way to get the ratings transferred, I'd would sacrifice lastplay/filetimes to keep the ratings.

* I sync my iPod through Winamp with ml_ipod, so maybe there's a way to sync those ratings back with iTunes? No idea if this could work.

I've asked these questions on the Winamp forums, but there's an annoying attitude of "we don't even let iTunes NEAR our computers so we wouldn't know" there. I'd appreciate any help. Ratings transfer is especially important to me; without it I won't make the switch. Lastplay info and playcounts would be nice, but I guess I could sacrifice them. Thanks all.
posted by muckster to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This might help. At least it shows how to import XML-files into iTunes (you can find it under: File -- Library -- Import Playlist. ). Also check out the comments there for some nice way dealing with the ratings in 5 easy steps.

Please note, that this information is at least over 1 year old and I neither use iTunes nor an iPod.
posted by KMB at 4:31 AM on November 11, 2012

Have you tried MediaMonkey ?

I've been using it for several years now and would not go back to iTunes (or an iPod). It has an iPod sync plug-in, and a quick google search found that it claims to be able to import Winamp metadata, which I have never personally tried.

There is a freeware version and a paid version that does more.
posted by rfs at 5:57 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does it have to be iTunes? Mediamonkey will sync with ipods, and also appears to import all that data from Winamp. Keeping in mind that I never imported similar data myself. But Mediamonkey has pretty active forums, I'm sure someone there could help you.
posted by timepiece at 6:00 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Itunes is the worst thing to ever have been sent to this earth. If the 2012 apocalypse is real, it will be itunes. I'm pretty sure itunes is Kyser Soze.

OK, not really, but itunes starts to get really slow and clunky when you have a large music library, and you have a VERY large library. I would suggest you avoid it like the plague.

I have used Media Monkey in the past and found it to be a very good program. It has been a number of years, so I can't say whether or not it is still good, but anything is better than itunes.
posted by markblasco at 7:15 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you wanted to do itunes, you could always try it and see what happens. Load it up, open it, and have it scan your songs. I would suggest you back up your music, though, since you have so much attachment to your ratings (and it's a good idea to have a library of that size backed up anyways). I don't know if itunes would damage anything on import, but a backup would keep this from being a catastrophe.

Also, itunes has a feature where it automatically organizes your music into artist and album folders. This is great if you have itunes import all of your music, but if you are importing music from somewhere else, it will cause itunes to make copies of every song in the itunes music folder, which is definitely not what you want.
posted by markblasco at 7:19 AM on November 11, 2012

iTunes really is the most terrible possible option. I've used iTunes, Media Monkey, Winamp, and Foobar2000, and I think Media Monkey is probably the best option for you. I did not import anything when I started using Media Monkey, but apparently when you first install and set it up, it gives you an option to import your Winamp database. So you can always install it and give it a try, and if it doesn't work the people on the forums are pretty helpful.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:26 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just about caved in and abandoned Winamp not too long ago, mainly because it would occasionally have an aneurism, its database would get corrupted, and I'd lose my podcast subscriptions, playcounts & ratings info. I think this may have happened once or twice when I accidentally opened multiple instances simultaneously.

I too use ml_ipod to sync my iPod. Of particular importance to me was having a smart playlists feature, and quite simply, no other media player is as versatile in this regard as Winamp. In the end, that's one of the two things that prevented me from switching. The other was the Winamp Backup Tool, which lets me recover from a glitch quickly and easily.
posted by perspicio at 9:33 AM on November 11, 2012

Not iTunes! Don't even put it on your computer.
posted by sully75 at 10:29 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I too have a large library, iTunes is not the app you want. Seriously, it will choke dead ducks with a library that size. I use media monkey for my music on the pc, and it is reliable.
posted by jadepearl at 6:00 PM on November 11, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I'm investigating MediaMonkey, and I'll report back here...
posted by muckster at 2:33 AM on November 12, 2012

Response by poster: So, I gave MediaMonkey a shot but I don't think it's the way to go for me. The library scan took over two hours, crashed, and then hung the second time around during the Winamp import -- and I'm kind of glad it did because it seemed to be altering the files. And while it may well be a fine program, it's more doodats, plugins, skin options and settings than I want. If I wanted involved tinkering, I'd stick with Winamp, where at least I know where the settings are.

After some trial & error, KMB's link did in fact get most of my ratings & playcounts into iTunes, as far as I can tell. I'm guessing the missing files are formats that iTunes can't read. I'll play around with it and see if it really is too sluggish -- at the moment, it seems no slower than MediaMonkey.

All that said, I got Winamp to work again with some help from the folks at the forums there (turns out I had to delete the audioscrobbler plugin), so *maybe* I'll stick it out a little longer. Either way though, it's good to know I *can* switch to iTunes if I need to. Thanks for the help, everyone.
posted by muckster at 7:45 AM on November 13, 2012

I am impressed you got that large of a library to function in iTunes. Is it speedy? Did all the data migrate? iTunes was able to get the files for me but the performance and crashing were bad. Also, questions of the files having been migrated successfully was another issue. Thanks for the follow-up.
posted by jadepearl at 3:10 PM on November 13, 2012

Response by poster: It's not speedy. Not so slow that you can't use it, but definitely slower than Winamp with the same library. No crashes, and it looks like it imported just about everything, with the exception of a few FLAC files. KMB's method worked fine -- export XML file from Winamp, export iTunes XML, compare the two, find/replace so the file locations match (this was the hardest part; 90 MB file crashed Notepad), delete iTunes library, import Winamp XML as playlist. Took a while, but it worked.

But right this moment, I'm listening to Winamp...
posted by muckster at 2:33 AM on November 14, 2012

Response by poster: I should probably add that part of this wasn't just the question of switching now but also future-proofing my library. There's a good chance this family will go all-Mac at some point soon, and it seems that then there really isn't much choice other than iTunes, right? There's a Mac Winamp but it looks very beta.... but that's a question for another thread.
posted by muckster at 2:42 AM on November 14, 2012

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