Fellow iTunes micromanagers: Is there a better solution for having one iTunes library in two places at once?
November 22, 2005 10:53 AM   Subscribe

I need to listen to music at work, but my iTunes library is at home. I've set up remote sharing via SSH tunnelling and Bonjour proxying, but I'm a bit of a nazi about playcounts -- I have multiple Smart Playlists set up to create mixes based on play count -- and iTunes doesn't update playcounts for shared tracks when they're played remotely. Fellow iTunes micromanagers: Is there a better solution for having one iTunes library in two places at once?

I'm not stuck on the SSH tunnelling solution by any means. I'd use my iPod, but a) it only has a selection of my music on it and b) its battery is frotzed, and the only way to play it through the work computer is to set it to Manual, then back to Auto-sync when I take it home, which means that the playcounts don't update (because iTunes no longer thinks the iPod tracks correspond to the iTunes tracks.) Any help? Is there any way to get iTunes to update playcounts when another machine plays a track via Shared Library? What about a setup where I played the tracks via my local iTunes install (I have VNC set up, so that's no trouble), but the direct audio feed was streamed to my work Mac? I know that there are tons of iTunes geeks who listen to music at work here, so I'm betting that there are some really cool alternate solutions for library transportation floating around.
posted by tweebiscuit to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
posted by szg8 at 11:33 AM on November 22, 2005

There's that cross platform Shared Folders thing that Microsoft just bought (think it was an FPP recently?). I use a similar method (local synchronization tool) to synch iTunes files between my laptop and home system (PC user here, but it should work the same way - iTunes stores data in an XML file).

What happens is the newest version of the file is copied to the other computer, bidirectionally. If I play file X three times at work, then go home and sync, it says I've played it three times at home as well. Usually. Depends on how often someone opens iTunes at home or work - if running in both places at once it can get confusing.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2005

are you a developer? I can think of 3 potential solutions, two of which would require some programming knowledge:

1) find out if AppleScripts exist for a) detecting playstate changes in iTunes b) updating library metadata in iTunes. If both exist, write an applescript which detects whether you're connected to the box remotely (probably a simple dump of netstat filtered on your work IP and port) and manually update playcount when you detect playstate change.

2) write a visualization plug-in for iTunes which does the above. would be more difficult because it's c/c++, but since it's a plug-in, you might have more access to the internals of the player. you'd have to read the iTunes visuals API, though, to find out if this is true.

3) Run a shoutcast server from your home (based on wave output from iTunes) and use VNC to control iTunes.

Hopefully there's a more simple solution.. good luck!
posted by helios at 1:15 PM on November 22, 2005

I'm not enough of a developer for #2, but maybe for #1. The syncing isn't a bad idea, especially using rsync, but I'm a bit nervous of putting 40GB on my new employer's hard drive and running a cron to transfer a load of mp3s all night. Maybe in a few months, though...

Thanks folks!
posted by tweebiscuit at 1:33 PM on November 22, 2005

Last.fm/Audioscrobbler does some neat stuff with playlists, similar to what iTunes does. Since I started using it I stopped caring about my iTunes playcounts.
posted by kjell at 1:47 PM on November 22, 2005

Lookee here for the FPP mentioned by caution live frogs, posted a couple of days ago.
posted by penguin pie at 6:35 AM on November 23, 2005

In case anyone finds this via Google -- running this script on my iTunes server does exactly what I needed it to, and quite simply too! It's the perfect solution.
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:31 AM on December 19, 2005

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