iTunes multiple libraries question
November 16, 2020 12:50 PM   Subscribe

After many years of having all my audio in the same iTunes library, I'm splitting off all of my DJ mixes (CDs, FACT, Resident Advisor, etc) into a separate library to make browsing easier. However, I've run into a few logistical problems:

1. How can I stop the "ghost" entries for purchased but not downloaded iTunes Store music from showing up in the DJ mix library? As far as I can tell, my only option seems to be hiding the purchase from my account entirely across all libraries.

2. Will I be able to move files from both libraries to my iPhone (which does not sync automatically)?

3. Likewise, is there any cause to worry that this might screw up my podcasts? I currently use my phone and the default Apple podcast app to organize, and have cleaned out any old folders on my PC of podcasts that I'm no longer subscribed to. Ideally, if a separate library can hold a separate set of RSS feeds, I'd like to resubscribe to some (like Beats in Space) that aren't easily downloadable as nicely tagged single files with art and metadata (like RA and FACT), but the potential for cross contamination and just general Apple awfulness makes me hesitant.
posted by Merzbau to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It will likely screw up everything. iTunes is a nightmare program. I am not trying to be glib. I have way too much experience in this area. It's like the program is waiting for you to do some file management on your own, and then it happily ruins everything. Ghost entries are a favorite hobby of iTunes.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:16 PM on November 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

I don't know if this helps, but instead of creating separate libraries, I created really large playlists. I have one playlist I use to sync to my phone and the others don't. I can browse the playlists but everything still lives in the library (which is on an external hard drive, which is its own sweet nightmare but my computer doesn't have enough space for it). It's not a great solution, but I hadn't even thought of the two-library solution so probably I should just sit down!
posted by clone boulevard at 1:38 PM on November 16, 2020

Perhaps there's an iTunes alternative that would work better for you?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:35 PM on November 16, 2020

Itunes is a bag of hurt. If you use it for anything other than the basics (listening to Apple Music or purchased tracks, synching to an iPhone) it will fail you. Even Apple has abandoned iTunes, it isn't in the 2 latest versions of MacOS. Last time I tried maintaining multiple libraries I lost tons of playlists my wife and I had spent years creating.

I use clone boulevard's solution, using playlists (and occasionally smart playlists that filter by genre or track length) to manage the different types of listening.

Unfortunately I don't have a better idea. I need to move away from my huge, often corrupt iTunes library and haven't found a better way yet.
posted by mmoncur at 4:35 AM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Even Apple has abandoned iTunes, it isn't in the 2 latest versions of MacOS.

Sorry to be picky but they didn’t “abandon” it, which I can imagine would worry some people who haven’t updated their Mac for some time.

They moved some functionality (syncing with iPhones and iPads) out of it and renamed it Music. And made various other UI “improvements”, but that’s another thread.
posted by fabius at 6:39 AM on November 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm using the PC version, where that distinction hasn't been made (yet?). PC iTunes is as ever in a kind of...I guess "active neglect" is the best term, where it's kept updated but bugs are allowed to simmer for months or years.

While I'm too deeply entrenched to really consider moving to a new platform now- I've been using it for over a decade, have plenty of purchased/redownloadable music, and at the very least don't mind the way it's integrated with podcast management- I fully sympathize with the description of iTunes as a nightmare garbage program. I've had it somehow "lose" files that didn't actually go anywhere, requiring me to just point to their unchanged original locations before I can play them back, etc.

It's sounding like the second library solution is a pretty quixotic one, just trading one form of inelegance (adding all the DJ mixes to a separate playlist, then creating a smart playlist excluding that one's contents) for another (holding down shift and clicking through to a different root folder), with the added tradeoff of making me twice as vulnerable to any problems with a corrupted library file.

Thanks for the input, everybody- fortunately I'd only gotten as far as C when moving DJ mixes out of my main media folder and into temporary storage.
posted by Merzbau at 7:53 AM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

So a couple people have suggested iTunes alternatives... Anyone know a good one? I used DoubleTwist a long time ago, but I have no idea whether it's still a solid choice.
posted by ®@ at 8:45 AM on November 17, 2020

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