ItunesFilter: Help me manage myout of control library file.
September 12, 2007 9:08 PM   Subscribe

ItunesFilter: I have too much music! Help me manage my XML iTunes library!

Long story short, I've collected music for alot of years. I have so much in fact that I have a nearly 300meg XML library file in iTunes.

My problem is that it makes iTunes waaaaay too slow. It's like diving thru molasses to find anything or scroll thru anything. Not just coverflow mode but even in list mode.

Is there any better way to manage my library? Any way to speed up iTunes? I'm open to any suggestions.

FWIW, my library is on my C: drive. My actual mp3s and AACs are stored on a 2tb RAID box plugged in thru Firewire. My cpu is running XP SP2 at 2.5 with 4gigs of RAM.
posted by damiano99 to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Is this iTunes 7? I noticed a huge slowdown after I upgraded.

or, reworded: are you sure that it's actually your massive XML causing the problem?
posted by niles at 9:25 PM on September 12, 2007

Response by poster: I believe it is. I did notice a slight slowdown in 7, but nothing huge. It started when I finally sat down and cataloged everything in iTunes and not just the ones that were faves. My album count suddenly jumped to over 20x it's original number.

That's when I noticed it.
posted by damiano99 at 9:28 PM on September 12, 2007

If you can find a good way to do this I'd be very interested. I've resorted to using foobar for large collections combined with foldershare to sync between my home and work pcs, itunes is just way too slow.
posted by mikw at 10:10 PM on September 12, 2007

I found a huge jump in the amount of resources iTunes took when upgrading from whatever the last version 6 was to the first few 7.0s. Now finally the 7.4 version seems to run much quicker on my older machines much like 6.78 did. Try upgrading to the latest.
posted by asterisk at 12:54 AM on September 13, 2007

The xml file isn't what iTunes uses as a primary library. It's a copy of the iTunes library, for backup purposes and for other apps.

Could iTunes still be determining whether your tracks are gapless? Click on the arrow in a circle at the left of the LCD at the top of the window.

Have you tried moving your iTunes library files and re-adding all your files in iTunes?

Could you store the iTunes library files on a ram disk?
posted by stereo at 2:47 AM on September 13, 2007

I would look into splitting the collection into multiple libraries, especially if there is some clear distinction that could be made. For example, have one library for classical music only. When you hold down the option key when launching iTunes, you can select which library to launch.
posted by daser at 6:46 AM on September 13, 2007

Question (not-trying-to-be-an-ass): Why use iTunes? Honestly, iTunes wasn't built for a library this large. You need something with a better database, geared toward massive libraries.
posted by sprocket87 at 6:53 AM on September 13, 2007

Response by poster: I know... I do need something different ... I'm just confused as to what my best option is.
posted by damiano99 at 7:51 AM on September 13, 2007

How about backing up some of the music to DVD and then removing it from your library. I used to keep all my music on my computer but realized that I wasn't listening to all of it. I looked at the play count of my music and backed up the stuff with low counts. About once a month I will look at the counts again and the stuff that isn't getting played will be rotated with the stuff on DVD. That way I keep the library manageable. I actually find that having fewer choices is kind of refreshing. I will rotate out frequently played music for less frequent to push myself into listening to new music.
posted by crios at 8:11 AM on September 13, 2007

why not winamp?

even if iTunes it running properly, it's pretty much devoid of features to actually help you find your music- it's just a huge list. Smart views in winamp work great, so does the album/artist/title window setup.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:11 AM on September 13, 2007

also, if you want to do what's mentioned above, rather than actually moving files around(!) you can just use winamp smartviews to show subsets of your library:

for example: make a view to show music where filename contains "c:\rock" or "g:\classical\beethoven"

I do this so I can have a view that shows all my music on my external, and also the subset copied on my c: for when I take my laptop out and about. it works flawlessly, no need to mess around with different libraries or worry about playing a file that's not there.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:15 AM on September 13, 2007

Are there iTunes alternatives for us OSX users with large libraries?
posted by tksh at 9:57 AM on September 13, 2007

I'm surprised noone suggested this, but have you tried defragmenting your drive?
posted by mphuie at 10:42 AM on September 13, 2007

If he's got a 300MB iTunes XML file and a 2TB music storage drive, I don't think that defragging is the solution - at least not long-term, anyway.

Well, I thought my music collection was relatively large (approaching 100GB), but obviously yours is a completely different scenario. iTunes handles my library quite piggishly too, so I'm surprised yours is even working!

As suggested, Winamp does an excellent job with large libraries. Its Media Library can re-index and navigate large libraries with amazing speed, especially compared with iTunes. However, if you really have that much, even Winamp might be a hog.

Another question: Why do you need a media library manager at all? I prefer not to rely on one. Instead, I have all of my music meticulously tagged and named with a detailed file structure in Windows. Basically, it's \Music\Artist\Album\ which makes it very easy to navigate to particular artists/albums. Then you could use a program that doesn't rely on a proprietary database or library, like Billy, which loads 1,000 mp3s in 1 second. If you stop and think about what features media libraries are really offering you, you may realize you don't even need it. Furthermore, you may have to come to grips with the fact that with really, really, really large libraries, you just might not be able to have the convenience of an all-in-one library that offers all sorts of doohickeys like CD burning, etc. There's always a sacrifice somewhere - be it features, speed, etc...

Having said all this, I still believe that there is probably a suitable manager tool out there with your name on it, I just don't know what it is. Perhaps a much more powerful (but much more elbow-grease-required) solution would be a MySQL/PostgreSQL/etc music database backend coupled to an Apache server for a web interface. There are plenty of suites for this, like the Calliope Music Server, Tunequeue, gjukebox, etc. There are many others out there; some are probably more tailored to suit your needs. Unfortunately, most of these solutions are *nix based, which may not help you.

The more I think about it, the more I'm sure that a heavyweight database backend/web-interface is the way to go. I can't imagine any single client-side software able to manage a library as big as you're talking without serious speed and reliability issues. It might be a little work to set up a dedicated Linux media server, but trust me, it will be well worth it.
posted by sprocket87 at 12:20 PM on September 13, 2007

Possibly of interest: A really cool homemade jukebox with web interface and remote access displays: Jukebox
posted by sprocket87 at 1:14 PM on September 13, 2007

Another: Zina
posted by sprocket87 at 1:16 PM on September 13, 2007

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