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Topic: Merge / combine two iTunes libraries into one?

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Old 08-15-2008, 02:40 AM
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Question Merge / combine two iTunes libraries into one?

I have a desktop with a large iTunes library, including ITMS purchases. I was away from that desktop for a while, and started a new iTunes library on a laptop, including ITMS purchases.

Now I'd like to consolidate everything back onto the desktop iTunes and remove iTunes from the laptop.

I'm looking for a procedure to merge / combine the two libraries. These are both the latest iTunes 7.7.

Any pointers to the correct procedure?
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:20 AM
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Copy the smallest library onto an external HDD,
Import from that External HDD into the desktop itunes
job done

at least that's what I would do
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:03 AM
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If you want to save metadata from the laptop (ratings, play counts, playlists, etc.), you'll need to export the laptop library, then import it into the desktop.

If you can network the two machines together, great -- share the laptop's drive, and from the laptop's iTunes select "Export library" from File menu; then on the desktop's iTunes, set Prefs -> Advanced -> General -> "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library". Then select Import from File menu and pick the laptop's exported xml file; all the laptop's music and all its important data will move over to the desktop.

If you can't network the two together, you'll need an external HD. First, connect the HD to the laptop, then set Prefs -> Advanced -> General -> iTunes Music folder location to a folder on the external, then select Consolidate from the Advanced menu -- this will copy your files to the external and update the laptop's library to know the files are on that disk. Then select Export Library and copy the exported xml file to the external.

Then connect the external to the desktop machine -- make sure it has the same drive letter on the desktop machine that it had on the laptop(!) Then set the desktop's iTunes to "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library" and select File menu -> Import on the desktop's iTunes and point it to the xml file from the laptop; all the files on the external (and the ratings, playlsits, etc.) will copy over to the desktop machine.
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Old 09-20-2008, 03:49 PM
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Today I had a chance to try the procedure above, using an external HDD. I was careful to make sure the external drive was F: on both machines. However, when I try to import Library.xml on the desktop, it creates the playlists, but then pops up this error:

"some of the songs in the file library.xml were not imported because they could not be found"

And it imports no songs.

I've doublechecked the Locations in the xml file, and they appear correct. Here's an example:

<key>Location</key><string>file://localhost/F:/itunesxfer/Pink%20Floyd/The%20Wall/1-01%20In%20The%20Flesh_%20(1994%20Digital%20Rem.mp3 </string>

Any ideas?
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Old 09-20-2008, 04:21 PM
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So you really have a file named "1-01 In The Flesh_ (1994 Digital Rem.mp3?" ?

Like, that file name doesn't actually end in "ix)", to spell out "(1994 Digital Remix)"? The "?" at the end of that file name signifies the blank that appears between ".mp3" and "</string>" -- there should be nothing between the file extension and the </string> tag. I dunno what Windows considers to be too-long a file name; maybe what the xml file is showing is valid, in terms of length...but that blank before </string> is mighty suspicious. Also, I wonder about the "_" appearing after "Flesh" -- underscores are the iTunes way of designating an "illegal" file name char...maybe iTunes got it wrong?

If you can find some common theme that might be fouling up the paths, you can try fixing the xml file with search and replace in a text processor...I guess otherwise about all you can is try exporting a few tens or hundreds of files at a time, hoping to avoid the bad ones.

(Or, kiss the metada goodbye and just import the tracks freshly into the desktop iTunes.)
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Old 09-20-2008, 04:40 PM
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Just doublechecked the xml. I do have a file called:

"1-01 In The Flesh_ (1994 Digital Rem.mp3" (w/o quotes)

In the xml file, it does end with ".mp3</string>" (w/o quotes). I'm guessing the forum software introduced a space.

Also, after posting, I was poking around in the folders and realized that my laptop encrypted the data, so that's one major reason my desktop can't read the files (doh!). That's probably the only reason. I'm getting ready to redo the process without encrypted files. I'll post the results.

S2_Mac -- thanks for all the help and the quick reply.
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Old 09-20-2008, 08:38 PM
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realized that my laptop encrypted the data

LOL! Yeah, decrypting should help, since iTunes wants to read the files as they get added. (Who knows, might also make you safer at border crossings ;-)
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:32 PM
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Combining Apple G3 and G4 iTunes libraries

Hello all (especially S2_Mac),

I've done a bunch of google searches, and this step-by-step method of combining two iTunes libraries seems to be the best bet. I know this thread is old, but so are my iBooks, so if anyone's still paying attention to it, I had a couple of questions.

1. I don't have enough space on my G4 for both libraries. If I export the .xml file from my G4 and import it to the external drive, should that work the same way?

2. I've been using option+iTunes in order to choose which library to access. Will that mess up the combination process?

Thanks again for the tips. I'll let you know how it goes for the sake of future iTunes users.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:58 PM
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Just FYI to future users--if you're using this export library process, make sure that the different libraries are stored on different drives. It didn't work when I tried to export one library to another that was stored on the same drive. Also, it seems to work less well with iTunes 10 than with 9, so if you have an option to use iTunes 9, I'd go with that. I had some albums show up without metadata, especially when they were duplicated in both libraries.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:46 AM
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Can anyone help me out a bit here?
I am following the steps described here using a networked connection. I am trying to merge one library with another.
I'm going from a windows XP desktop TO a windows 7 laptop, both already updated to iTunes 10.5.3.3. Ultimately I will be getting rid of the desktop, then once the libraries are cleaned up/set up correctly I'll move the media files to a NAS drive.

But I'm having trouble, this is the part that doesn't seem to work/make sense: "Then select Import from File menu and pick the laptop's exported xml file;"
There is no "import" option in the file menu, so I had assumed one would need to go "File > Library > Import playlist" - however that did not seem to do anything aside from importing only the playlists from the library.xml file. OR if I pick "File > Add file to library... >" and select the library.xml file, absolutely nothing happens.

while mjenks said it didn't work AS good on itunes 10, that still makes me think it should still work in some function? I'm not quite sure what to do here... any help please?
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:28 AM
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Combining iTunes libraries on Windows

I'm glad that you're giving it a try and that maybe my experience can have some use. I've combined libraries several times now, but always in a Mac environment with an external drive hooked to a computer, not with a network. Nonetheless, the procedure should be more or less the same. In iTunes 10.5.2 for Mac, the "Import" option has also been moved inside the "Library" option, as you mention.

I last combined libraries in December, using iTunes 10, and it did work then, at least in a Mac environment. I'd be sure to check that in your Advanced preferences (that's "iTunes > Preferences..." and then the Advanced tab) that "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" is checked. After you've checked the box, go again to "File > Library > Import playlist." You don't want that box checked all the time unless you know what you're doing, but for it to work to actually import the songs and combine the libraries, it has to be checked. (I had it checked the first time I tried to do this, when I used the "Consolidate" feature, and ended up with a duplicate of every single song.)

Combining the libraries you will still get duplicates if you have the same album on both computers, and then you'll have to manually delete them. I wouldn't do it if the majority of songs aren't unique to each computer.

Try that--let me know how it works--I'm really curious if it'll work in a newer build on a PC. Oh, and backup, backup, backup--especially the .itl and the .xml files inside of your iTunes folder. They're tiny, it doesn't hurt anything, and you can recover all your metadata if anything gets corrupted.

-m
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:51 PM
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The first thing I can think of is that you don't have the "Preferences/Advanced/Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" box checked. Although I've never done it in a Windows environment... You do need to use the "Import playlist..." function. It used to be "Import..." but I did this last in iTunes 10, and I hope it still works.

Sorry for the delayed reply! I hope you haven't sacrificed your music and metadata yet!
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