Today we are moving onto iTunes. The music player for Mac and Windows. Similar to the Mail post yesterday I am not going to do a major overview of iTunes, I am going to point out a couple of major points to make your life a little easier. I will focus on storing and making sure your iTunes library is in the best possible shape and using Smart playlists so you can quickly and easily access your music.
Your iTunes library is normally stored under your home folder, however its usually best to move it to an external hard drive to save space. My music library is getting a little large and it works best on a second disk. Your iTunes library works off two parts. The music files and the “database” xml file. You need both parts to listen to music. To find the current location of your library go to the preferences in iTunes and select the advance tab. The first section will be your music folder location. This will contain a file called “iTunes Library” with a variety of extensions. They all work in harmony with each other. If you want to find a new location for your library (i.e you currently have no tunes), close down iTunes. Open it again but hold down option. There will be an option to select “Create New Library” select this option and then choose a location on your external hard drive. iTunes will automatically set up the rest.
Moving your library is just as simple. The first step is to close iTunes if you already haven’t, then move all of the files across to there new location. This includes the music files and the “iTunes Library.xxx” files. The best rule is to move them all, including your music. In previous version there was only one file you need to be concerned about, however it seems these later versions have spawned numerous files.There is a method which you can use to have your music in one place and your library files in another place, however its probably easier to keep you music files with your library files. Anyway, one you have moved them all open iTunes again by holding down option and select Choose Library, navigate to where your new library is located and select “iTunes Library.itl” select open. Depending on how big your library is it will take a while for it to update various different bits of information. When you are done the library has been moved. Selecting this second option is (I think, but I can’t test this method) selecting change from the Advance menu in preferences. If iTunes finds it has files missing it will ask you for them and make sure everything is in check.
Hopefully by now you have a library on an external disk, there are two check boxes that I recommend you select, these are located in Preferences > Advance and are called “Keep iTunes Music Folder Organised” and “Copy files to iTunes Music folder”. This will keep all of your files in one place, and stop them being spread everywhere. The final step on having a well set up library is to consolidate all your iTunes files. Since iTunes works in mysterious ways you could have files all over your disk. Go to File > Library > Consolidate Library. This will move everything to where you library is located.
Now you have a library that is in one location and is not all over the place. The next main point I would like to point out is Smart Playlists. This is one of best ways to get a new playlist with little effort. I also find it is a good way to access certain music files. To create a new Smart Playlist go to Filer > New Smart Playlist, or press option and click on the the plus in the bottom of the sidebar. As with Mail, discussed yesterday, you can add rules to show certain music files. I have one set up for specific genres and number of plays. I have one which has my highly rated tunes and most played, coincidently this ends up containing all of my favourite music files.
That about draws to a close what I want to say. I could spend ages going through all of the finer points on how to use iTunes, however I find most people pick that up pretty quickly. I wanted to mention about getting your library sorted. I have many friends who complain that they have lost music or can’t find music, and it end up there are music files every where.