Moving your music to the new library

In my last post, I showed you how to create multiple iTunes libraries so you can easily keep each family member’s music separate. In this post, I’m going to show you how to copy music between libraries.

1. Open iTunes to the new library. (Remember how? Hold down the Option key while launching iTunes if necessary.)

2. From the iTunes “File” menu, select “Add to Library…”

3. Navigate to the folder containing the music you wish to move:

iTunes > iTunes Media > Music

Note that instead of “iTunes Media”, your folder might be listed as “iTunes Music” if you’re running an older version of iTunes. If so, your albums will reside at this level.

4. Select the album folder(s) you wish to add to your new library.

Navigating to Alanis

Within the Music folder, you’ll see folders named for each recording artist in the library. Within each of those folders will be one or more albums by that artist. You can select two or more random folders, at either the “artist” level or “album” level, by holding down the “Command” key as you select folders.

5. Select the “Open” button when you’re finished selecting music. This will start the process of adding the selected music to the new library.

Note: This process copies the music to the destination library. It doesn’t remove it from the source library.

Removing Music from an iTunes library

If you want to remove music from a library, you must do this via iTunes. Do not go into the iTunes folder and remove the music by deleting the album folders manually. This will mess up the iTunes database. iTunes will think the music is still in the library.

To remove music from an iTunes library:

1. Start iTunes. Make sure you’re connected to the iTunes library you wish to manage.

2. Select one or more songs. Or in album view, select one or more albums.

Select Album to delete

3. Press the “Delete” key on your keyboard.

4. A warning dialogue box will open, warning you about what you’re about to do.

Delete Songs

5. Select “Delete Song”

6. A second warning dialogue box will appear. At this point, you can either:

A. ”Keep the files”…which means leave the song(s) on your computer but remove them from the iTunes library database.

B. ”Move to Trash” which will remove the song(s) from your iTunes library and move them to the trash.

Move to trash

In most cases, you’ll want to chose option B. It doesn’t make much sense to remove the songs from your iTunes library but leave the files on your computer. In this post, I moved my daughter’s music to her iTunes library. This made a copy of the music. Therefore, I want to remove what is now a copy of the the music in my library.

Bonus: Launching iTunes while holding down the “Option” key allows you to switch libraries. The other library doesn’t have to reside on the same computer. I moved my 75 gigabyte music library to a Mac mini. I can access the iTunes library on the Mac mini from any of my computers by sharing the drive on which the library resides.


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