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Create a multiple user iTunes music library Apps
Although some posts allude to this, I think it's the first mention of sharing an iTunes library between multiple users on the same machine.

I'm encoding my entire CD collection so that my wife and I can fully utilize our iPod. However, with multiple users in OSX, iTunes naturally will create a separate library for each user. Not great when we're both adding new files regularly and need access to the most current roster of available MP3s. It's pretty simple use of aliases to solve the problem:
  1. Logged in as either user, move the iTunes folder from the Documents folder into the Shared user folder.
  2. Delete the same Documents/iTunes folder from each individual user.
  3. Create an alias of this iTunes folder on Shared (remove the word 'alias').
  4. Copy that back to each user's Documents folder so each user has an alias to the Shared/iTunes folder.
  5. Your MP3 files should also be placed in the Shared folder. When you move them, you'll also need to "reset" the index of files in iTunes. Since you've set up everyone to work off ONE library, though, you only need to do it once.
This process will ensure that every user has access to the same list of files, regardless of who adds new rips. We also have an "Unfiled Rips" folder on Shared so we know what's been ripped recently, then file it alphabetically in the master pile 'o MP3s.

[Editor's note: Until I can convince her otherwise, my wife's primary machine is a PC, so I don't have to worry about this situation. We did, however, use Samba to make the MP3 directory on the Mac visible to her PC so that she'll have access to the same library of songs. I, however, am stuck with all the encoding work for now! ;-)]
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Create a multiple user iTunes music library | 11 comments | Create New Account
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Re shared iTunes
Authored by: sfn on Mar 24, '02 12:24:08PM

The only problem I have encountered with this scheme is with UNIX permissions. Every new CD has to have group write privileges modified so that the ID3 tags can be edited by more than one user.

Also any songs not ripped from a CD may not even be in the iTunes Library unless manually added and thus not available to other users.

I wish iTunes would move and organize all MP3s into the Library Folder or at least have the option to do so.


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Re shared iTunes
Authored by: cpragman on Feb 16, '04 12:13:05PM

I also use the alias method (symlinks actually). My wife and I share "Documents", music, and iPhoto files. To prevent permissions from being a hassle, I wrote a cron command that goes thru these shared folders once an hour and sets group read/write permissions.

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RE Sared iTunes
Authored by: jwwillsey on Mar 25, '02 10:45:48PM

I submitted this bug in the OSX beta program, but it still existed last time I tried....

I would like to use my playlists from Winamp from my MP3 collection. Has anyone successfully done this.

When I opened the playlist in iTunes, not only did it not read/understand the playlist, it DELETED the playlist. I learned to make a copy and open the copy, but just end up deleting all of my copies and have no matching playlists to my Windows machines.....

Thanks all...

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the long way around
Authored by: mclbruce on Mar 26, '02 12:32:14AM

There's no need for aliases to accomplish this. Check out the following:

Itunes: Itunes Menu: Preferences: Advanced: Music Folder Location: Change

You can pick any folder you want to store your iTunes music.

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the long way around
Authored by: ihafro on Mar 26, '02 06:16:56PM

BINGO!!!!!!!!! I've been using this method for months now. Six users and 4.5GB of MP3 later, I haven't had any problem with all users sharing the same files. Encoding new ones isn't a problem either. Simply use iTunes Preferences dialog to select the "Shared" folder and delete the existing folders. One note though, each user will need to be logged in and the iTunes preferences set. Otherwise they won't all point to the same folder.

Now, if only I could get iTunes to start using less than 36% of my CPU.......
Mozilla runs so slow when I listen to tunes.....

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Huh? That can't be all there is to it; it doesn't work for me
Authored by: osxpounder on Nov 19, '03 12:29:03PM

I have installed Panther on the same box, but different hard drive, and want my new iTunes to use the same music folder as the Jaguar system's iTunes uses. Changing the Preferences setting as you describe here has no effect, even after restarting iTunes.

Nor does it help to copy the library and xml files from the old iTunes folder to the new. So far, I can't get my iTunes music on the other HD to show up in the newer iTunes in Panther.


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the long way around
Authored by: stevehops on Mar 15, '04 02:58:16PM

Yes, and No. Two users on a single machen can use the same folder, but the Libraries remain separate. So, for example if my wife adds CDs to the folder they don't get added to my library unless I go look for them and tell iTunes to add them.

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the long way around
Authored by: astrobruce on Nov 11, '05 04:17:34PM

I (try) to use this method, but it doesn't work.

I have my music library in my shared folder. I select this folder "oursongs" as the location of the library in Advanced in both user's iTunes.

However, when I open the second user's (my wife) iTune, the library is empty.

I use file/open in my second user iTunes, and it imports everything. OK, but it's a once-only thing. anything newly imported by the first user (me) does not appear in the second user's library unless I go through the above process again.

what am I missing?

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Create a multiple user iTunes music library
Authored by: atmasphere on Feb 18, '03 01:50:07PM

Permissions as discussed seem to be no longer an issue. You can also do this via external drive - make sure you check the ignore permissions option in Apple+I.

I think Symbolic Links work better than aliases since you can then read the library file via other apps as well without a hitch.

This rocks - I can now have immediate access to music regardless of whether my wife or I rip it.

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Create a multiple user iTunes music library
Authored by: astrobruce on Nov 15, '05 02:18:41AM

what is a "symbolic link"?

looking for the best way to accomplish multi user sharing of itunes on one computer


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Create a multiple user iTunes music library
Authored by: doctorcrane on Nov 14, '03 09:23:06AM

I'm having a similar issue....

My library lives on a firewire drive hanging off my desktop PC (XP Pro). I sync my iPod through my PowerBook. The PowerBook accesses the library through a Samba share.

I want to share the library with both machines, but it seems that once I do the "add to library" in iTunes on the PC, iTunes on the Powerbook can't open the files, and vice-versa. (Note: I have the "iTunes Music Folder Location"set to the shared drive for both".. I can see the files, but I can't play them)

The "Ignore permissions" (apple-I) option you mentioned sounds like it may help.....But where do I issue the Apple-I command? It doesn't seem to be doing anything for me.

Thanks -

PS: I'm new to Mac... Only had my PowerBook 1 week. But we are spending large amounts of quality time together.

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