After I got my PowerBook, I had a hard time figuring out how to transfer my iTunes library from my old PowerMac G3. I tried to export from the G3, then import the XML file from the PowrBook. Besides losing a few songs, I also lost tons of play counts and ratings.
For the past week, I've been looking for an effective solution that would keep all songs, play counts, and ratings. Here's the key: copy the files iTunes 4 Music Library and iTunes Music Library.xml from the iTunes folder in the source Mac to the iTunes folder on your destination Mac. Read the rest of the hint for the detailed steps I used...
What follows is my exact sequence. The source Mac referred to was my G3 and the destination Mac was the PowerBook.
- On source Mac: changed iTunes Library to point to a folder in an external firewire hard drive. (iTunes > Preferences > Advanced > iTunes music folder location)
- Chose Advanced > Consolidate Library on iTunes. This made sure that all files in my music library were copied to the firewire HD.
- Quit iTunes on source Mac.
- Copied the files iTunes 4 Music Library and iTunes Music Library.xml from the iTunes folder to the firewire HD.
- On destination Mac: changed iTunes Library to point to folder in external firewire HD containing all my songs.
- Quit iTunes on destination Mac.
- Found iTunes folder in the destination Mac. It is usually under your Music folder in your home, sometimes under Documents. Dropped the iTunes 4 Music Library and iTunes Music Library.xml files in there, replacing the older ones.
- Launched iTunes. All songs, playlists, and song info including play counts and ratings were there. It even synched with my iPod just fine.
I'm pretty sure you do not need an external hard drive to do this. You might want to just copy everything over file sharing straight to the destination Mac's hard drive. Or you might use your iPod if you have enough room in it to copy your music folder using the finder.
Step 2 (consolidate) is not necessary. I only did this to make sure I didn't lose any songs in the transition. If you've organized your music folder in any special way under the finder, you won't want to do this, since iTunes will organize all song files in its own order.
Before replacing your iTunes 4 Music Library file, make sure that you have your song files (.mp3, .m4a, .m4pů) in whatever folder iTunes preferences sees as the music folder in the destination Mac.