How do I significantly reduce the size of my 'iTunes Media' folder without loosing any data?

Hi,

I'm facing the following problem: My iTunes Media folder has been growing and growing over the years and 90% of the music I rarely listen to. When the library was small (20 albums or so) I enjoyed scrolling around and choosing an album or two, ... but now it has turned into a burden as there's too much stuff to choose from. It has come to a point where I keep listening to the same 6 or 7 albums as I can't be bothered scrolling around.

SOLUTION: What I really want is to take 90% of the music and put it somewhere in storage. And once every two or three months I go to that storage, take a few albums out and add them 'temporarily' to my main iTunes Media folder.  In this case my iTunes media folder will never have more than 20 or 30 albums in it at one time.

It's basically as if you had lots of vinyls and instead of storing all of them in your room you put most of them in boxes in the basement and occasionally take a box upstairs. One at a time.

NOTE: I've spend a lot of time organising my albums in iTunes by genre's, adding comments, rating them and filling in the 'album artist'. This is obviously information that I wouldn't want to loose and that I would somehow have to 'bring out of storage' each time I do a swap.

Any ideas of how to best do this?

Many thanks,

HA
H AAsked:
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BMardenCommented:
Click Music, Songs to see full song list, right click on headings and add field "Last Played", then click on this field to sort by "Last Played",  the stuff that has not been played in forever will go to the bottom.  Select the items to be deleted by clicking the first, and Shift+Click the last, then right click the selected items and click delete.

BM
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Michael-BestCommented:
If you have plenty of storage space then just create a "not presently listening to folder" for the 90%

If storage space is limited then move the 90% to another storage media such as USB Hard Drive, SD or micro SD card.
Plug it in and move in and out the albums as needed.
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Michael-BestCommented:
FYI read:
Some Mac users suffer from a serious disease—it’s called libraryitis.
Manage a large iTunes library
By Kirk McElhearn, macworld.com

http://www.macworld.com/article/1051241/julyplaylist.html
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H AAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all three replies!

BMarden: Rather than deleting the files I want to 'store' them on an external hard drive. I also need to make sure that I can move them back to iTunes without loosing any of the metadata (e.g. comments, album artist or rating).


Michael-Best: Thanks for the macworld article as I am definitely suffering from this disease;)     In regards to your first reply, ... how difficult will it be to 're-merge' the albums stored on the external hard drive and iTunes without loosing any of the metadata (e.g. comments, album artist or rating)? I guess each time I want to move an album back to iTunes (from the external hard drive) I will have to somehow 'merge' the two iTunes Library.itl files. Any thougths?
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Michael-BestCommented:
You should split up your iTunes library into your prefered music categories.

Also see:
Back up your iTunes library by copying it to an external drive
From support.apple.com

http://support.apple.com/en-us/ht1751
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Dirk MareSystems Engineer (Acting IT Manager)Commented:
Your phone/ipad backups also take up a lot of space you can delete all the old backups/

in iTunes, go to
 
Preferences > Devices
 
There you'll see all the backups you have. Choose the ones you don't want anymore and delete them.

DirkMare
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