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Copy/replicate iTunes from PC to WD NAS disk

Posted on 2015-02-17
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Last Modified: 2015-02-26
I've just got a 3TB WD MyCloud NAS and this is what I would like to do. I'm sure that someone out there must have done this before but feel free to point out any flaws in my Master Plan.....
 
I have iTunes and all music on my Windows 7 PC. I have a playlist per artist. In each playlist I like to view all their songs in one long list sorted by Album then Album Track Number. All this data is already backed up regularly and as I'm on my own I have no need to move all my iTunes data to the NAS for others to use.
 
All I want to do is take a copy (a replica if you like) of all the music and playlists I have on the PC and put it on the NAS. The reason is that I use a Cyrus Streamline wireless hi-fi with an n-remote. Using that I want to browse the replica on the NAS by Playlist and have the same long-list-sorted-as-described-above structure. I can do this if I plug in my iPod Classic to the unit's USB socket and go to that - I'm looking for a similar thing when accessing the NAS. Most copying methods and software I've tried (using a USB disk to test with) just created a folder for the artist and then subfolders for each album - not what I want.
 
I had a quick test with the NAS using some instructions I found on the Apple website which involved making sure the Organise Library option was selected and then carrying out a Consolidation process, having temporarily specified the new location for the iTunes library as the Shared Music folder on the NAS. When completed, I clicked on the little top-left button in itunes to select the MyCloud drive and no playlists were there. The music had been copied over but loads of tracks were listed as 'Unknown Artist' with a playing time of 'Continuous' - what on earth?!?
 
If possible I want to keep my PC copy as the master and if I download new music and add it to the PC copy then it would be nice if this forced a sync between iTunes on the PC and the alleged iTunes server on the NAS but if I need to update both Master and Replica copies manually then that's no big deal.
 
Has anyone managed to get existing music AND playlists copied successfully to one of these drives so that other devices - something like my hi-fi for example - can browse a long list of playlists just as nature intended?
 
I bought this because it claimed to be iTunes friendly and I need to know if it is friend or foe.
 
Thanks.
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Question by:funasset
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40616362
OK, so this is what I've done.

I've taken a complete copy of my itunes folders and files and copied them to the root of the Shared Music directory. So, in theory and as far as I am aware, both my PC and this drive should be identical in both the music files they hold and all the itunes gubbins that surrounds them.

If I select 'My PC' in the little in iTunes' little drop down list in the top left then I see all my precious playlists and the full music library - just as it should be.  If I select the WDCloud option from the list I see all my playlists and the music library. However, none of the playlists are populated with the songs they should contain? Also, for reasons known only unto itself, for one artist in the music list it has duplicated all the songs so that each songnow has 2 entries. Looking at the actual music files in Explorer there are only single copies of each song. If I select these duplicates iTunes won't let me remove them - all Delete/Cut options are greyed out.

Can anyone advise me on this? Is anyone out there? Please tell me I'm not alone with these problems........

Thanks
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Accepted Solution

by:
Paul Sauvé earned 167 total points
ID: 40617646
Per Apple, there is a process to follow to do this:
This article explains how to re-create your iTunes library and playlists.

The iTunes Library files store information about your iTunes library, such as what songs are available for iTunes to use, but they do not store your actual song files.
The two iTunes Library files are:
iTunes Library ("iTunes Library.itl" in Windows) is a database of the songs in your library and the playlists you've created. Some song-specific data is saved in this file. If you delete the file, iTunes creates a new, empty copy when you open the application, but any playlists, song ratings, comments, or other information you created will be lost. The iTunes Library file is only used by iTunes.
iTunes Library.xml contains some (but not all) of the same information stored in the iTunes Library file. The purpose of the iTunes Library.xml file is to make your music and playlists available to other applications on your computer. If you delete the file, iTunes creates a new copy from the iTunes Library file.
iTunes: How to re-create your iTunes library and playlists

But there is also a way to do this by creating an iTunes folder in the root of your new drive, change the settings for the folder location in iTunes.

Now all you have to do is sync from the old location of iTunes folder on your PC and everything should be A-OK.

Make sure to select the option to copy the new location AND leave files on old location (just in case)!
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40617975
funasset I haven't done this as I keep all my music in mp3 format and on my 3  USB NAS.
No iTunes required.
paulsauve has given you great information and not to take anything away from him.
I too read some guides and found this suitable for what your doing.
since you have copied the entire iTunes folder !!!
The question was asked from guide How to offload your iTunes library to a NAS
"Why not just copy the files yourself?"
Excellent question! The answer is that you totally can, but you'll lose metadata—play counts, ratings, last-played dates, and everything else that iTunes keeps in its database won't survive a manual copy.
 If you don't care about that stuff, then you don't need to do anything in this guide at all—leave the "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" option set to off, remove all your files from iTunes (taking care not to actually delete them!), copy them to their new location, and re-add them to iTunes. Done!
Read on from the guide.
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40618605
Thank you to all - a lot of info for me to read when I get a quiet moment!

Going back to what I did yesterday in copying everything iTunes-related to the root of the NAS share - was my method incorrect? Either way, any clue as to why I can't delete the duplicate entries I mentioned?

I am also looking at a free program called MusicBee which seems promising in that it claims the functionality to import an iTunes library in to a library it creates itself and then Sync that (also copying the music files ) with a device that you configure in the gui. I'm currently testing that as well just in case iTunes on the WD MyCloud drive doesn't behave itself.

Nothing is ever simple!!

Thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40618654
Hi
Choose View > Show Exact Duplicate Items.
Matches are based on the song name and artist and whether they are live versions or a studio version.
Check them when they are listed beside each other for any comparisons just incase you may want to keep them based on the size etc. they could differ.
Select the duplicate you want to delete. Remove it by choosing Edit > Delete.
like this image
http://pad1.whstatic.com/images/thumb/f/fd/Find-and-Remove-Duplicate-Songs-in-iTunes-Step-1.jpg/670px-Find-and-Remove-Duplicate-Songs-in-iTunes-Step-1.jpg
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40618724
Thanks - maybe using that menu option I will actually be able to delete things - at the moment it won't let me remove them. I'll give it a try later. Thank you.
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40620987
Hi Merete,

I'm sorry to say that your previous suggestion didn't make the Delete option available. It is most bizarre.

Hopefully I will have time to investigate further over the weekend.

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40621013
Ah sorry to hear that funasset.
Rereading what you wrote
having temporarily specified the new location for the iTunes library as the Shared Music folder on the NAS. When completed, I clicked on the little top-left button in itunes to select the MyCloud drive and no playlists were there. The music had been copied over but loads of tracks were listed as 'Unknown Artist' with a playing time of 'Continuous' - what on earth?!?
I haven't done the Mycloud thing but possibly you need to check what is in the Mycloud?
This is a grey area and a bit of guesswork.
If it works a little like OneDrive and the OneDrive Desktop App most folks have on their desktop syncs with it?.
I don't use the desktop OneDrive formally Skydrive either.
But is it syncing correctly?
Do you have the Desktop App?
http://www.wdc.com/global/products/features/?id=wdmc_afa&language=en
Your methods are probably outside of the recommended procedures like using iTunes to move your libraries because you wish to keep everything in your personalised settings which I understand,
and your files are possibly playlists instead of actual audio files so in order to stream and be seen on all devices the host iTunes is the master that controls the playlists libraries etc.
WD My Cloud at a glance: << is this what you have?
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2051347/wd-my-cloud-review-a-better-more-secure-alternative-to-cloud-storage.html
I'll do some reading and catchup over the week end if you can add any details we should be able to resolve it.
Your details help me see it.
WD Learning Center is what I'll study up on.
http://setup.wd2go.com/?mod=download&device=mc
This one looks important a guide How To Stream Music to iTunes
http://www.wdc.com/global/products/features/?id=wdmc_afa&language=en
you can stream your music in iTunes. Just complete these tasks:
Action 1: Enable WD My Cloud to stream content in iTunes
Action 2: Add media to your WD My Cloud from a Windows computer
Action 3: Play your music
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40621066
Yes, that's the beast and I have the apps you mention. They make it sound so simple don't they?! Time permitting, tis weekend I plan to completely clear out the Shared Music folder and re-visit the iTunes procedure (mentioned in one of the links provided) to put a copy of my PC-based music files and playlists on the WD again and see what happens.

I appreciate your help - I'll try and make notes as I go along as it's so easy to forget things when you're in the middle of it all!!
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40621127
Ah yes they do with lots of But!!
that's why I don't go there and use mp3 instead. I use video and audio formats that don't have DRM/
But it should work if you have the right stuff.
My preferred method when I do is to use my raspberry pi which has the XBMC media center installed
I stream from my external connected drive / or network connected storage drive and have the XBMC media center connect to it. Works a treat with mp4.
Take your time and we'll work work through it
cheers
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40622925
OK, so I went in to iTunes on my PC, got to the Preferences/Advanced option and changed the location from e:\itunes music to the path for the NAS' Shared Music Folder. The 'Keep things Organised' was selected and I saved the change. After iTunes had updated the library I did the Consolidate option with the Copy option selected. I left that running overnight and now I have music files on the NAS but many songs are listed as Unknown Artist/Unknown Album. I also have no playlists when I select the NAS from iTunes?

I've now gone back and re-pointed iTunes to my master copy of my music files in e:\itunes music. I've attached what I see when I browse in Windows to the target directory on the NAS. Incidentally, I didn't create the Playlists folder shown and there is nothing inside it.  I'm guessing that to get my playlists copied (if that's possible now) I have to do something else?

Thanks
Structure-on-NAS.png
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Assisted Solution

by:Merete
Merete earned 333 total points
ID: 40622935
Did you use the full folder you copied that iTunes uses on your system disc?
And then have iTunes re-pointed to this folder?
Close iTunes.
Copy the ENTIRE iTunes folder from the comptuer to the NAS.
Hold <SHIFT> and launch iTunes.  Continue holding <SHIFT> until the box appears asking to create a new or locate a library.  
Point iTunes to the " iTunesLibrary.itl " file on the NAS.
Close iTunes.
Move the existing iTunes folder on the computer to another location or simply rename it.
Launch iTunes and ensure everything is working properly.
You must move the ENTIRE iTunes folder, it contains all the media.
 If multiple iTunes folders exists, this could be a problem.  
The iTunes library needs to be consolidated.
You would still need to change the media folder path in Advanced.
Transferring your iTunes Library
http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/moving-your-itunes-library-to-a-new-hard-drive/
Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40622941
Typically (and I don't know how it happened - it was so long ago now) I have my actual music files in e:\itunes music but everything else (library etc) is in c:\users\myuser\My Music\itunes - I'm guessing that's dumb and hinders this process as you rightly pointed out.  If I now need to start from scratch how will the steps you provided differ given that I have 2 folders to deal with.

Thanks for your help.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40622953
Well on your C drive is the default folder for iTunes right :)
That's the one you'll need to use.
Once you have copied the actual default iTunes library over check it then rename the old and then point iTunes to the new on the NAS.
After that it's up to you to compare the old folder with the new, either look at the folder size see if it matches the new on the NAS?
So long as you have the original safe and intact.
You could copy the contents and when you paste it you might see duplicate exists ignore that .
Once all the old folders are copied over and iTunes see them up to you.
I have 3 x 1 terrabyte WD USB external drives with copies of all my movies music pictures emails tripled just incase
Good luck be safe ;)
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40623018
Some progress! I would appear to have the music and library on the NAS. However, out of my 10,000+ songs some 900 are marked as 'Unknown Artist/Unknown Album'. I've now reset iTunes to start up using the Master copy of my library and that is perfectly OK, all songs recognised. Any idea why this happened?

Going back to my original post and my wish to use the NAS music with my Cyrus Streamline and its n-remote, when I attach to the NAS using that and go to Playlists it only sees the 2 playlists that appear to be created from the Twonky server which sits on the NAS. I don't know as yet whether it can be forced somehow in to recognising the iTunes playlists or if there is some witchcraft that will get my itunes playlists integrated in to the Twonky server. More Google'ing and forums to visit!!
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Assisted Solution

by:Merete
Merete earned 333 total points
ID: 40623604
What format are the unknown files mp3? mp4 or wma?
Meta data is applied automatically with wma and files on an audio disc.
Not mp3
Twonky server.? I have no idea what that is but an educated guess.
(1) iTunes created the meta data
(2) that meta data is not transferable to other programs
(3) only tracks in the format of .wma will activate a connection to Gracenotes which is the world wide data base for audio files,
http://www.gracenote.com/
What I do to get artist name etc is use winamp, I rightclick the mp3 in the winamp playlist view file info and then click on auto tag it connects to CDDB  which stands for CD Data base and will look up those details fill in the details
winamp auto tagThere is also
CDDB MP3 Tool  which will treat a directory of MP3 files as an Audio CD and access a FreeDB to retrieve information about the MP3 files
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Audio/Other-AUDIO-Tools/CDDB-MP3-Tool.shtml

If you rip an audio CD to mp3, I use Cdex then unless you we put that meta data into the rip it is lost.

 Cyrus Streamline and its n-remote?? lol again I have idea what that is either. but googling explains it.
I see it a streaming tool.
http://www.cyrusaudio.com/discover-the-n-remote

I buy most of my music on CD not a digital license and don't need the added grief of iTunes, then I convert them to MP3. Or Ogg vorbis
I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) to rip a CD with music as well.
but as everything is online I simply listen online.
I know I'm getting outdated but I just feel wireless is too insecure and never fully tested against hackers.
Even cars computer technology can be hacked these days too many things in one basket. Big Brother is listening to our foot print.
Technology with wireless streaming  to all devices " Airplay" and all the new copyright protection laws keeps me away from this and I use ingenuity .
I plug a small FM player into my cigarette lighter and that can connect to mobile devices or just use a small flash usb stick.
Tune the FM station to it and it plays.
I'd have to buy an Apple TV in the home but use my raspberry pi,,  my AWA TV is connected to a Panasonic twin HD TV set top box DVR,   it connects to the internet via ethernet cable  and I can play through from my PC access my YouTube channel  where I have all my internet music using  Viera Cast
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viera_Cast
I can also just plug the USB drive into the TV  put it on Apps and it plays from there.
Everything is connected to an audio splitter which is connected to my Panasonic stereo amp with 5 Sansui speakers, it's cool and old methods but works great.
cheers
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40624305
Thank you so much for taking the time to post all that for me.  The files it marked as Unknown are 99% mp3 and show up perfectly fine in my PC's database. Since I spoke to you yesterday something strange has happened.

I didn't do anything to the data stored on the NAS after my previous post. When I connected to it this morning I saw as per the screenshots I have attached. Now I have multiple entries per song in the Library even though only one physical copy of each song exists. The Library states at the bottom that I have 30,000 songs which is triple the actual amount! I cannot delete any of those duplicate entries in iTunes. It has also duplicated all my playlists! As you can see, the first playlist for an entry appears to be fine, the second is blank. I have absolutely no idea why this has happened. The Twonky server seems to be the media management software which sits on this WD drive. Unfortunately, from speaking to another user on a WD forum it seems that iTunes and Twonky don't always play nicely together. I am very annoyed as the reason I bought this drive was its claim to be "iTunes compatible". What a joke!

I don't think I am going to get anywhere using iTunes. I am going to try using MusicBee to get a copy of my music and playlists on to the drive and see how that goes. It will be (hopefully) independent of the iTunes data there so I can maybe come back to that a bit later.

You have provided lots of tips and tricks that I will keep though so many thanks for that.

WD will be getting a very sharp email from me.
Library-and-Playlists-duplicated.png
First-Playlist-seems-OK.png
Second-Playlist-empty.png
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40624879
Hi funasset sounds as if iTunes has kept the link to all and any directories from your music folders on E and C and now the new Nas.
Again I can appreciate your frustration and just reinforces why I hate iTunes.
Luckily they are only playlists not actual audio files and can be deleted.
Please disconnect any external drives and then refer to this
Doud's AppleScripts for iTunes . This one explains what the duplicates are and how they are created. It's important that you and of course all folks using iTunes understand how it works.
http://dougscripts.com/itunes/itinfo/duplicates.php
Here's the scripts look down to DeDuper
Please read it first and do disconnect any usb devices.
http://samsoft.org.uk/itunes/scripts.asp
Regards Merete
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40625438
Thank you for the information. I'll take a look later if people stop giving me work to do ;-)

Many thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40627323
Ditto
Fingers crossed it works and saves you some grief funasset
cheers
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40631017
I had a very informative chat with a guy from Western Digital today - it seems my scathing review of their product got to the right people.

He explained some of the basics regarding how iTunes and Twonky live and work on the NAS and I have some configuration tips to try. I kind of ditched iTunes after it went off the rails last week and I am currently using MusicBee having imported my iTunes library in to that and then sync'd it with the NAS. Despite me choosing completely different folders for both my iTunes attempt and my MusicBee experiment, the WD fella suggested that the duplicates might be down to the way iTunes scans on their NAS drive. Apparently anything in the Shared Music folder is fair game - even if it's in a different folder and nothing to do with iTunes at all.

I have to access the Twonky server and configure a share for the MusicBee data in such a way that iTunes will not scan it. Then, in the MyCloud software I have to tell iTunes to do a re-scan or 'something' and this "should" get rid of the duplicate songs listed in the library and also the duplicated playlists. He's emailed me some instructions which I will follow to the letter! It would be nice to get iTunes working but like you and most others I've talked to, I might be better off using my alternative of choice and see how I get on with that.

The first respondent and yourself have provided me with so much useful information I can't really mark one post as the 'answer' so I'll just have to pick a 'favourite'!

Thanks again for all the assistance.
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Author Closing Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40631076
Addendum: The WD guy couldn't tell me why 900 of my songs were listed as unknown but he has requested various logfiles and has promised to investigate. So much good advice here - any one of the posts might help someone out!
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 40632286
Thankyou funasset, you've done well.  You'll be happy you dropped iTunes.

If you don't get a full answer from the WD guys I believe those files that are mp3 will not be matched by iTunes natively as you know it loves to use the DRM "lookup database "  and that only functions with wma audio formats not mp3.
I couldn't find any reference material to show what I mean. But this is pretty close and explains it more or less.
How To Check If iTunes Match Will Recognize All Your MP3s [How To]
http://www.cultofmac.com/101160/how-to-check-if-itunes-match-will-recognize-all-your-mp3s-how-to/
Understanding iTunes Match: iCloud and More Details
http://www.idownloadblog.com/2011/11/15/understanding-itunes-match/
Mp3 and mpeg is owned by Motion Picture Experts Group
WMA-WMV is owned by Microsoft
When you understand all the different audio video formats and the propriety codec ownership of each then you'll understand that in order for iTunes and MS have to pay usage rights to include those formats in their programs.
MS pays fees to partner with others.
mp3 explained
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3
All the best with building your music world
Cheers
Merete
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Author Comment

by:funasset
ID: 40632815
Once again, thank you Merete. Your help is much appreciated.
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