• How To Share An iTunes Library Among Several Users (Video)

    Sharing a single iTunes Library among several users is not difficult to setup if you know what you're doing. If you're a newbie it can be an exercise in frustration when error messages about read only directories pop up. The term Sharing in the context of this article does not equate to the built-in iTunes library sharing feature. Rather, sharing in this situation means using a single iTunes library and music folder location for several different users of the same computer. (Note: This will also work for several users on different computers if the appropriate files are placed on a network drive visible by all computers.) After setting up the shared library all users should be able to sync their individual iPods with their own personalized settings as well. Here is a video showing how to setup a single iTunes Library for use by several users, followed by some basic instructions that go along with the video.
     

     

     

    Sharing an iTunes Library















     

     


    01. Copy existing iTunes folder
    02. Navigate to the Shared folder (users/shared/)
    03. Create a new folder and name it Music
    04. Open the music folder and paste the iTunes folder you previously copied
    05. When the file copy is complete navigate up one level to the Shared folder
    06. Click on the newly created Music folder
    07. On the keyboard press Command and the letter i to bring up the info pane
    08. Scroll to the bottom of the info pane
    09. If the padlock is closed in the lower right corner click on it
    10. Enter the password used to login to OS X
    11. Next to the Group names Everyone it likely says Read Only
    12. Click the double arrows on the left of Read Only and to the right of Everyone
    13. Select Read & Write in the popup window
    14. Below the permissions box click the little "circle"
    15. Select Apply to enclosed items
    16. Select OK to the following message
    17. Close the info pane and the finder window
    18. Open iTunes while holding down the Option key
    19. Select Choose Library on the ensuing popup window
    20. Browse to the iTunes library recently copied into the Shared folder (users/shared/music/iTunes/)
    21. iTunes will now use the library in the new shared location every time it's opened
    22. Log Out of OS X and log back in as a different user who needs access to the same iTunes Library
    23. Open iTunes while holding down the Option key
    24. Select Choose Library on the ensuing popup window
    25. Browse to the iTunes library recently copied into the Shared folder (users/shared/music/iTunes/)
    26. iTunes will now use the library in the new shared location every time it's opened

    That's It!

     

     
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Baxtus - You're very welcome, I'm glad to help.
    1. bmerikal's Avatar
      bmerikal -
      This is just what I was looking for.<br />
      <br />
      :-)<br />
      <br />
      Bill
    1. Major Roadrash's Avatar
      Major Roadrash -
      Thanks Chris, I've only been using an iMac for about 6 months and my attempts to share its iTunes library never worked. Your instructions were perfect and I got it working on the first go.<br />
      <br />
      One question...can I assume it is safe to delete the original library (to save hard drive space) once the new library is set up?<br />
      <br />
      Best Regards,<br />
      Major Roadrash.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Major Roadras - Glad the video helped you out! You should be able to delete your "old" library without any issues. I would delete it and leave it in the trash for about a week just incase something went awry during the other process and it isn't evident yet. I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't be able to just delete it for good, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
    1. Max's Avatar
      Max -
      A word of advice - if you have fast user switching enabled, there can be more than one user logged in at the same time. Only one instance of iTunes can access the Shared library at a time: you have to close the first iTunes before you can select the Shared library from the other user. Note this does not apply to libraries shared by iTunes itself (i.e. using DAAP), only to the technique described here.<br />
      Also, option-starting iTunes to change library does not work if the user account has Parental Controls enabled. You have to disable Parental controls for the user (from an administrator account), change the iTunes library location, then re-enable PC. The changed library location appears to 'stick' after re-enabling controls.<br />
      <br />
      Max
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Max - Thanks for the info!
    1. Max's Avatar
      Max -
      I just upgraded iTunes to version 8.1 - this caused a new library file to be generated (with much faster access!). However, the new library file permissions were reset to the default. You have to repeat the steps 6-17 above, to change the permissions back to full sharing, after doing the upgrade.<br />
      <br />
      I also noted an unrelated issue: if user A sets the genre of an album to a manually created value, then user B cannot set the genre to another manually created value, e.g. I couldn't change from 'Baroque Chamber Music' to 'Baroque Orchestral' except by logging in as the original user. I don't think this is anything to do with the permissions issue above.<br />
      <br />
      Max
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Thanks for the update and info Max.
    1. machinehead's Avatar
      machinehead -
      can I sync more than one iPod to this shared library?<br />
      <br />
      Can 2 users play songs or movies simultaneously from different computers?<br />
      <br />
      Thanks,<br />
      <br />
      Jeff
    1. souptin's Avatar
      souptin -
      Hi Jeff / machinehead (I like 'Machinehead better!)<br />
      <br />
      I'll try and answer this<br />
      <br />
      <strong>"can I sync more than one iPod to this shared library?"</strong><br />
      Yes, I think so. You can sync more than one ipod to an itunes library, and have different sync preferences for each ipod.<br />
      <br />
      <strong>"Can 2 users play songs or movies simultaneously from different computers?"</strong><br />
      This tutorial was for a single computer that has multiple user accounts, where all the users want to share the same music collection. If I understand your question right, you want to have several different computers on your network playing material from a communal library. Which works just fine for music, although you will need a fast network to playback movie files without pauses. <br />
      <br />
      I'd recommend you try enabling library sharing within itunes on your main computer and share that way. The downside is that you won't see album artwork on the other computers when you connect to the shared library. Alternatively you could use file sharing to set up a shared disk or folder with the music, but from personal experience this can go a bit pear shaped - In work-life I successfully look after a small network of half a dozen graphics computers, but I still managed to completely mess up two itunes libraries at home by letting both macs try to simultaneously "Keep itunes music folder organised" (its under "Advanced" in itunes prefs). I felt like a complete idiot and haven't dared try anything similar since.
    1. machinehead's Avatar
      machinehead -
      Souptin,<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for the advice, I will give it a try.<br />
      <br />
      The communal library is stored on a NAS, basically an external drive connected via USB to my router, set up as<br />
      a shared folder. In this configuration, will the artwork still not be visible?<br />
      <br />
      So should I still not check "keep itunes libraries organized" on both computers?<br />
      <br />
      Cheers,<br />
      <br />
      Machinehead
    1. souptin's Avatar
      souptin -
      Yes, you will see the artwork in that configuration. <br />
      <br />
      I'd recommend that you use one computer for ripping your cd's and sorting out things like artwork and artist names (depending how obsessive you get about alphabetical order etc). Then update the library on the other computer once you're happy. So computer #1 has "keep itunes library organized" checked, computer #2 unchecked. You'll occasionally have to re-locate tracks on your second computer if you change your mind about how to sort things, but it's not that big a deal.<br />
      <br />
      Note that I am assuming that you are keeping the music files on the NAS, but allowing computer #2 to build it's own itunes database, which will be saved locally, usually in 'computer2harddisk'/user/music/. Artwork which is embedded in the music files will display the exact same on both computers, but the artwork that itunes automatically assigns (if you use that option) gets saved into the local itunes database, and I do occasionally get inconsistent results via this method. <br />
      <br />
      If you try and force both copies of itunes to use the same "Itunes Library" file on your NAS I suspect you might run into the same problems I did. Hopefully someone else has more experience and will be able to explain better than I can.<br />
      <br />
      Maybe there should be a topic showcasing the more bizarre choices of album art itunes makes... or maybe it's just my bizarre taste in music that's the problem?
    1. machinehead's Avatar
      machinehead -
      Thanks for the information!<br />
      <br />
      Has anyone "merged" two libraries?<br />
      <br />
      Is it more than just copying the songs from both into 1 folder?<br />
      <br />
      Also souptin, you mentioned updating the library on the second computer, is this done <br />
      automatically or is there a command in the preferences menu?<br />
      <br />
      Thanks,<br />
      <br />
      Machinehead
    1. souptin's Avatar
      souptin -
      "Also souptin, you mentioned updating the library on the second computer, is this done<br />
      automatically or is there a command in the preferences menu?"<br />
      <br />
      You'd need to choose "Add to Library…" from the itunes file menu and locate the new music files in the file browser. It's smart enough not to create duplicates if you accidentally pick files/folders that you're already added. There's probably a more automated way of doing this but I'm afraid I don't know how. The process is quite quick, unless you have checked the "Copy files to iTunes Music Folder" setting under advanced preferences, which you probably won't want to do judging by your description of your setup.<br />
      <br />
      Not sure about merging libraries. The itunes library database file doesn't contain any music, just references to where the music files are located.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. machinehead's Avatar
      machinehead -
      http://supersync.com/?gclid=CMm4jZ7FyJkCFRIeDQodaDMNSw<br />
      <br />
      found this, have not tried it, but seems promising,<br />
      merges libraries, and allows you to access your music from the<br />
      internet, and from a TIVO, hmmmm, maybe a replacement for the Apple TV??<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      Jeff
    1. jimkery0098's Avatar
      jimkery0098 -
      A word of advice - if you have fast user switching enabled, there can be more than one user logged in at the same time. Only one instance of iTunes can access the Shared library at a time: you have to close the first iTunes before you can select the Shared library from the other user.<br />
      <br />
      <a href="http://www.codeconutrilife.com/Salud-Al-Dia/Fatiga.aspx">Fatiga</a><br />
    1. obeske's Avatar
      obeske -
      this worked great ... first time. With the exception of the audiobooks. That is, the original account, when accessing the new location for the itunes library supplied everything, including the audiobooks, seemlessly. The new user was able to access everything but the audiobooks.<br />
      <br />
      Thoughts?
    1. eapfelbach's Avatar
      eapfelbach -
      In the instructions you say to copy the itunes library. My library is 20GB. Can I delete the original library I copied? Will I lose anything like playlists, etc.
    1. flashgordon's Avatar
      flashgordon -
      Hi<br />
      <br />
      I have an Itunes 9 library on a Time Capsule connected by Ethernet to a powerbook. I now have a macbook pro (with Itunes 10 and pure music) from which I want to access the same library. Have connected the macbook pro via ethernet to the Time Capsule as well. Have activated Itunes library sharing from the powerbook. <br />
      <br />
      Using this, on the macbook pro, I see the shared Itunes library and can play music from Itunes but not through Pure music. Also cannot see the artwork or coverflow. Is this a case of changing permissions on the shared itunes library only...if I do make the user of the macbook pro part of the same group as the itunes library on the powerbook with read and write permissions, will I be able to see the artwork/coverflow and paly music through pure music ?<br />
      <br />
      Besides am looking to use Remote on Ipad to control the music on the macbook pro..would Remote show the artwork since the library is shared ?<br />
      <br />
      Would appreciate any help...Thanks<br />
      <br />
      flashgordon
    1. flashgordon's Avatar
      flashgordon -
      Did a bit of experimenting today...and all's working now...remote too works and so does pure music....great relief....and the weiss/pmc combination is so fatigue free...now back to enjoying the music.