Music, so relaxing!

Avatar Rick Churchill
I thought I understood and had a grip of Apple Music but no it has wriggled free again.

There was a time that iTunes or Music decided that it would be better for my collection all to be put in a folder called Music. As I played each track it moved the file so now my artists are duplicated in and out of the Music folder with tracks that I have/have not played.

Copying some music from my external drive to another flash drive today I found a missing track lurking in:
Macintosh HD/Users/<username>/Music/Music/Media/Author/Album/Track.

When I opened the location I found 159 GBytes of audio tracks, virtually all my music collection duplicated from the external drive. Some artists are in Media and some are in Media/Music. In Preferences this folder is shown as my music library location. I think at some stage perhaps when iTunes became Music I ticked the box ‘consolidate” which has put all my music here.

I have found my original iTunes library file in My Documents where I put it (I think Apple rather confuse us as in reality it must be an index type database file - a catalogue, whereas the library are the music files themselves). It is dated 2019 so is old before Apple changed from iTunes to Music. A new library file has been created in the above location called “Music Library.musiclibrary” which is current.

I think the way out is to wipe my flash drive and move the Music AND library file although I would prefer to keep the library file on my HD as occasionally I want to look up track names and do not want to hunt for my external drive.

Is there an easier way? I cannot find a way of pointing the Music app at the external drive without moving the library file. (Music thinks there are 998 files missing, it cannot even find sequential songs in the same album so could be a long process doing it song by song)

(I was just going to copy a few songs to a flash drive)

Re: Music, so relaxing!

Avatar Richard I
I think I can help on this, Rick. (although its getting late for me, so I might think of more tomorrow.... just don't delete anything!)
I run music using an external hard drive to hold the music files. I point the music app to it using the following dialog box... Preferences/files/ music media location.

If the external disk is not present, then any new music will be put in a newly generated set of folders on the HD. (complete with a new database file) Sometimes music resets the music location to this. ( I just looked on mine, and sure enough it has changed to /Macintosh HD/Users/richard/Music/Music/Media which not my external HD!)

Then if you plug in the external disk, and play some music, it will think it is importing new music and copy it to the Mac HD. The effect is to create confusion.

So you need to resolve which drive has the superset of music and point music to use that.
Then ensure you do a backup.
Once you have done that, you can use 'consolidate' to merge the music.

Later you can rename the other folder and see if anything breaks. Then you can delete it when you are super confident.

Do it when you have a clear head!!

Re: Music, so relaxing!

Avatar Trevor Hewson
I think it’s simplest to let Music put the tracks where it wants (i.e. on your internal HD), then use a backup/synchronisation program to maintain a copy wherever else you want it. I bought Chronosync many years ago (to maintain my website on my iDisk - remember that?!). It has proved very reliable and came with a promise of free updates for life. So far, they’ve been true to their word.

Re: Music, so relaxing!

Avatar Rick Churchill
Thank you Richard and Trevor.
I know Trevor its sometimes easier to give in to Apple but I cannot afford to have 160 GBytes of files on the Internal storage not when editing large video projects (although I have been able to use external drives here which has screwed up my video library but I have long given up trying to understand Apples project-event-library way of organising video files!)

Richard I will try your suggestions but I note that you too have encountered the problem that Apple have the habit of switching the Preferences without consultation of the owner! I am also concerned that using consolidate to the external location will make 2 copies of most of the music i.e. in an album it will show Track 1, Track 1, Track 2, Track 2 etc.

Richard are your music files in a folder called Music on the external drive?
Incidentally so much for keeping your identity. I used <username>.

Re: Music, so relaxing!

Avatar Richard I
Thanks for pointing out my slip up... now fixed.

Yes, my motivation for having the music on an external drive is also to reduce pressure on the mac HD. (since Apple insist on overcharging for built in/non- enhanceable memory)

Agreed, there is the risk of duplication at the (most difficult to fix) track level. I can't think of an easy way out except perhaps to print out the target HD music folder's contents at the album level. Then delete albums from the source that are definitely in the target. after that do the consolidation

And yes, the external folder is called "music"

Re: Music, so relaxing!

Avatar Rick Churchill
Having nothing to do for the last two days except make tea and be confined to one room and a chair with my MacBook on my lap, while the double glazing experts occupied all other rooms and covered my stacked furniture in dust, I got to grips with my scattered music collection.

First I put all the files I could find in the Music folder on my external drive (in the Artist>Album>Track hierarchy) including moving those that were outside of this folder. This meant combining folders that Apple had kindly split.

Then I laboriously, and it was laborious, went through each artist and found the music that was missing and there was a lot. I found that if Music couldn’t locate (American speak for find) all the tracks the best method was to highlight all the tracks before importing the files again then deleting the highlighted tracks. If the tracks were deleted first I think the Album disappears and the Album artwork has to be re-imported too. On occasions I think I deleted odd music tracks of which it knew the location but as I did not delete any files I can connect these later if I notice that a track number is missing.

The alternative of locating each track would have taken months as Music doesn’t recognise any similarity between sequential tracks and files, it comes back every time and advises that it is unable to locate the missing 800 songs especially when there were more like 1500.

For instance, I have the Stieg Larson trilogy, (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo etc.); each book is 6 discs and each disc has about 14 tracks. It would have been helpful for Music to have found all 252 tracks after showing it where the first was.

I’ve just checked the Music Preferences and.. it is set to Macintosh HD/Users/<username>/etc. Luckily it seems not to have affected the existing files. So I have reset it again! It looks like I will be moving my music collection to my PC soon where I can still use iTunes but with plenty of storage.

Re: Music, so relaxing!

Avatar Tony Still
I'm a bit late commenting here but I presume you've read the Music > Help > Manage your music files > Change where music files are stored?

This does describe a method for doing it, along with recommending that you don't change the Music folder (just move the tracks themselves). I don't like the sound (pun intended) of moving around individual track files and combining folders: as you said, there is a database that references this stuff and it would be better to user, eg, consolidate that will (should) keep everything in sync.

The iTunes structures that appear still to underlie music are historically fragile and doing invisible surgery cold undermine them. Some files and folders belong to apps and, like it or not, we have to respect that. 'Twas a simpler world when we could move/delete/replace files will-nilly and still expect things to work correctly.