Edit Library on a second computer

I use the OS X version of Mp3tag to edit my library of (mainly) ALAC files ripped via DBPoweramp and played/managed via iTunes - the files are stored in the iTunes Media folder on the iMac's hard drive. These include, for example, a significant number of compilation albums which will require many hours of tag correction and additions, and so I'd like to explore whether I could utilise some work lunch breaks to help with that.
Is it at all possible to edit the library on a second machine? My current guess, is that I could back up the iMac directory to an external hard drive, connect that to my work laptop (Windows), edit there, and then regularly re-import the updated library from the hard drive back to the iMac.

As I say, is this technically possible, even sensible, fraught with danger - or indeed is there a more elegant solution? Any advice would be much appreciated - many thanks in advance.

It's absolutely possible.

But what you need is a Good File Manager (I personally use Total Commander (Windows)) to sync the edited data back to the original drive.

I do it the other way around.

I Edit the tag data on the Original Drive and then sync the data to external drives and NAS so in case of a crash of my Main drive I still have my iTunes Library intact, but after the copy I could use any of my drives as the MASTER of my iTunes Library and can open it on any computer by clicking SHIFT (in MAC Option) and start iTunes

Link: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201596

Also, make sure you use iTunes Media Organization before you start.

Some links about this:



Thanks ever so much for this. I think it will need some careful planning on my part, though your advice and the articles has certainly given me more confidence in undertaking this.

I'm curious about the best means of syncing the data back from the edited tracks on the external drive, to the "master" library on the iMac - if I'm only doing a few albums per day, I could simply manually copy them back to the iMac's iTunes Media library folder structure?

Sorry for the late reply, I have been visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia (absolutely Stunning) and just came back.

Of course you could simply manually copy them back, but you must be certain that you copy the entire Folder Structure, and ALSO the iTunes Library Files as there is where the changes in the files are also recorded.

Personally I use a program called Total Commander to do that for me (Link: http://www.ghisler.com/) which can Synchronize directories.

But here are the alternatives for TC on Mac: (No idea if they can Sync)

And here Sync programs on Mac:

And here is a list of the iTunes Library files you should also copy

It's me again :smiley:

I completely forgot 1 thing, namely after you finish editing your Music File, you have to get the new information also in the iTunes database. In Windows iTunes, you do that via CTRL + i or right click on the Music File and click "Get Info". This makes sure that the new info you have entered with Mp3tag is also added to the iTunes database.

How I edit my Music Files ?

  • Music not yet in iTunes
    I edit them with Mp3tag and after I finish editing them, I right click the Music File (again Windows) and select "Open with iTunes". iTunes then places the Music File in the right directory structure.

  • Music already in iTunes
    I right click in iTunes the music file I want to edit, and select "Show in Windows Explorer". From there I right click again and edit the Music with Mp3tag.
    When you do this, DON'T use an Action Script to MOVE the file or RENAME the file.
    After you finish editing, switch back to iTunes and press CTRL + i (don't know the right MAC key) or right click and select "Get info". This updates the iTunes database.

Here an example (on my PC) after I edit ONE Mp3 which files are getting updated and also NEED to be copied. (D: in this Picture is my Internal drive and F: is a USB Hard Disk, so I sync from D:-> F:)

You can directly drag&drop files from iTunes into MP3tag without the diversion via the Windows Explorer.

That is also an Handy way to do that, but I use the "via Windows Explorer" shortcut as I then also can easily edit the downloaded cover art. (Tools menu in Mp3tag is already full :frowning:)

Mike - thanks very much for the detailed information, and to Ohrenkino for the advice on getting tracks into Mp3tag.

As you can probably guess, I'm a fairly basic user of Mp3tag, and so, on the iMAC where I've been using it to edit my master library iTunes library (stored on the iMAC's hard drive), I've been using the refresh option each time upon opening Mp3tag, to update what is in the default iTunes Media Music directory. With nearly 19,000 tracks, this takes a little while each time, though I'm not sure if in fact there is a quicker method. I always use Mp3tag to edit tracks already resident within iTunes.

On the topic of updating the iTunes library after editing in Mp3tag, thanks for the tip. I'd been using Get Info on a single relevant track, then moving to the next track in the album via the right arrow key, and so on - but it sounds like I should Get Info on all the edited tracks, then just choosing OK in the dialogue box will update all of them?

Anyway, I'm about to try editing just a few tracks on the external drive, and then seeing how I get on with getting them back to the iMac's master library - thanks once again.

Not much joy so far, alas - connected the external drive to the work MacBook, then within iTunes changed the iTunes Media folder location to the external drive, closed and began to re-open iTunes via the Options key in order to select another library - though see an error message about the .itl file being locked, on a locked disk, or I do not have write permissions (though I've checked the file and folder properties that does not appear to the case).

This is an iTunes (not an Mp3tag) issue, so appreciate I need to hunt down the fix elsewhere!

Why do you mess with the iTunes Media Folder location from WITHIN iTunes ?

I never do that (or had to do that), and I have no idea what the consequences are when you do! On this you are unfortunately on your own.

Go for help here https://discussions.apple.com/community/itunes

When you copy the iTunes Folder to your External HDD, you then open the iTunes library by clicking SHIFT (in MAC Option) when starting iTunes this lets you select another iTunes Library or create a new one (See Post #2).

Good Luck

I prefer to do it One by One. Why ? Then you can easily spot if (and how) the correction/changes have come across.

There are scripts (http://dougscripts.com/itunes/index.php) that will do that automatically for you, but again up 2 u if you do it that way.

After somewhat of a hiatus, I've now been able to get my work MacBook updated by support with the latest version of iTunes (previously, trying to open the older version via my home iMac's/external hard drive's newer ITunes library itl file was preventing me getting any further with this).
Anyway, all now works perfectly, as I can update tags using Mp3Tag and iTunes via the MacBook, then plug the external drive back into the iMac and employ a sync program to transfer the altered and added files. Thanks, Mike, for the very helpful advice.