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Sharing Your iTunes Library With Your HP MediaSmart Server to Mac and PC (Page 3 of 3)

Setting Up iTunes To Search For Libraries Over Your Network

We're almost there... hang in there and soon you'll be able to see your MediaSmart Server's media library on iTunes all over your home!

Head to your Preferences menu in iTunes and access the "Sharing" section.  Click the check box to enable scanning for shared libraries as shown in the photo above.

Soon, your iTunes Library should show up in the "Shared" section of iTunes on every computer connected to your network where scanning for shared libraries is enabled.

Note:  If your shared library doesn't show up right away, try rebooting your MediaSmart Server as well as the computers running iTunes.

Success!  Enjoy Your iTunes Media Library On Every Networked Computer

As you can see in the photo above, I'm currently enjoying streaming music from my MediaSmart Server over to my netbook, which doesn't have anywhere near enough space to hold even a small portion of my music files.

See the quick links below to find other articles to help you get the most from your HP MediaSmart Server.


Quick Links

How To Leverage the HP MediaSmart Server In A Mixed OS Environment

The MediaSmart Server EX485 and EX487: Bringing Your Mac and PC Households Together

The MediaSmart EX485 and EX487 Unboxed and Reviewed

Page « Previous 1 2 3

Tags : itunesitunes sharingmacmedia serverpc

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Comments 1-25 of 48 | Latest Comment | 1 2 Next »

February 11, 2009 9:36 PM

Can you tell me if it is possible to share album art with the shared iTunes media library. Meaning if I connect to the media smart server's iTunes library from another pc, will I be able to see the album art? Most importantly, if I connect with my apple tv, will the album art stream over like sharing your iTunes from the iTunes app on a pc?
As of now I can share my music collection with album artwork from my pc to my apple tv but the only down side is that I always need the iTunes app open on my pc. I would love to move my music collection to the home server and use the resources on the home server to serve out the itunes library with the album art.

Now that I think about it, can I sync songs from the shared library on the home server with my apple devices, iPod,iPhone,etc using my PC and not the home server?

Thanks!

February 12, 2009 9:46 AM

Thanks for posting this. I had wondered how this would work with my Mac.

February 12, 2009 1:22 PM

@scientist98:

You have some really good questions. Here are the answers I have for now:

1. No, it doesn't look like you can stream album covers. I tried this on both my PC and my MacBook and iTunes simply greys out the option to use Cover Flow, and getting info on individual tracks simply states that there is no cover art available.

2. I don't think you can sync your Apple devices from the devices networked to your MSS. If you Google for this you'll find that a lot of people are asking for the ability to sync an iPod with shared libraries.

As far as I know, iTunes looks to the "iTunes Music Library" on the machine it's installed on to use for syncing, and not shared libraries.

It's possible that if you're managing music manually on the iPod that you could drag files from a shared library, but I haven't tested this.

3. Apple TV streaming: I can't be much help here, unfortunately, as I don't currently have access to an Apple TV... although I'd love to have one.

What I don't know is if the Apple TV uses the iTunes share to stream music, or if you can simply tell it to scan a network drive. If it's the latter, it may work.

Pete

Peter Redmer
Administrator
Blog | Twitter

February 14, 2009 8:31 PM

Do you know if its possible to access my iTunes library over the web?

For example... If I store my iTunes library on my MSS, is there any way that I can listen to my music on my laptop when I am away from my wireless network (at work)?

February 15, 2009 8:15 AM

Peter, I would like your opinion and feedback on the setup my wife and I use.

I purchased an EX475 about a year ago when my tiny (100GB) laptop drive was filling up with my iTunes library. I needed a place to put all those files and along with the other features of WHS, the MSS was a great solution.

I have a persistent M: drive mapped to my computer. My local iTunes is configured to M:\Music as it's library path. Works great. I know I can't take it with me - iTunes available only when connected to home network - but that's OK for me.

When ny wife finaly decided to purchase an iPod, I wanted to provide her access to my library - now grown to 80+GB. So, I set up an identical persistent M: network drive and mapped her iTunes library to the same as mine. Works great.

She has her sync playlists, I have mine and iTunes keeps separate configurations for our separate iPods. We do not access iTunes simultaneously. Not sure whether the .itl file itself might get corrupted if we did.

Whaddya think?

EX475

February 15, 2009 8:40 AM

Hi,

As you have said you can't sync Apple devices.

Also, you are wrong when you say you the simplest way to move the music is to copy and paste. This is the simplest way, however this can also be done from within iTunes.

If you follow the below steps you will move your music collection, maintain the ability for iTunes to manage your library, and you can sync your Apple device. However, you will only be sync using the computer that held the library orignally:

1. Open the iTunes Preferences (iTunes > Preferences)
2. Go to the Advanced tab
3. Change the iTunes Music Folder location
4. Press OK
5. Once it has finished processing go to the Advanced menu and choose Consolidate Library
6. iTunes will copy all of your music to the new folder.

When I followed this, this allowed me to move my library to my DIY HS and still sync my device with the music on the shared server.

February 16, 2009 11:39 AM

rfs2005 said: Do you know if its possible to access my iTunes library over the web? For example... If I store my iTunes library on my MSS, is there any way that I can listen to my music on my laptop when I am away from my wireless network (at work)?

Yup, this is absolutely possible with the EX487, not sure about the older units.

Once you set up and enable remote access, you'll be able to access a remote media streamer that will play your iTunes files over the Internet.  It should be accessible by any standard browser.

Peter Redmer
Administrator
Blog | Twitter

February 16, 2009 11:47 AM

Served said: Peter, I would like your opinion and feedback on the setup my wife and I use. I purchased an EX475 about a year ago when my tiny (100GB) laptop drive was filling up with my iTunes library. I needed a place to put all those files and along with the other features of WHS, the MSS was a great solution. I have a persistent M: drive mapped to my computer. My local iTunes is configured to M:\Music as it's library path. Works great. I know I can't take it with me - iTunes available only when connected to home network - but that's OK for me. When ny wife finaly decided to purchase an iPod, I wanted to provide her access to my library - now grown to 80+GB. So, I set up an identical persistent M: network drive and mapped her iTunes library to the same as mine. Works great. She has her sync playlists, I have mine and iTunes keeps separate configurations for our separate iPods. We do not access iTunes simultaneously. Not sure whether the .itl file itself might get corrupted if we did. Whaddya think?

I think you have a pretty sweet setup going, actually.  iTunes, fortunately, will let you sync multiple iPods to the same library.  You must have both set to sync manually, too.  I do the same thing, I have an old iPod for my car, my original iPhone for the gym, and my iPhone 3G all syncing separately with separate playlists.

I don't think you'll encounter any corruption issues, but because you technically have a separate network drive it might get a little confuzzled if you both try to access simultaneously.  Then again, it might not, but is it worth it to try?

I would make sure you have all your music/playlists/etc backed up somewhere else as well before trying anything like that!

Peter Redmer
Administrator
Blog | Twitter

February 18, 2009 10:44 PM

Hi I just bought a new Ex 487 and have used it to gather music. When I open Itunes, I find my server as a shared device, but I need to have playlists to make all this music usable. How can I make playlists for the shared media serve device

February 18, 2009 10:46 PM

How do I add playlists to my mediaserver music? I have a new 487. Gerry

February 21, 2009 9:31 PM updated: February 21, 2009 9:36 PM

Honestly, I am surprised that a critical scenario is not covered in the basic instructions provided for using iTunes with MediaServer. I just got my EX485 and am trying to set this up. The problem is that following the instructions I am loosing all the music ratings that I had. I would think just about everyone has ratings and would want to keep them; maybe I am missing something?

MY OLD SETUP
Music files resided on my old server (Dell Power Vault NAS with Windows Storage Server 2003). I used iTunes installed on my laptop to access the files, to rate and to sync with my iPod devices.

NEW SETUP
Replaced the Dell NAS server with the HP EX485. Manually copied all the mp3s from the old server to the new MUSIC shared folder on the EX485. But now I cannot see my ratings.

Ideally I would like to keep "universal" ratings so when I access the iTunes library from any computer I can see my same ratings. Not sure if that is possible. I assume that if 1) the ratings reside in the iTunes proprietary "database" -and- 2) each iTunes instance, on each computer, has its own database, then each computer (even if used by same user) will see/maintain its own ratings... is this the case?

So even if I cannot have all computers/users to see the same ratings, can I at least maintain the ones I have?

Now when I go to my laptop, I see the ratings but they are associated with broken links (clicking on the song prompts "cannot find, want to look for this song?...")

Any ideas?

February 22, 2009 2:49 PM

@Strategerizer:

Personally, I've never actively used the ratings system in iTunes but I totally should! Retaining your ratings when moving your library really has nothing to do with the MediaSmart Server and is all an iTunes thing, really, so it's not surprising to me that it isn't covered in the basic instructions from HP.

That being said, a little Googling usually does the trick for issues like this:

http://www.kadavy.net/blog/posts/transfer-itunes-library/

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/moving-your-itunes-library...

There's a lot more information out there but I found these (especially the first one) to be more helpful. Of course, I haven't tested these but they could be a great place to start. The second link addresses the "Broken links" issue you mentioned as well.

As far as maintaining "universal" ratings when sharing to multiple machines... I'm not even sure if you can rate songs in a shared library. Have you tried it? If you can rate songs in a shared library, it *should* save the rating in the original library... but somehow I don't think you can do this.

Let us know how it goes and if any of the tutorials online help!

Pete

Peter Redmer
Administrator
Blog | Twitter

February 23, 2009 7:28 PM

Peter, thanks for the feedback. I spent about 1.5 days getting documented about the various courses of action available. It was sometimes confusing as some of the info I found on the web is made obsolete or less relevant by recent versions of iTunes.

I now have successfully transferred music from my laptop to my server AND have my playlists/ratings/subscriptions/play-count etc. available on the server for other client computers to use. BUT what I had to sacrifice was my own folder structure of the music; now iTunes has created its own Windows folders to organize all files.

The remaining issue I need to explore more and find an answer for is, having the library files (the .itl and .xml files) on the server and used from potentially more than one computer (though typically the same user), will that create some conflict... like what if iTunes is actively used from 2 computers at the same time operating on the same library files on the server??

In any case, for the benefit of others, here are the fruits of my research...

I narrowed it down to two main articles:

1. Moving iTunes music to new location
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1364

2. Hooking iTunes to a specific library.itl file
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/1021227.html

One drawback to #1 above is that it requires (or at least it implies so) having iTunes manage the music folder structure. I liked the way I had my own files/folders and tried to find a way to move without checking the 'Keep iTunes Music folder organized'.

There are articles out there offering the option to forgo the iTunes forced (re)-organization. However, these required some more convoluted steps so I decided to forgo it. Another reason was that, when I wanted to clean my library (in preparation of the move) I realized that in iTunes there is no way to arrange the library view by 'file path' so my 'real folder' organization on the hard-disk did not help me any once inside iTunes app. Given that, I went through the process of identifying in the mp3 tags the files that are part of a 'compilation' and other such steps of migrating what I cared for in the 'real folder' organization to the 'tag-based' organization of iTunes.

In the long run, it is probably a worthwhile effort to streamline the database.

A workaround I had to use when I tried to select files that were in a specific Windows folder to assign them some comments or genre, was to use Windows Media Player to arrange files by path, select the pertinent files, edit the tag, apply. Then I discovered the tag did not appear updated in iTunes. Researched that aspect and found the way to force tags to be refreshed in iTunes is to select (all or relevant) library files, do a 'get info', and then clicking OK (without making any real changes in the info tag editor.

A few key concepts I uncovered along the way:

iTunes music files, if not 'organized' in physical locations by iTunes, can be in several locations on a computer/network. Letting iTunes organize will ensure all music gets consolidated in one location and make it easier to backup or move.

iTunes music properties (rating, playcount, etc.) are stored in the .itl file and is in a proprietary, non-editable format. iTunes creates a subset of it in a interchangeable .xml format. However, relying on just the XML format (like deleting the .itl and forcing iTunes to re-create the .itl from the .xml) may loose some info.

Typically library files (.itl, .xml) related files (album artwork, podacasts, etc.) and music files (.mp3, .aac, etc.) are all in one My Music folder. Things are simpler if all those are on one location on a local drive. iTunes can get confused if you keep those at multiple locations and/or different computers/servers. Like my old setup had the music on the NAS (network server) but the library .itl was on a laptop. In essence I consolidated everything now on the HP MediaSmart Server.

Caveat to above: not sure if having the library .itl file on the shared HP MediaSmart Server AND sharing the .itl (allowing multiple computers to use it for iTunes on different locations) will create problems... anyone?

You can force iTunes to use a different .itl by holding down Shift while iTunes starts up.

Hope all this will help others in similar situations.

Here are a few other articles I found more interesting on the subject:
http://lifehacker.com/software/itunes/geek-to-live--how-to-move-an-itunes-lib...
http://www.avforums.com/forums/portable-music-mp3-ipod-etc/791345-move-itunes...
http://www.markwilson.co.uk/blog/2006/07/migrating-itunes-music-library-betwe...
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1660238
http://hifiblog.com/past/2006/05/11/howto-move-your-itunes-music-while-preser...

March 9, 2009 12:57 PM

Hi,

This is a very interesting thread, as I have just bought an HP EX485 to complement my iMac and Windows laptop.

My wife and I use the iMac for everything: music, TV (using EyeTV), internet etc (we have a tiny New York apartment!) We use fast-user switching on the Mac and have configured iTunes so we both share the same library, but of course cannot access the library simultaneously, which is ok for us.

When I bought the EX485 I thought about how best to run iTunes and had three options:

1) move just the music files to the EX485, keep the library on the Mac
2) move both the library and music files to the EX485
3) keep the library and music files on the Mac, manually aggregate to EX485

There are various advantages/disadvantages associated with each, because shared iTunes libraries don't provide playlists, ratings etc that you get with local libraries. Also, there's the issue of how the music is backed up if it's shared.

Option 1 means the music files are only held on the EX485, which is also automatically shared using the EX485's iTunes server.

Advantages:
- my Mac keeps the local library with ratings, playlists etc, and my laptop and any other workstations can still access the shared music.
- Frees up disk space on my Mac as music files are no longer held locally.
- The music files are protected against HDD failure if folder duplication is enabled.

Note: to correctly move iTunes music files to another drive you must follow Apple's recommended process, which is to let iTunes manage the music folder, change the folder to the new location and use the consolidate option to copy the files across. This will update the library file with the correct file locations. Then you need to delete the local copies of the music files.

Disadvantages:
- Time Machine won't backup the music files, because they now exist on a share (the EX485) and not locally, so if you delete the files accidentally they are gone forever. You could still manually backup the EX485's music share to an external USB/eSata drive but it's not a very elegant solution.
- The original music files are left on the Mac, so should be deleted to avoid confusion.

Option 2 - move both music files and library to the EX485.

As described above, the iTunes library can become corrupted if more than one user accesses the library at once, and with a Mac it will automatically stop you opening a second copy of iTunes so this doesn't happen. Therefore, not much point doing option 2.

Option 3 - keep the library and music files on the Mac, manually aggregate files to EX485

If you have enough disk space on your Mac, this may be the best option. Set iTunes to manage the music folders, and using a 3rd party tool or an automator script, keep the local iTunes Music folder on the Mac and the \\hpserver\music folders in sync. This should be one-way from Mac -> EX485, otherwise the Mac will fill up with music from other machines on the network which have been aggregated to the server!

Advantages:
- music files are duplicated to the EX485, so Time Machine will still backup the local files which gives protection against accidental deletion. If folder duplication is enabled, this also protects you against HDD failure.
- The music files are also shared using the HP485's iTunes server, so other workstations on your network can access the shared library.

Disadvantages:
- not suitable if you have run out of disk space on your Mac and need to free up space.
- The Mediasmart media aggregator doesn't support Mac so you need to manually keep the folders in sync. Hopefully HP will address this soon.

Hope this helps everyone. Now I need to work out what to do with my 20,000 photographs stored in iPhoto... :-o

Matt

March 9, 2009 1:58 PM

Matt, keep in mind that music files and library on the MediaSmart would by default be set to duplicate on the two drives. (Oh, by the way, I did purchase the EX485 BUT then purchased separately an additional drive; can't recommend strongly enough adding a second drive to the server as file duplication is one of the important feature a Home Server brings you).

What I ended up doing is:

- My library on the server
- My wife's library on her laptop
- Our music on the server

I access iTunes from my main computer in the office and a laptop in the living room, hooked up to the TV. I seem to be albe to access OK the library on the server, from both locations and even at the same time. Still, I probably will move my library locally to my office computer since I do not gain that much by having the TV laptop have direct 'native' access to that library file. Accessing it as a 'shared library' from within iTunes will suffice.

My wife has complete different taste in music so I set her up with her own library file on her computer. Additionally, looks like she needs to have her own library file in order for iTunes to let music to transfer to the portable device. iTunes does not seem to transfer music from a shared library, accessed from the shared library section in the left pane of iTunes

--------------------

Practical tips that I've learned along the way:

I disabled MediaSmart media collector as it can grab all sorts of random media. I much prefer to manually place the music and photos on the server.

It takes a while for the shared iTunes library to display correctly. Initially it did not show ratings or showed multiple listings of the same song. Give it 24-48 hours to settle down before trying to fix things. Not sure what causes this lag... This was critical; I initially was going to give up on the shared library because it would not show the ratings taht I had in my library file on the server. Hoirs later though they appeared!

My wife could not sync her iPod from the shared library. This was another reason I set her up with her own library file, local on her laptop

Looks like iTunes library doesn't get corrupted if being accessed from two places (I have the TV laptop and my office desktop hooked to the same library on the MediaSmart server). What I notice happens is that the first one hooking to it locks the file and writes the changes. While iTunes is open if you try to open it from the second computer, it will not be able to write any changes to it so then it will create a .tmp file in that folder. Changes made in this second session (like 'last played' updates or any rating changes) will not record in the library. Presumably there may be some issues if you change the mp3 tags and iTunes is set to manage your music files. I guess then it will rename the file and if the library cannot update, you will have a broken link. So it is still advisable to not have iTunes accessing the same library on the server. But the good news is for an occassional dual-access mistake, the library will not get corrupted and unusable.

My remaining open question is if I should keep my library file on the server (so to be able to access from the TV laptop as well) or just keep it locally only on the office computer. The latter is probably the better idea. However, if I remove my library file from the server, my concern is the shared library I can connect from within iTunes (left pane) will probably no longer show ratings! But this is not clear to me yet. The ratings that I see now there, where did they come from, from what file?

Another little tidbit that I recently realized... Accessing the music files residing on the server through the 'shared library' in the left pane of iTunes basically accesses them through the MediaSmart iTunes server. Accessing the server residing music files directly, as your native main library in iTunes is less efficient for network traffic. In the former case it is a specialized streamming access which ensures smoother delivery. The latter accesses the file as any other file you may use from a server location as is not as good of a network traffic. I have Gigabit network at home and doubt will have any practical impact on noticing such performance difference, but it is good to know nevertheless.

March 14, 2009 12:35 PM

Thanks all for your useful research. Much appreciated.

I was excited when I installed the Mediasmart Server and it appeared to offer "easier" sharing of my music library than the Network Hard Drive setup I was using.

But I quickly discovered some key drawbacks. The primary one -- while everyone can see your whole music collection thru the Shared Folder, you can't organize it (even if you've told iTune not to do it). For ex. my son has no interest in seeing my music and I am the same.

Here are the drawbacks I am trying to overcome and I'd appreciate your thoughts or work-arounds.

1. iTunes seems to be focussed 1st on DRM enactment and then "sharing". iTunes advanced support, in a number of conversations to resolve these issues, revealed this. They said:

You can't set up Play Lists in Shared Folders

You can't edit any song data in a Shared Folder (even more of a pain locally, unless you are in your main Library view, ie in your own Play Lists, you can't edit songs). And, at least I find it much easier to edit or correct song data as you are listening to it.

In the interim, for these types of organizing and cleanup of a large library, I'm using MusicMatch (so sorry to have seen the stand-alone version retired). This program can see the Music folder on the server and do all of the above "maintence" just fine. But I'd like to use just one music player for many reasons. Am I missing something in iTunes or do you have a way to do this?

Info:
110GB Music folder - All (owned lic.) MP3 music files (no DRM files - for universal access and portability)
HPMS 475 2.5TB no add-ins
Imac G4 OS 10.5
Several Windows machines Xp and Vista on the network

March 14, 2009 6:12 PM

Practical, I share your findings and frustration. I believe we just have to workaround with compromises to achieve some of the more important considerations. Our music is on the server. My library file is also on the server. My wife's library file is on her computer (accessing the common music on the server). So I am in charge of the main maintenance of the music. She can either access the shared library to play from the playlists -or- access her own library to create her own playlists. I had to ask her not to rename any of the music tags or ratings, basically to not make any changes that would be made to the server...

One annoying thing that I am confronting now and not sure of the cause. When we access the shared library, it shows each songs in triplicate. I turned off the automated Media Collector. I suspect it may be some backup library files I stored in the Music folder on the server. I'll delete those and see if the triplicate listings go away... was wondering if you experienced anything like that.

March 14, 2009 8:39 PM

Strategerizer, Your question might be a good one to address to Apple. I'm quite ambivalent about how Apple tries to "simplify" many complex things for the user. This requires them make assumptions that are not always in the best interest of All users. The way they handle organizing photos in iPhoto for ex. is a good example of where things can be a pain. If you do a lot of sharing on the internet and go to sites not Apple, the sites ask for where your files are located and if you look in your Pictures Folder you won't see an intuitive organization (said politely). Back on point - The way I understand it, the Library is both the links to your music files and a small sub-database of your unique information for the music files you access. So having multiple Libraries (more than each User's local Lib. to sync to their iPod) can cause interesting problems and may be related to your symptoms. I assume you checked the actual Music files on the Server to make sure they aren't triplicate.

View unverified member's comment - posted by LenL

September 20, 2009 6:41 AM

Question re mediasmart and itunes functionality. Media collector has successfuly yanked all music and podcasts over to shared server. However, none of our Itunes TV programming has made it over. Was hoping to be able to centralize this content as well for access from any of our cmoputers on the network. Is it possible?

October 3, 2009 4:33 PM

I recently got the EX485 and have some questions. Does anyone know if it possible to have the shared library from the server be available other than just for playing music.

What i mean here is I would like the ability to drag and drop music from the shared library to my local library. Is this possible?

I am using Vista Home Premium 32 laptop and an XP Home laptop.

October 4, 2009 1:22 PM

I posted to your other thread on the community... have you tried the Home Sharing feature of the newest version of iTunes?

http://www.apple.com/itunes/whats-new/#home-sharing

Peter Redmer
Administrator
Blog | Twitter

October 13, 2009 11:31 PM

I'm having the same problem that Gerry was -- that is, it is not clear to me how to get playlists on the server that other computers can access. Unfortunately, no one here seems to have answered his question. And the (otherwise excellent) article by Peter does not address this. Some of these posts note successfully getting playlists on the server (so it must be possible) but without mention of how it was done.

Is it so simple that it is not worth addressing?

Is there perhaps a way to launch itunes on the server where playlists can be created?

Thanks for any pointers!

October 13, 2009 11:32 PM updated: October 14, 2009 12:21 AM

Note that specifically, I want to learn how to create new playlists that live solely on the server, not import existing playlists from another machine.

October 14, 2009 12:19 PM updated: October 14, 2009 12:19 PM

Ok, I tested out the Home Sharing feature I mentioned before and it works quite well for accessing playlists on the MediaSmart Server from computers in the network.

I house my iTunes Library files on the server itself, so by nature, all the playlists I create are held there.

That being said, @rumremix - you can't remotely add playlists to the server this way.  I am only able to add them from my "main" machine.  I do not know how to remotely add playlists.

Peter Redmer
Administrator
Blog | Twitter

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