iTunes over a network?

Please help.

I have my music collection on my little old file server, in a folder shared over the network. I bought an iPod, thinking that it and iTunes would be simple, straightforward, to the the point.

However, iTunes is completely incomprehensible to me no matter how I swing this. If I set it use the default library folder and add the network folder to it, it seems fine at first. Then whenever I add a new music file to the network folder, it doesn’t show up. The only way to make it show up is to then drag and drop it into the library. Where is the “watch folder and add new tracks to library” checkbox?

I can only drag songs from the library to the iPod, I cannot drag from explorer folders to the iPod. If I drag a song to the library, the library only links to it: move the song, t won’t work. The library knows it, but doesn’t remove the link, instead putting an exclamation mark next to it. If it can see the file isn’t there automatically, why can’t it detect when a new file is put there?

And performance is awful: it’s like using the web, with every click taking 5 seconds to do anything. Double click to play a song basically locks the computer up for a few moments. A64 3800+ with 2 GB ram here, it’s not the machine. And this is gigabit ethernet at every point on the line, it’s not bandwidth, surely?

Is this just how iTunes is? Or just how iTunes is when using a network share? Right now I’m feeling like I always do when I cave in and buy apple: punished whenever I try and use it in accordance with my wishes rather than the proper glazed-eyed OBEY way. unless I am just wrong and somone can give me a neat one-line answer to help me configure iTunes so that it works.

I’m almost, but not quite, as annoyed as when Apply changed it so that in 10.4 “show information” opens an info window for EVERY selected file, instead of a single “properties for the selected files”, even if there are 25, filling the screen with shit for no reason except the arbitrary desire to fiddle and fuck with the user experience until it is to Apple’s satisfaction.

And performance is awful: it’s like using the web, with every click taking 5 seconds to do anything. Double click to play a song basically locks the computer up for a few moments. A64 3800+ with 2 GB ram here, it’s not the machine.

iTunes is a performance hog like no other.

Whereas Winamp and WMP10 used around 110MB memory for my albums, iTunes used around 550MB for the same.

Do you need to use iTunes for it, or can you use alternative applications, in which case, I’d recomend you ditch it as soon as possible.

You’ve pretty much summed it up.

I did find this software: which might be able to automate some of the pain away. Copy files to the server, run a batchfile, double click something, wa-lah. If you can run the batch file on the server (VNC in or something more exotic), it’d be much quicker.

As for the crappy performance? What’s your old file server got? Your network sharing is going to go at the slowest speed of anything on the network.

The “Apple” way to play your music over the network would be… <finish the statement> use the built-in iTunes file sharing. But you can’t sync your iPod to network playlists.

Alan: The technobabble is “subnet”.

A lot of folks used to set up sharing the iTunes stuff across our internal network. One day NOC changed the way the internal network was run and everything was put on sub-clusters or some technobabble… short story is, no one can see each other any more (it used to be just by sub-cluster but now it doesn’t work at all). Pretty much ruined that for good.

— Alan

Ooo, I assumed iTunes was the only thing that can put a song onto an iPod. I will check out my Winamp options forthwith.

Really, what I want is for the iPod to appear in Windows as a USB thumbdrive, and drag and drop files from anywhere I like into it, using standard, plain-jane explorer windows, which have always been perfect for me when it comes to organizing and playing music. I never gave a whit about playlists. My playlists are called “folders”

It might not be a subnet thing. I could be simply that they’ve put computers into different workgroups. Find a server or share you can’t get to anymore, find out the physical machine’s IP address (ipconfig command in ‘cmd’ window or whatever it is the pseudo DOS is called). On you machine, click Run and enter the IP address with two backslashes at the beginning, a la \ and see if it comes up.

Might work.

Might work.

I think you can use Musicmatch, but if you hate iTunes, stay away from that.

I used to hate iTunes – I grew to like it, because the folders-as-playlists only works if you have really simple playlists.

Windows file sharing has nothing to do with iTunes playlist sharing though. If my girlfriend goes and fires up iTunes, I see her files in my iTunes and can play them – no Windows files sharing needed.

I’m not really sure what the problem is here? I have my mp3 library on the games pc… Both my iBook and my wives Mini access it with iTunes, and the ripping/tagging/etc gets done with iTunes on the PC.

When I add tracks on one of the other computers it copies it to the network drive.

The only problem is that when I add new tracks on the file server the clients don’t know about it in their local store, so I have to delete all the tracks from the client and readd them… Takes about 1 minute, tops.

The other problem is an iTunes flakeout, where it occasionally forgets where to find a track that is right where it was. Seems to be some odd bug with long filenames or punctuation in the filenames or something.

EDIT: Oh, one other annoying thing - if you start up iTunes on one of the macs and it can’t connect to the shared media folder, it defaults back to the local folder, so you have to go into prefs and reset it to the share once you’ve reconnected.

Okay, gramps.

(I have nothing productive to add.)

Anapod Explorer from Red Chair soiftware works pretty nicely as a drag and drop replacement for iTunes. It’s costs about $30 bucks though.

I’ve got no problems with iTunes though. I keep my library on a networked drive on a server I run at home. The thing is, you do have to play by iTunes’ rules. Make sure you check the pref in iTunes that tells it to copy files to the iTunes music folder when you add them to your library. Then, yeah, you have to add them by drag&drop on to your iTunes library within the app, as opposed to dropping them in your music folder directly. I don’t have performance issues, and I’m running over 802.11g wifi.

A monitor folder option would be well received, but iTunes just wants to help you help yourself with organization of the tracks.

My biggest bitch about iTunes is updating podcasts. Frequently, when I click the Update button, it freezes my PC for a minute. Frustrating. I know there are other podcast utilities, Juice Receiver is a good one that I’ve used. It’s just that, when iTunes does work, it’s simple and convenient, and I’m a lazy bastard.

Yep, it uses a protocol called Rendezvous, and is why you can only see each others iTunes folders if both computers are running iTunes at the same time.