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Adding music to multiple iTunes libraries

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Q: So I thought I had a brilliant idea: share one library between our home computer and my wife’s work laptop using a portable hard drive. We could maintain/add files one time and also have a backup in case the home computer or it’s hard drive died. I set up the library at home on the computer’s large hard drive and then copied the files over using the “sync” feature of the portable hard drive. I then set up my wife’s laptop’s iTunes to point at the portable hard drive’s iTunes Music folder, added all the music and things were working well. This weekend I added a bunch of new music to the home computer and synced the external hard drive, which quickly and automatically added all the new folders and files to itself. When my wife fired up her laptop, she used the “consolidate” feature to find the new music, but it didn’t work because it evidently only looks for music OUTSIDE of the iTunes directory, not INSIDE, for changes. How does one get iTunes to scan it’s OWN library folder for newly added folders and files? “Consolidate” seems to only look outside the iTunes folder and obviously having to manually add every folder or file would take tedious hours. Thanks for any help!

- Dave

A: Actually, the “Consolidate” function is not used to search for media content at all. Rather, what it does is to take any tracks that are already listed in the iTunes library and copy them into the iTunes Media folder. This is useful in situations where you’ve been importing music from other locations on your hard drive without copying it, or where you want to relocate your iTunes Music folder to another folder or hard drive.

To get iTunes to add new tracks, you need to use the File, Add to Library option in iTunes in much the same manner as you would for any other new tracks. In this case you can simply point iTunes on your wife’s computer to the parent iTunes Music folder on the external hard drive. iTunes will go through the entire folder structure and import any tracks it finds that are not already listed in your iTunes library but will skip over any tracks that have already been imported.

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