Consolidating two iTunes libraries into one

Q: Both my wife and I have iPods, but we have separate libraries on different computers. Is there a way to consolidate both libraries? We both have access to the same CD collection, so copyright is not an issue. I want to combine the existing iTunes from both libraries withoput having to re-import the songs on to my computer.

– Chris

A: The easiest way is to choose one of the computers that will contain all the music (let’s call it computer A), and transfer to it the music from the other computer (computer B). Connect the two computers with an Ethernet cable, if possible, turn on the appropriate network settings, and copy the music. If that’s not possible, use rewritable CDs or DVDs to copy the music from computer B then copy it onto computer A, or use an external hard disk and copy the music to and from the hard disk as an intermediary.

When computer B’s music is on computer A, add it to the iTunes library on computer A. Select File > Add to Library, then select the folder that contains all the music. This adds it all to the iTunes library. However, you’ll lose any playlists, play counts, last played dates or ratings on computer B.

You can then make playlists for yourself and for your wife, as necessary, and you’ll both have all the music when you sync your iPods.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.

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