How to copy (not move) iTunes music and playlists to drive


I’ve just got a 3TB MyCloud NAS and this is what I would like to do. I’m sure that someone out there must have done this before but feel free to point out any flaws in my Master Plan…

I have iTunes and all music on my Windows 7 PC. I have a playlist per artist. In each playlist I like to view all their songs in one long list sorted by Album then Album Track Number. All this data is already backed up regularly and as I’m on my own I have no need to move all my iTunes data to the NAS for others to use.

All I want to do is take a copy (a replica if you like) of all the music and playlists I have on the PC and put it on the NAS. The reason is that I use a Cyrus Streamline wireless hi-fi with an n-remote. Using that I want to browse the replica on the NAS by Playlist and have the same long-list-sorted-as-described-above structure. I can do this if I plug in my iPod Classic to the unit’s USB socket and go to that - I’m looking for a similar thing when accessing the NAS. Most copying methods and software I’ve tried (using a USB disk to test with) just created a folder for the artist and then subfolders for each album - not what I want.

I had a quick test with the NAS using some instructions I found on the Apple website which involved making sure the Organise Library option was selected and then carrying out a Consolidation process, having specified the new location for the iTunes library as the Shared Music folder on the NAS. When completed, I clicked on the little top-left button in itunes to select the MyCloud drive and no playlists were there. The music had been copied over but loads of tracks were listed as ‘Unknown Artist’ with a playing time of ‘Continuous’ - what on earth?!?

If possible I want to keep my PC copy as the master and if I download new music and add it to the PC copy then it would be nice if this forced a sync between iTunes on the PC and the alleged iTunes server on the NAS but if I need to update both Master and Replica copies manually then that’s no big deal.

Has anyone managed to get existing music AND playlists copied successfully to one of these drives so that other devices - something like my hi-fi for example - can browse a long list of playlists just as nature intended?

I bought this because it claimed to be iTunes friendly and I need to know if it is friend or foe :smiley:


OK, so this is what I’ve done.

I’ve taken a complete copy of my itunes folders and files and copied them to the root of the Shared Music directory. So, in theory and as far as I am aware, both my PC and this drive should be identical in both the music files they hold and all the itunes gubbins that surrounds them.

If I select ‘My PC’ in the little in iTunes’ little drop down list in the top left then I see all my precious playlists and the full music library - just as it should be.  If I select the WDCloud option from the list I see all my playlists and the music library. However, none of the playlists are populated with the songs they should contain? Also, for reasons known only unto itself, for one artist in the music list it has duplicated all the songs so that each songnow has 2 entries. Looking at the actual music files in Explorer there are only single copies of each song. If I select these duplicates iTunes won’t let me remove them - all Delete/Cut options are greyed out.

Can anyone advise me on this?



My suspicion would be that the playlists, being copied, now point somewhere that is inaccessible in the new location.  I don’t use iTunes, so don’t know what their playlists look like, but my experience of other media libraries is that playlist entries can specify files using absolute or relative addressing.  Relative addressing ought to work…

My suggestion?  Switch to MediaMonkey and free yourself from the foul, bloatware control freak that is iTunes… :wink:

Thanks for the tip - does that mean turning off the seemingly useless Itunes server on the device?  I’ve not heard of MediaMonkey - is it any good and will it allow me to do what I initially described?


I’m also looking at MusicBee which was recommended to me - any experience of that?

I’ve been using MediaMonkey on a PC for a few years, and it works the way I do.  When I got an iPad, I tried iTunes, but I couldn’t abide the way that the ghost of Steve Jobs forces you to work his way…

I bought my  4TB MyCloud when my music collection got too big for the 1.25TB USB drive.  Copying music to the MC took a long time, because my Ethernet is a lot slower than USB, but, having got the data there, I was able to move the MM database to point to the new location, by mapping the MC as a Windows network drive, and using a library update script.  Now MM is perfectly happy with the WD as a platform for my music.

The only playlist I use is the ‘now playing’ list, since I use MM’s Auto-DJ function to select and play music from my collection of 70,000 tracks.  I can’t be bothered to create playlists, but I know others love them.

MM does support playlists, and will probably import them from iTunes.  It’s free to download, so try it out.

Following a recent thread about iTunes on another forum, I googled for ‘iTunes alternatives’, and a lot of suggestions came up.  One of which was MusicBee.  I was planning to take a look at it.

Having got my library on the MC, I wanted to try its media sharing, using the built-in Twonky Media Server.  This took me a lot of fighting to get it to work the way I want (in the long and fruitless email exchange with WD’s ‘support’, I asked them where I should send the bill for the 40 hours work I’d spent sorting the thing out…), and I completely understand the frustration you’ve expressed on your other thread…  I do just about have Twonky working just about how I like, and can stream media throughout the house, but I’m planning to investigate just how it hooks into MC, and try to understand how it works properly; in my opinion, it’s crudely bolted onto MC, and not what I’d call an integrated feature.

Cheers for that.

I actually got an email from a Support guy today - see, they do exist - telling me how to access the MC. If I were running my own business from home and was relying on this then over 3 days wait is a disgrace. I digress.

I am one of those who loves playlists - typical Virgoan, I like things nice and ordered and having a playlist for the work of each artist seems logical to me. I am currently wrestling with MusicBee and testing the export of playlists and music files to a USB disk before I do the whole thing to the MC. I think maybe that earlier Copy I did wasn’t quite right so I’ll start over.

All this fuss started because I was concerned about the day when my 160Gb iPod Classic would turn up it’s toes. At present it’s a doddle to just plug that in to the Cyrus unit via USB and I can then use the n-remote’s LCD display to drive the iPod. I didn’t want to have my PC on all the time to stream music so it was suggested to me (by Cyrus) to try and USB disk or a NAS. As the MC was allegedly iTunes friendly I had this foolish dream that I would be able to put a copy of my music and playlists on it pronto, that when I added new tracks to my iTunes on the PC it would automatically sync with the MC data and then I could sit on the sofa with my n-remote, browse Network instead of USB and be presented with pretty much what I currently see when I drive the iPod via USB. What a lovely dream that was :smiley:

Another issue I may have is how the Cyrus’ remote addresses the MC. I don’t know if the copy of iTunes on the MC is valid or not but when browsing on the n-remote to Playlists all I see are 2 entries: Top Rated and Recently Added. Neither of these contain anything. I don’t know why it isn’t picking up the playlists because if I open iTunes, point it to the MC then all my playlists are shown. So I can feel another visit to the Cyrus support forum coming on if I get no joy with this or MusicBee over the weekend.

If this MC is iTunes friendly I’d hate to meet it when it’s annoyed and hacked off - as I am!

Thanks again - I appreciate the post.

I think maybe that earlier Copy I did wasn’t quite right so I’ll start over.

Well, to check this, I would look using a file browser, NOT iTunes.  iTunes expects to see a library structure, and a database, and playlists may not ‘look right’ to iTunes, even though the physical file has been copied perfectly.  That’s assuming you did the copy using a file manager, rather than iTunes.  From my recent reading on the problems with iTunes, I think there’s a way to get iTunes to move or copy its library to another location; this might sort out the playlist issues, assuming iTunes does a good job .  Here, for instance:

Or any of these links:

All this fuss started because I was concerned about the day when my 160Gb iPod Classic would turn up it’s toes

I have used MediaMonkey to extract all the music from a friend’s iPod.  It undoes all the stupid filename obfuscation that The Ghost Of Steve Jobs insists on applying to iThing file systems, and places all the music in a nice, hierarchical file system, ordered as per your wishes.  Having done that, it will then allow you to select which music you want from your collection to be loaded on to the iThing, and will sync it up for you.  That then gives you a secure, clean & logical music library, independent of the iPod.  My music collection is much too big for any iPod, and ripped from CDs to FLAC, so no iPod would play it without transcoding to AAC.

I could have used the same ‘Auto-Organise’ function in MM to move my library from USB HDD to the MC, but I chose to move everything manually, and then run a MM script to correct the old database file to reflect the new location.

that when I added new tracks to my iTunes on the PC it would automatically sync with the MC data

I don’t download music, and certainly not from iTunes, so I can’t comment on using Apple as your music shop.  But I have transferred my MM library to the MC NAS, so I only have one music library, on the MC (backed up to USB disks).  This means that any changes I make using MM (as a music library manager) are also made to the DLNA-served Twonky media library, and can be streamed around the house.

iTunes is inscrutable.  Some people seem to have no problem with it at all, but many, many others suffer endlessly with deleted files, duplicated files, convoluted library stores, etc.  It’s the same piece of software, so I don’t understand why this difference exists.  I know that, in the brief period I tried to use it, it completely mangled my music library, moving files around like a mad thing.

As for the Cyrus playing from the iPod but not the MC, well, it depends how it accesses the music on the iPod.  If it simply looks at the iPod as a file system, and reads the files off the iPod and uses its own AAC to audio DAC, then you might expect to be able to point it at another storage location (the MC), and expect it to read the files.  But I suspect that’s not what’s happening, and it may be that the iPod is providing some sort of interface to its database, and allowing the Cyrus to do remote control, with the iPod acting as digital media renderer (i.e. converting the files to audio, which is then routed to your Cyrus).  Without knowing what model of Cyrus it is, or whether it’s simply an amp, or an AV amp, or a DAC amp, it’s hard to say what it’s doing.

I have a cheap Sony compact system in the bedroom, that I can connect a USB storage device to, and the Sony will read the file system, and I can select files from the USB drive, and play them via the Sony’s internal DAC (I imagine it must be converting MP3 files to a raw data stream, and then sending that to the DAC used for the CD player; quite an efficient use of resources).

I don’t know if the copy of iTunes on the MC is valid or not 

I don’t think there’s a copy of iTunes on the MC.  I only think that the MC supports an iTunes library; two very different things.  See pp100-102 of the MyCloud User Manual, although that’s a bit unclear, since it says ‘iTunes scans any shares that have the Media Serving setting enabled, including the Public share by default.’, but then goes on to say ‘The iTunes Media Server supports the following file extensions: FLAC, M4A, MP3, MP4A and WAV.’, which confuses what it is that’s doing the scanning; it is any copy of iTunes, running on a machine that access the MyCloud, or is it an iTunes Server, running on the MyCloud…?

It’s possible that iTunes supports the concept of a media server, working like DLNA, but using Apple’s own proprietary standard.  This server could be implemented even in iPods, as the four-element architectural split of media library/media server/media controller/media renderer is applicable to both integrated players, and separate element playing systems.  If Apple had the design foresight, this architecture could have been implemented from the outset, and allowed versatility in product development.

Thanks for taking the time to write all that out for me. I confess that I’m not an expert (no, really??) with music files, media servers et al. I work in IT but a ‘NAS’ to me is some big chunk of metal and flashing lights that I manage and sits in our server room - not a small white box with iffy software that won’t do as it’s **bleep** well told!

I’ve tried so many different things this week I couldn’t swear to the validity of anything on the MC at the moment which is why I’m going to clear it out and start over. Although everything looks OK to me from Windows Explorer I can’t be certain.  As for which method to use, well I am spoilt for choice :smiley: I could use an Apple/iTunes method AND also have a go with MusicBee as MB creates its own database when you import a library from iTunes and when you Sync from the PC to the target you define, it copies the music files to wherever you want them to go. In other words, as far as I can see they would be independent of each other. It depends upon time and how daring I feel!

I appreciate that I can sometimes do things in a rather contrary manner to everyone else but seeing as the music and data files on my PC are already backed up weekly to a second disk and an ‘offsite’ copy is done to a USB disk as well, my first thought wasn’t to use this NAS as the home of my ‘master copy’ of all my music. This is why I started on the road of just getting a copy on the **bleep** thing and trying to keep it current with what happens on the PC.

As the MC was labelled as iTunes friendly I thought that I’d have no trouble with the n-remote and Streamline 2 combination but I just can’t get it right yet.

Anyway, it’s late, it’s Friday and time to go home. Once again, I do appreciate the time you’ve taken over this.

Have a good weekend.

Had a look at the Streamline manual, and I strongly suspect that it needs to see either an iTunes Server or a DLNA/UPnP server.  It’s not clear if it can see an iTunes server on the network (as opposed to an iPod connected by USB).

Again it’s not a great manual (too many manuals are written by developers, who know what they mean, but forget that no-one else does, and aren’t explicit enough in their meanings for the novice), since it’s unclear what it means by ‘library’ in the introductory pages.  A library could be a simple file system containing music files, or it could be the file system and a database, or it could be a file system, database & media server.

However, I think there’s a big clue on P12:

My highlighting.

This leads me to suspect that your Streamline will only read media from a DLNA/UPnP media server on your NAS; it cannot catalogue the music on the NAS on its own.

Provided you have put your music in Public, you should just be able to use the DLNA media server on the MC (it’s called Twonky).

To get the Twonky DLNA Media Server working, use the following Dashboard controls:

-Shares/Public - Media Serving ON

-Settings/Media - Media Streaming ON

The default media scanning is to look for music. pictures & videos in all folders in Public. 

There is a dedicated, browser-based Twonky UI, that gives more control over the media scanning, accessible at port 9000 of your MC’s IP.  e.g. mine appears here:

But MC and Twonky don’t play nicely together, as MC restarts of the Twonky Server, firmware upgrades, System Restores, etc trash the Twonky settings back to the defaults set by, well, WD, I think, but I’m currently trying to find out just how the two interact, having had major struggles with it since I moved my library to the NAS.

Nothing wrong with a somewhat contrarian nature; I’m a bit that way, liking computers to work the way I want them to.  Which means that I’m not a big iThing/Apple fan…  I do have an iPad, but I much prefer my much cheaper Android tablets.

Your thread did at least get to me to reinstate the iThing drivers on my PC (having removed every trace of Apple’s bloatware from my PC recently).  And resurrected the MediaMonkey sync function to it, just to check that it could be done without loading the entire iTunes behemoth…

Thanks so much for that.

Now I know why I see only 2 playlists when I browse the NAS with the n-remote. It is looking at the Twonky server and that’s what created those playlists. I now have a copy of my music on the NAS and a working (as far as I can tell from iTunes) copy of my music and playlists. Well I say ‘working’, for reasons unknown to me some 900 songs in my 10,000+ library are marked as ‘Unknown Artist/Unknown Album’. *sigh*