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Apple Music folder mess - Whats going on?


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Hi, I thought i'd start to do some music maintenance and seem to have uncovered something of a mess.

 

I'm a long term Apple and iTunes user with a reasonably large library of what the music app is reporting as 67K songs (I seemed to remember it was a lot bigger so am unsure if I'm missing anything). My music is "theoretically" stored on an external hard drive (more of that in a sec). Most of my library was ripped from CD but I I also started using the Apple Music subscription service approx two years ago. 

 

Now, in trying to better understand the structure of my library and carry out some maintenance I have uncovered several anomalies and wondered if anyone can shed any light on them.

 

Before I get to the issues, my understanding is that I should expect to have one folder called "Music" for all my ripped music prior to using the Apple Music subscription service. And an additional folder called "Apple Music" which is all the downloaded music from the Apple Music service. 

 

So the issues are:

 

1. I have two "Apple Music" folders. The first is where I would expect it, on my external hard drive under the path iTunes/iTunes Media/Apple Music. The second though is on my internal hard drive under my user account in the path ...Music/Music/Apple Music. So, the question is, why do I have two folders? And how do I combine them again? For info I have the following checked "Keep Music Media folder organised" and "Copy files to Music Media folder when adding to library".

 

 

2. The Apple Music folder (on my external drive)appears to contain a lot of artists and songs I do not recognise and don't even appear to be in my main genres. Despite the folder containing these folders/files the majority do not appear to exist within my library. i.e. if I search the artist named in the folder they do not exist in my library. I can only find them if I search within Apple Music. When I do locate them artist/song there is no indication it has been downloaded despite a file existing on my drive.

 

Why are these files on my system?

 

Can I simply delete what I don't want?

 

3. Is there a way to scan my hard drives for music that is NOT in my library?

 

Sorry for all the questions. I'm cautious of just deleting files without understanding whats going on.

 

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

 

 

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If you have a folder on your external drive, then you set the iTunes preferences to use a media folder there. If you have one on your Mac, then the Music app preferences were not set to use the external drive. 

 

The correct file path now should be ~/Music/Music/Media/Apple Music.

 

The Apple Music folder only contains files you've downloaded from Apple Music. So you can delete them.

 

This AppleScript can scan your Media folder - not your entire Mac - for files that are not in your library:

 

https://dougscripts.com/itunes/index.php?p=3468

 

You can do a search in the Finder for Music files in other locations. 

I write about Macs, music, and more at Kirkville.

Author of Take Control of macOS Media Apps

Co-host of The Next Track podcast.

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Hi Kirk, Thanks for the reply,

 

3 hours ago, kirkmc said:

If you have a folder on your external drive, then you set the iTunes preferences to use a media folder there. If you have one on your Mac, then the Music app preferences were not set to use the external drive. 

 

Yes, totally understand I maintained this as my media folder.

 

3 hours ago, kirkmc said:

The correct file path now should be ~/Music/Music/Media/Apple Music.

 

Is this set in stone? Can't it still be on my external drive?

 

Thanks for the script recommendation. I'll give it a go.

 

 

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Just a quick update in case you're interested. I have run the Doug's script your referenced and found 55553 unadded tracks.

 

However, these all appear to be included in my music app library BUT all show as "uploaded" with no file linked to them. So can be streamed but the actual files appear to be orphaned from the library.

 

 

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Update: Consolidating the library doesn't do anything. Presumably because all the files are already in the media folder.

 

Using Doug's script appears to be the best solution. However, it did hang on my 2nd batch of files (B's - Doing them alphabetically). 

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Consolidating should fix problems, even if the files aren't moved. But if it doesn't, and the script works, then that's your best bet. 

 

The problem with using an external drive for media is that if the drive is not available, iTunes/Music reverts back to the default location in your home folder. It's a good idea to check every now and then. 

I write about Macs, music, and more at Kirkville.

Author of Take Control of macOS Media Apps

Co-host of The Next Track podcast.

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