I changed the setting of my iTunes Media folder, temporarily, and now wish to switch it back again. I have many, many music files stored in the following location:

/Volumes/SAMSUNG/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/{band-name}/{album}/{song-title}.m4a

When setting the preference "iTunes Media folder location", what value should I choose? Is it "/Volumes/SAMSUNG/iTunes" or "/Volumes/SAMSUNG/iTunes/iTunes Media"?

Additionally, when I set this, what else do I need to do to ensure iTunes recognises it - i.e. all my music appears. Choosing either location appears to do nothing, which is partly why this is so confusing - there's no indication if I've chosen the 'correct' folder or not.

  • In what context are you asking "Which folder does 'iTunes Media folder' refer to"? Obviously, from a path perspective it's, $HOME/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media however without proper context there is not much else to offer. – user3439894 Mar 6 '16 at 14:51
  • @user3439894 Sorry for the terribly-worded question. I've edited it and it's now, hopefully, much clearer. – Bobby Jack Mar 6 '16 at 15:26
  • That is wordend much better! The default is $HOME/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media however you are free to set it to any location you want. Personally I always uncheck "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" because I always manually move my music and use the File > Add to Library... command selecting the target folder that contains the music that is in a hierarchal folder structure of my choosing to bring it back into an empty iTunes Library or individual folder when adding it to the existing Library, etc. So, can't really help here. – user3439894 Mar 6 '16 at 16:07
  • Is this on a Mac or Windows? – Ashley Mar 9 '16 at 20:43
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    I'd have a look at my answer to apple.stackexchange.com/questions/230207/… because I think you can reset this without losing your existing playlists, play counts etc. The currently-accepted answer will make you start from scratch. Your issue is essentially two-fold. 1) where iTunes thinks your actual song files are & 2) where they really are. You can change one to match the other without losing anything. – Tetsujin Mar 11 '16 at 11:17

You would have to set it too

/Volumes/SAMSUNG/iTunes/iTunes Media

And iTunes will follow through all the Albums and artist.

Sorry my mistake, thought you could still see your library. That setting only tells iTunes what folder to use to store/organize your files and it would rediscover them if they still were shown in the library.

Because of the change, iTunes has likely lost track of where your files are. The best way to re-add them is to simply drag and drop all the files into iTunes.

Do you have it set so iTunes organizes your music? If you do only then will this setting really matter for music. Otherwise it just uses the location it was imported from.

If you want to check if it works, try playing a song and see it if can find it.

Or right click on a song and select 'Open Folder Location' (Something along those lines, it is 'Open in Finder' on Mac). This should take you to the location of the song, if it doesn't then it hasn't been set properly.

While not necessary, close and open iTunes to ensure it is updates the library.

  • I can't check this right now, but does everything you say hold true when, currently, my library is showing nothing at all (once I've disabled viewing purchases)? Because I've definitely tried that, and it didn't 'rescan' the media folder automatically. I'm wondering if I have to "Add folder to library" once I've changed the setting. – Bobby Jack Mar 8 '16 at 16:09
  • @BobbyJack Take a look now, I have updated. Simply draging the music in to iTunes will repopulate your library. That is the only way if there is nothing showing in iTunes at the moment. Setting the library path only tells iTunes where to look for the music that is in your library – Rio Mar 8 '16 at 17:07
  • Sorry, have to downvote this. It really is doing it the hard way, losing everything & starting over - which really wasn't necessary; for the sake of 5 minutes in TextWrangler it could have all been reassembled with no data loss. – Tetsujin Mar 16 '16 at 16:12
  • @Tetsujin Dragging and Dropping is the hard way? What exactly are you proposing you do with TextWrangler? The Metadata would have to be re-obtained regardless of which way is done as there was nothing in his library. You could potentially end up in more trouble using TextWrangles. – Rio Mar 16 '16 at 16:22
  • Did you have a look at my linked answer in the question comments? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/230207/… It doesn't answer the question precisely, but gives the bones of the method. If you have a folder of 'tunes' & a dissociated library xml file, you can fairly simply re-associate them. – Tetsujin Mar 16 '16 at 19:59

It sounds like iTunes may be confused about where the iTunes Library file is. That file contains the database about the music, which has references to where the individual files live.

If you can still an iTunes Library file, say in /Volumes/SAMSUNG/iTunes, then try the following:

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. Start iTunes whilst holding the alt (option) key.
  3. You should see "Choose iTunes Library":

Choose iTunes Library dialog

  1. Press the "Choose Library" button.
  2. Select the folder that contains iTunes Library and press Open.
  3. Hopefully iTunes will open and show your music again.

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