I want to add song files to iTunes via the command line.

    open -a iTunes -g song.mp3

does exactly this. - However it starts playing the song, too. Any way to avoid this?


2 Answers 2


You can use the "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder for that (see PH19617):

cp song.mp3 ~/"Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Automatically Add to iTunes/"

If iTunes is running, anything you copy into this folder will be imported into iTunes automatically (and deleted from the folder afterwards).

Please note:

  • The folder name might be language specific, so check the name on your system first.
  • Depending on when iTunes was installed, the media folder may be called either iTunes Media or Tunes Music
  • 1
    You should use mv instead of cp so that the file is added and you are not left with a duplicate song file outside of your iTunes library.
    – CyberSkull
    Commented Apr 28, 2013 at 23:11
  • 1
    Not only does the "Automatically add to iTunes" folder simply not work in many instances, it doesn't work for a distributed library. Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 15:31
  • 1
    Support for distributed libraries isn't part of the question here. But you are correct: if you distribute your iTunes library across several disks neither "Add to iTunes" nor dragging media files into the iTunes window will import in a useable way.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 17:23

You can use applescript to do so and there's much more to explore. (add music to special playlist, etc.)

for example, you need to add file /User/username/myMusic/my.mp3 to lib, create a script file named add.scpt

tell application "iTunes"
    add alias ((path to home folder as string) & "myMusic:my.mp3") 
end tell

run command:

osascript add.scpt

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