Is there a way to keep the iTunes library separated from the music folder?

I could just toggle "Copy files to iTunes music folder" but this won't keep my music folder organized, while I would like to have my music folder organized as usual but keep the various files (.itdb, artwork and so on) on a different HDD than the music folder.

(I have an SSD that is great to instantly load the whole library but bad to keep all the music there because of its reduced size)

  • If you're familiar with Disk Images in OS X, I suggest you create one (possibly encrypted) just for storing your iTunes Media. Since the iTunes preferences (or the symlink of Stephen's answer) then reference the volume name, you are free to move that volume around your external hard drives, if you ever find yourself with storage management issues. – Daniel Beck Dec 5 '10 at 19:52

I'm making these assumptions:

Current iTunes library folder: ~/Music/iTunes               (on SSD)
Current iTunes music folder:   ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music  (on SSD)
Proposed iTunes music folder:  /Volumes/LargeDisk/Music     (on HDD)

You could shut down iTunes, then move ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music to /Volumes/LargeDisk/Music. Then, create a symlink from the current iTunes library folder to the new music folder:

ln -s "/Volumes/LargeDisk/Music" "~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music"

This way iTunes won't know that the music files are stored on another volume, it will simply traverse the symlink you've created to find the music data.


Open the iTunes preferences, select Advanced, and Change the iTunes Media Folder location. Now, new additions will be sent there.

Then, select File, Library, Organize Library..., and check Consolidate files to move existing media to your chosen location.

  • I wasn't sure if doing this would move the library database as well, or just the music files. Do you know definitively one way or another? – Stephen Jennings Dec 6 '10 at 7:09
  • @Stephen It's the media folder. Not the library folder (which is 1 higher in the default hierarchy, see... well, your answer). You move just the subdirectory. Besides that, you can change the library location any time you wish by moving the library file and holding Option while iTunes is starting. – Daniel Beck Dec 6 '10 at 7:40

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