TL;DR: Move the itunes folder to a public folder, and press shift when opening iTunes to set iTunes to use the moved database

I have a computer where I want to share my iTunes songs between users. iTunes has a solution BUT, this solution is not really any good (as it requires one user to basically view the others music library at a single point in time. It doesn't update when host user adds new music, and the slave user doesnt get a directory to store their own music. Complete fail).

But, their is a really simple work around I just implemented on my machine that seems to be working fine. What we will do move one users music database file to a shared location, then any user can switch to that database (by holding shift when opening iTunes), so that when ever someone logs in, they use a single music database. Meaning there is one location for music, and whenever any user adds music, all users can see it.

This will only work when a single user is using the database at a single time, so I'm not sure if it will work sharing the database accross several computers, although I wouldn't do that anyway, I like to have my music stored locally.

  1. I reccomend using the setting "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library file" as well as "Keep iTunes media folder organised", these settings can be found here:
    Open iTunes.
    Choose iTunes > Preferences.
    Click the Advanced tab, and check the boxes for "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library file" as well as "Keep iTunes media folder organised"

  2. Similarly to the iTunes solution, we will move the 'iTunes Media' folder to a shared location (only one users music folder initially, the others will have to be added later). The difference is that, we will also copy the iTunes database to a shared location aswell!
    So, with iTunes closed, we will follow the first part of the iTunes reccomended solution, but copy the whole iTunes folder, rather than just the iTunes Media folder:
    To explain that more clearly, we will follow steps 1-9 of "Share your music with multiple users on one computer" from the iTunes solution here, BUT we will modify step 2, to move the whole folder containing the 'iTunes Media' folder, also containing the iTunes music database files.
    So now, we have moved the iTunes folder to a location accessable to all users

  3. Now, with iTunes still closed, hold shift, and open iTunes. This will bring up a window to select an iTunes database! All we have to do is select the database we moved to a shared location. Note that even if we don't hold shift when opening iTunes, we will still be asked to locate the iTunes database, since we moved it for that user. Now any user that wants to use that database just repeats step 3.

  4. To add any music from other users, in Windows you can simply drag a folder containing that Music into the iTunes program window. Otherwise you can go to the file menu in iTunes, and select ‘add file to library’ or ‘add folder to library’.
    This may create duplicates, which you can view in iTunes by going to the File menu, then selecting ‘Display Duplicates’
    Once songs from individual users accounts have been copied to the new shared database, they arent required in that users individual users music folder, although note that you will need to make sure that any songs copied accross have indeed had the files copied, not just added to the database, this is done with step 1, and can be confirmed for any songs by right clicking on that song and viewing that songs info, where the file location is shown. tags: “share iTunes database” “between users”

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