Can one put the iTunes "Library" somewhere different?

Is it possible to relocate the iTunes “Library” to some filesystem location other than “My Documents”?

I don’t mean the collection of all the music files. There’s an option for “iTunes Music folder location” in Preferences > Advanced, and I am using that. My “Music” folder is where I want it. What I want to do is put my “Library” near that.

iTunes calles the huge collection of materials a “Music folder” and the little system for referencing it a “Library”. I think this is confusing and they should call the huge collection a “Library” and the little referencing system a “Card Catalog”, or, better, incorporate it with the huge collection so it doesn’t need to be separately managed by the end user.

Leaving the “Library” where it is would be bad because it lives in “My Documents”, which I have never used because (1) it is very messy as applications often write things of their own there, and (2) the ability of applications to handle paths that contain space characters is quite uneven and includes nasty surprises. I’d like to capture it in my file backups without having to start disecting this stupid “My Documents” mess.


If you start iTunes while holding down the option key, a file dialog appears asking you to choose a music library. Since you can choose a library outside the music folder, the answer to your question is yes, you can put the library somewhere different.
I’m not sure how to get iTunes to open an oddly placed library without holding down the option key, but would guess that the default file path for the library is stored somewhere in your user prefs. Someone has probably figured how to change it from the UNIX command line or somesuch.

What Squink said. Chiming in to add that the iTunes Music Library doesn’t even have to be on the local machine. I keep mine on an external USB drive along with the Music folder. Every so often, I rsync it to a second external drive. One of these days, I’ll upgrade to a NAS.

This leads me to believe that the library loc you choose after holding down option key remains current until you choose another loc at startup:

So the option key start should solve your problem, Napier.

Nice! Two questions, though -

How do I create the library elsewhere in the first place? Can I just copy my existing Library folder elsewhere, or does it care where it is and break things to do so?

Where is the “options key”? Is it next to the “any key”, or what?

I’ve just copied my existing Library stuff elsewhere in the past, and nothing broke. I can’t say that’s still true with 9.0.2, so use a little caution.

The option key is sometimes labelled ‘Alt’, you know, next to the ‘Apple’ key.

Edit > Preferences > Advanced.

Shows exactly where the library is stored and can be pointed at another location.

Check the box that says to copy the music to the iTunes Music folder when adding to library in order to ensure that it puts everything in the right place.

Since the OP referrs to his “My Music” in his “My Documents” folder, he’s probably not on Mac, but Windows XP. The key to hold down is the Shift key.

This does NOT change where the library is stored, it changes where the music folder is stored. They’re different things. See the OP.

Though, I think this setting LOOKS like it would do what I am asking, and think it should be changed, unless there’s something I’m missing. I wondered if perhaps it had to sit on the computer that was “authorized”, requiring the confusing setup.