Setting up an iTunes server

I’m trying to set up iTunes on my home Windows network. I’ve been searching all morning for advice on this: Between out-of-date articles, configurations that do not match what I’m looking for, and vendors trying to sell stuff - I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. Here’s hoping a fellow Doper’s already figured it all out, or can point me to somewhere that has. If I have to buy something, sure, okay, I will - but I’m a cheap bastard.

What I’m trying to do:

  1. all MP3s always and only in one location

  2. accessible to everyone’s computer in the house

  3. each family member can add/delete music to the library and everyone else sees the changes

  4. everyone can modify ID3v2 tags (correct typos, add album art, etc) and everyone else can see the changes

  5. everyone can create and modify playlists that everyone else can see. If each family member can also have a private playlist, that would be a bonus

  6. The “last played” and “play count” attributes must be updated - whether on the server for everyone or just for each individual doesn’t matter (with a slight preference for server-side).

What I’ve done so far:

  • move all MP3s to a Windows computer, shared the folder.

  • mapped the same drive letter on each computer (including the server) to the shared folder. That way if I move the music to a different computer, all I have to do is remap that drive letter to the new location and iTunes should be none the wiser.

  • installed iTunes on the server and on each family computer, and pointed each instance of iTunes to the mapped drive

  • imported the contents of the mapped drive on each computer individually.

So this accomplishes 1), 2), and 4), as well as 6) for each family member privately.

As for 3) all new MP3s will be added to the shared location and deletions will remove them from that location. But other family members will have their library out of sync. I can handle that, I guess, by using something like iTunes Library Updater (which I could automate).

I’m almost resigned to the fact that 5) is out if I insist on the other requirements. I know I could use “Share Library” but then everything else goes out the window.

Thoughts? Advice?

A topic so close to my heart, I registered just to respond.

Have a look at

It’s an open source (i.e. free) project devoted to serving music via Apple’s DAAP protocol (iTunes), Roku’s RSP protocol (Soundbridge) and hopefully soon, uPNP (everything else).

I have Firefly installed on a modified Linksys NSLU2 serving two Roku Soundbridges. The details are little more complicated, but basically, it works like iTunes, and indeed, iTunes on my PCs, and Amarok on my Linux Laptop all stream mp3s happily from the server. I would reccommend the latest “nightly” version (svn-1586), which has been running continuously (and perfectly) on my little NSLU2 for nearly 3 months now, since I did the upgrade. As a small caveat, I haven’t used the Windows version, and I believe there may be a few very minor bugs to iron out for the Win32 code, mostly to do with installation issues and language format. If 1586 doesn’t work for you under Windows, svn-1359 was the last one to make it to stable release.

I believe this solution will address all of your points except for number 4. I use a free ID3 tag editing program to do that.

Hope that helps a bit.