TuneSpan Splits Your iTunes Library Across Multiple Drives

If you follow my blog, and my articles in Macworld, where I’m The iTunes Guy, you know I have a very large iTunes library. Currently, I have over 71,000 tracks in my main music library, for just under 700 GB, and about 30,000 tracks in a second library of music that takes up 320 GB. I’ve got about 240 GB of movies and 260 GB of TV shows. Altogether, that’s about 1.5 TB.

Yet if you look at my iTunes Media folder, you won’t see all of those files.


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Over the years, I’ve had to struggle with organizing all my files, juggling increasingly large hard drives to store them. Until I discovered the $15 TuneSpan, a bit more than a year ago. TuneSpan was the iTunes utility that I had long been looking for. While you can store your iTunes media on different drives using iTunes, it’s a bit complicated to do so. If iTunes organizes your files, then it copies them all to your iTunes Media folder. In my case, putting all my files in that folder would take up too much space.

What TuneSpan does is let you “span,” or move, any or all of the files in your iTunes library to other drives or volumes. My Music volume is already an external drive connected to my Mac mini, but I have a second drive also connected to that Mac where I shunt off the files I don’t want on the Music drive.

TuneSpan lets you select which files you want to move, moves them, but keeps pointers to them in the iTunes library file. This is no mean feat, and it’s something you can’t do easily on your own. Just launch TuneSpan, choose the files you want to move, choose a location for them, and the app will copy everything, then tidy up your iTunes library.

For example, I have about 100 GB of high-resolution music files in my iTunes library. Since these are big files, I felt it would be easier to shunt them off to a second drive.

TuneSpan

You select the items you want to span, drag them to the bottom section of TuneSpan’s interface, then click the Span button and wait. The copy process can take a while, depending on how many files you’re moving and how fast the data can be moved (USB, FireWire or Thunderbolt).

When TuneSpan has finished copying the files and verifying them, it quits and relaunches iTunes. Your music or videos are still in your iTunes library, but on a different drive. You can play or tag them as if they were local, and iTunes is none the wiser.

If you have a large iTunes library, TuneSpan is a life-saver. No more will you need to upgrade to larger and larger hard drives; just use multiple drives and let TuneSpan organize your files where you want them. TuneSpan is a must-have utility for anyone with a lot of media files in their iTunes library.

Buy TuneSpan from the Mac App Store.

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9 thoughts on “TuneSpan Splits Your iTunes Library Across Multiple Drives

  1. So say I’ve told TuneSpan to put all my movies on an external HD, how does iTunes know where to put new movies when I import them or buy them off the iTunes Store?

    • iTunes puts them in the standard location; you run TuneSpan again. This is actually a good thing; you can be sure that your external drive won’t get any more files than what you expressly put there.

    • TuneSpan developer here. Eventually, TuneSpan will have some kind of “automatic spanning”. Something like being able to set certain criteria for what kinds of media you want where. Then, when you launch TuneSpan you’ll be prompted to span based on your criteria after media has been added to iTunes.

      Having something where TuneSpan automatically runs when stuff is added to iTunes may or may not get added even later on. The current plan will mean that you’ll still need to launch TuneSpan regularly and confirm any “auto spans”.

      Anyway, at this point what Kirk said is true. I can’t give a deadline on any future features, but wanted to let you know that TuneSpan is still an ongoing project with nice enhancements planned for the future.

  2. Could you use a NAS or other network mounted volume? I have a router that supports an USB HDD and I thought of putting iTunes media on a drive plugged into the router.

  3. Does TuneSpan also check the integrity of the music, .itl & .xml files? I know it’s not its real purpose. I have a situation where deleting the .itl, moving and re-importing the .xml file does not fix the horrendous slowness of iTunes after the 10.11.1 & 12.3.1 updates. I feel some files somehow got corrupted or previous corruption is now exposed. Perhaps I could use it to also troubleshoot my problem until I find corrupted media files.

  4. I understand that if a drive isn’t connected and you try to play a file that’s on it, iTunes would probably just say it can’t find the file, and that’s understandable, but what happens when you’re syncing devices that already have files on them, but those files are on a drive that’s not connected to iTunes when you’re syncing? For example, if I have an older hard-drive based Apple TV or iPod classic with both music and videos on them, and I start a sync when the drive with the videos isn’t connected to the computer… Will the sync progress ignore the files it can’t find, or remove them from the device, or return an error, or…?

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