Can You Have Two iCloud Music Libraries?

Several readers have asked if it’s possible to have two iCloud Music Libraries. The rationale is that they’d like one library for their Apple Music account, and another for their personal music. Many people don’t want to mix the two.

The answer is yes, sort of.

You may know that you can create more than one local iTunes library. To do this, launch iTunes and immediately press the Option key (OS X) or the Shift key (Windows). You’ll see a dialog like this:

New itunes library

To create a new library, click Create Library. To choose an existing library, click Choose Library.

However, if you use multiple libraries like this, they still use the same iCloud Music Library, the one linked to the Apple ID with which you are signed into the iTunes Store.

If you want to use a second iCloud Music Library, you need to create a new Apple ID for the other library, and, when you want to sign into the other library, make sure to quit iTunes, relaunch it, and choose the corresponding local library. Each local library will contain different music, and if you sign into the iTunes Store with the library that doesn’t correspond to the specific iCloud Music Library, iTunes will simply merge all the music.

If you have purchased music from the iTunes Store, then it’s only available with one of your Apple IDs. You’d need to download all that music and add it to the second library to ensure it’s available from both. (Remember, music purchased in recent years has no DRM, so you can add it to a library that uses another Apple ID.)

Remember that the Apple ID doesn’t just affect music; it affects anything you buy from the iTunes Store. So if you sync apps, download videos, or even have podcast subscriptions set up, juggling between two Apple IDs becomes even more problematic.

So, while it’s possible to use two iCloud Music Libraries, it’s a bit cumbersome. Unless you have a Very Good Reason to do so, I wouldn’t recommend it.