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.
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.
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.