How do I share iTunes music between two users on the same volume without copying everythng into two users' folders? I tried making an alias of the iTunes music folder and putting it in the shared folder, but it didn't work.
20" iMac 2.66 ghz Core 2 duo, 2009 & 2012 mac minis and 2013 13" MacBook Air
Strange — it works fine for me, both on my Mac (iTunes 4.7, OS 10.3.5) and another one up the street (iTunes 4.6, OS 10.3.5). The guest user account has a little blue playlist called "Hooch's iTunes" and my account says that one user is connected. Can even play two songs through the same set of speakers simultaneously, it sounds kinda weird.
Other than mundane stuff like "hey, check your settings" I don't know why it isn't working for you.
If you don't like the way I drive, then stay off the sidewalk. Do as I say and not as I do: Back up your data frequently!
" ... I tried making an alias of the iTunes music folder and putting it in the shared folder, but it didn't work. ..."
That won't work with iTunes4 and shouldn't have worked (but did) with earlier versions.
You must move your library and actual music files out of your home directory; if you don't do that, then no-one but you can access these files. So, moving the iTunes folder from username/Music/ to Shared will be fine.
However, iTunes will always look for your library file in your home directory. So you must have an iTunes folder at:
... and you must have a copy of the iTunes library file there. We are going to use an alias, which is just as good and will point to the "real" library file.
If you simply copied your iTunes folder to /Shared, then the original will still be at username/Music/iTunes.
If you moved it completely, then create a folder named iTunes at username/Music and place a copy of the library file (now inside /Shared/iTunes) into username/Music/iTunes.
Launch iTunes. Go to:
Go to the Advanced pane;
At iTunes Music Folder location, select "Change"
... and navigate to your new location at /Shared/iTunes
Check the box at:
Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library
Close the preferences.
iTunes will ask if you want to move and rename files in the new library. Click on No. Quit iTunes.
Go to username/Music/iTunes and find the file:
iTunes 4 Music Library
Move it to the iTunes folder now at /Shared. (Replace the one there if necessary).
Select iTunes 4 Music Library in /Shared and create an alias.
Move the alias to:
Move the original library file to the desktop, and rename your alias (remove "alias" from it's name).
Now, you've moved iTunes music and library to a directory that all users can access, you've told iTunes about it, so it will always add new music to this folder instead of your home directory, and you've created an alias of the library file in your home directory where iTunes can find it, because that's where it always looks for it. The alias points to the genuine library file.
Go to /Shared/iTunes and control-click the library file, and select Get Info. Change permissions for Others to:
Read and Write.
Log in as the other user. Launch iTunes and perform the preferences steps you did earlier. Create another alias of the Library folder at /Shared/iTunes and replace the one in the otheruser/Music/iTunes with it, remembering to change the name (remove "alias").
Both users have access to the same library, and either user can add music to the library.
You may have numerous library files, corresponding to earlier versions of iTunes (eg iTunes 3 Music Library, etc). You need only worry about the latest one that corresponds to the version of iTunes you use now.
For safety, it's best if you can copy iTunes to /Shared rather than move it. But you may have hard-drive space issues that prevent this. Do whatever is appropriate (move or copy).
Once all is working (check to make sure), you can delete the actual music in your home directory, making sure to leave both the iTunes folder itself and the alias of iTunes 4 Music Library in that folder. The library will always be "in sync"; every user will have access to the same music.