Useful software for Apple iPod, iTunes (copy iPod contents to computer, multiple iTunes libraries)

“This week, Apple Computer announced that it sold a staggering 14 million iPod music players over the recently ended holiday quarter — more than 100 every minute. But as popular and well-designed as the iPod is, it’s not perfect. There are a couple of aspects of the way it works, or doesn’t work, that are becoming increasingly annoying as people acquire both more iPods and more computers,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“First, you cannot use an iPod, out of the box, to copy your music collection to multiple computers you may own. Millions of iPod owners have more than one computer, and it’s perfectly legal to copy the music you own to more than one computer. But the iPod won’t help you do this,” Mossberg reports. “Second, in families with multiple iPods sharing a single computer, the iPod’s companion software, iTunes, doesn’t allow you to have multiple music libraries. With multiple libraries, each user could see only his or her own music, and could synchronize his or her iPod with that personal music library.”

Mossberg reports, “Apple is aware of these shortcomings, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it solve the second one, multiple libraries, this year. But the first, the inability to use the iPod to copy music to multiple computers, is tougher. Apple was forced to cripple the iPod in this manner at the insistence of the record labels, which feared that it might be used to copy music too widely. So a fix probably requires negotiations with the labels, whose obsession with piracy has caused them to treat their own customers like criminals. Luckily, there are solutions to both problems available today, through third-party software or workarounds. Here’s a guide to those solutions.”

Full article here.

Links to products mentioned in case the article become unavailable:
iPod to personal computer:
CopyPod (Windows):
PodWorks (Mac):
PodUtil (Mac and Windows):

Here’s another one Mossberg doesn’t mention:
iPodRip (Mac):

Create multiple iTunes libraries:
Libra (Mac and Windows):

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  1. I wish someone would come up with a “folder” solution within iTunes. I hate scrolling through 10,000 songs when it should be scrolling through 300 artists. Then once an artist is clicked on, the folder opens displaying all the songs, and closes when I click it again. If anyone knows of such a plug-in. please let me know.

  2. Couple of responses:

    if you REALLY want mutlitple libraries, make mulitple users..
    (or just playlists like said above)

    and if you really need to have your music on EVERY machine, get an external drive and copy it over you lazy SOB. (or doesn’t the ipod show up and can be played from on another computer?)
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  3. He calls himself a journalist? Obviously, not an investigative journalist. No mention of Senuti.

    In my opinion, Apple still suffers from the single user mentality for development. I’m an I.T. person by trade, a Linux administrator, and I had a hard time figuring out how to set up one music library and one photo library.

    A multi-user philosophy should be built into every application that Apple writes.

  4. Emil: “I didn’t have any problems copying songs from the ipod, just navigate to it in a terminal”

    True, but that is beyond the majority of iPod users. They wouldn’t even know what terminal meant.

    Joe: ” hate scrolling through 10,000 songs when it should be scrolling through 300 artists”

    Use Browse: top right hand corner of iTunes, the eye icon.
    It will let you sort by genre first (you can choose All to see all artists), then you will see the artists in the genre you selected in the middle. If you select an artist, it will show all their albums in your libarary to the right and all the songs in the library window below.

  5. Jack,

    What’s the problem? I had a hard drive failure and all of my files were gone.

    I could re-rip all of my Cd’s to the new HD if I wanted to spend the time, but all of the music and videos I bought from itms would be gone.

    It would be nice to simply connect my iPod and sync back to my itunes account. I didn’t know about these solutions so I had to go into hidden folders on my iPod and extract all the music. Very tedious.

  6. Mossberg has got it wrong

    Enable disk mode and the iPod is a hard drive like any other. Copy any files between computers at will.

    Second, create a new user in Mac OS X and then they can have their Library, playlists etc in iTunes.

    Imagine the problems and user confusion with the smart playlists with multiple Libraries?

  7. If you go to your itunes music folders (in users/your user/music/itunes/itunes music ) you can copy that folder to your ipod ( I used my 3G 30gig ) and use the ipod as a portable drive to transfer to other computers. I also set up different folders on the kids Mac (which has 2 hard drives) for each child and it works just fine. I also exchange music between itunes music folders across the network. I just don’t see a problem. just my 2 cents…Pete

  8. imax: “OK, so we can’t copy our bought music but Apple can copy everything we listen to and send it to the record company scum?

    What’s up with itunes 6.02 Steve?

    You could try being truthful and conveying the correct situation, rather than trying to whip up paranoia.

    Most intelligent reply I’ve seen to this issue: “Let me get this straight: iTunes sends recommendations based on the song you just clicked on.

    – doesn’t send any personal data
    – doesn’t scan your library to see if you already own what it is recommending
    – can be turned off via a button that is immediately available and apparent to the user

    Why am I supposed to care about this again?”

    And another clarifying reply:

    “The really relevent language (for both iTunes & iPod) in the iTunes EULA is: “The Gracenote CDDB Service uses a unique identifier to track queries for statistical purposes. The purpose of a randomly assigned numeric identifier is to allow the Gracenote CDDB service to count queries WITHOUT KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT WHO YOU ARE. For more information, see the web page for the Gracenote Privacy Policy for the Gracenote CDDB Service.”

    If you don’t like being informed of other music you might like when you sample a new track then just TURN IT OFF!

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