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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sync iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Zune

I manage my master music collection through iTunes in Windows Vista, but maintain links to this collection in both Windows Media Player 11 and Zune so that I can sync that music with non-Apple devices. This works pretty well, though you have to manually update album art and perform other housekeeping tasks, especially in WMP, fairly often. Turns out there's a better way.

If you're a Windows-based iTunes user, or someone looking to sync music meta data between iTunes and Windows Media Player/Media Center, you need to download a cool utility called MusicBridge immediately. MusicBridge offers manual one-way sync (in either direction) between iTunes and WMP of...

- General meta data

- Album art

- Ratings (!!!)

- Playlists

And you can export and import ratings (from iTunes) to and from XML. This is an amazing tool, and highly recommended. It's amazing seeing my very thorough iTunes ratings appear, perfectly, in WMP. The only problem is that the process is manual: You have to sync these things individually, and it's not automated. No problem: MusicBridge works grea, and MusicBridge could easily be used to migrate a music collection from iTunes to WMP, or from WMP to iTunes.

On the Zune side, the Zune desktop software actually includes everything you need to sync with iTunes and/or WMP, but you have to enable it: Just Access go to Monitor Folders (Options -> Library -> More Options -> Monitor Folders) and check the option titled "Add files, playlists, and ratings from another media player to library" in the Add Folders to Library dialog. Then click OK and it will all be blasted right into Zune, and kept up-to-date automatically.

The end result is that iTunes, Zune, and WMP now contain nearly identical copies of my music library right now. It's a lot closer to what I've been looking for than I had imagined was possible without a lot of work and duplication. I've been playing with this stuff all weekend, along with some related tools for accessing AAC files from WMP (and thus Media Center, but not Media Center Extender) and removing DRM from iTunes-purchased songs, so they can be used with other players and devices. I may write this stuff up soon, it's really kind of fantastic.

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[ Posted at 1:36 PM | Permalink ]


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