Understanding the new Mac Music App

Written by
David Krinker
March 1, 2021

With the introduction of MacOS Catalina, Apple replaced the iTunes App with a new Music App and introduced a new music streaming service called Apple Music.

While the Music App now supports the new streaming music service, it continues to support a user's personal music library, which includes songs purchased from the iTunes Store as well as music imported from CD discs and other apps.

To play music from your personal music library in the Music app, you can continue to use CasaTunes My Music to discover, and optionally copy, your music onto the CasaTunes music server.

Prior to the Catalina release, CasaTunes QuickSync would monitor a special iTunes file, called the iTunes Music Library XML file.  This special iTunes file maintained a list of all the songs, albums and playlists in  iTunes, which made it possible for CasaTunes to quickly discover your iTunes music and playlists, and to automatically update your music catalog whenever changes were made to this file.

Unfortunately, the new Music App no longer  updates this file automatically when a user changes their library.  While CasaTunes can scan the hard disc to discover all music files, and rely on the organization of these files to determine which tracks belong to an album, etc., it is not possible for CasaTunes to discover your playlists, because this information was only available from the iTunes Music Library XML file, which is no longer available.

Fortunately, there is a work around to synchronize your playlists.  However, to do so, you must manually export your library using the new Music App, every time you update your playlists and want to update these in CasaTunes.

How to sync your playlists using the new Music App

To manually export your library, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Music App on your Mac
  2. From the menu, select File > Library > Export Library…
  3. Locate your iTunes folder (under Music)
  4. Save the Library file and name it iTunes Music Library.xml
  5. Choose to replace the current file, if prompted

When CasaTunes detects that your iTunes Music Library.xml has changed, it will perform an automatic synchronization of your Mac music. Once the synchronization task has completed you should now see all your playlists (and any changes you made to these).

For more information on how to setup and listen to your personal music collection, please refer to the following Tech Note