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How to use Apple's Music app with rekordbox

A new era of Music

With the introduction of macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple gave a long-overdue upgrade to their iconic music manager, iTunes. This rebirth separated the functions that had merged into iTunes over the years to form several new individual applications, and turned the focus of the Music app back to iTunes' origin; music. Unfortunately, this new app came with changes behind the scenes that have affected 3rd party software programs, rekordbox included, so in this article we will guide you through the changes and how you can continue to use rekordbox with your Music collection.

Before we continue, it is important to note that rekordbox does not currently support Apple Music, the streaming service. While they now (unfortunately) share the same name, one is a service, the other is an application - and we'll only be covering the application here. For the purpose of disambiguation, we will refer to the app as Music (with a capital M, and without the word Apple).

It is also worth mentioning that as of this article's writing, Apple has not yet replaced the iTunes app on Windows, so things continue to work as normal there. The instructions below pertain only to Mac users who have upgraded to Catalina (or later) who no longer have iTunes.

What's changed?

You may have opened rekordbox after upgrading and things kinda worked as they did before. rekordbox is capable of reading the XML file generated by iTunes to index the songs and playlists within iTunes, and it can still do that, but the problem is iTunes used to update that XML file whenever the application was closed, but Music requires this export to be performed manually. The old iTunes XML file is still sitting in place, being read by rekordbox, but Music is not updating it, and thus no changes are visible in rekordbox. Whether you are using the Sync Manager or browsing the iTunes library in the rekordbox tree view, the same XML file is in use.

How do I get my Music songs and playlists into rekordbox?

As noted above, this is no longer an automatic process, so you will have to manually export the XML file every time you want to update rekordbox. Fortunately, this is a simple process - here's how you set it up.

1. Export your Music library

Open the Music app, then click File > Library > Export Library...

MusicExport.png

In the Save window, give the file a unique name you'll know is not your previous iTunes XML file, and note the location you're saving it to.

MusicExportSave.png

Click the Save button, then quit Music once it's done.

2a. Configure rekordbox (Export Mode)

Open rekordbox and go to the Preferences, click the View item and ensure that there is a check beside iTunes on the Layout > Tree View setting.

rekordboxExportTree.png

Next, click the Advanced item and click the Database tab, then click Browse and locate the XML file you created above.

rekordboxExportXML.png

A pop-up window will show you rekordbox is loading the XML library.

MusicExportReading.png

Close the Preferences window when the loading is complete.

2b. Configure rekordbox (Performance Mode)

Open rekordbox and go to the Preferences, click the View item and ensure that there is a check beside iTunes on the Layout > Tree View setting.

rekordboxPerformanceTree.png

Next, click the Advanced item and click the Database tab, then click Browse and locate the XML file you created above.

rekordboxPerformanceXML.png

A pop-up window will show you rekordbox is loading the XML library.

MusicExportReading.png

Close the Preferences window when the loading is complete.

3. View your "iTunes" Music

Your Music songs and playlists will now appear under the iTunes tree at the left of rekordbox. As mentioned earlier, since Apple hasn't changed iTunes to Music on Windows, we've kept the legacy "iTunes" name in the rekordbox tree in the Mac version for consistency (this may change in future).

I've made changes in Music but they're not showing in rekordbox

Again, as the XML update process is no longer automatic within the Music app, you will need to manually repeat the process to export the Music library to XML any time you add music or create / edit playlists.

1. Export your Music library

Open the Music app, then click File > Library > Export Library...

MusicExport.png

In the Save window, find the same XML file you used previously.

MusicExportSave.png

Music will warn you that the file already exists - this is okay because we're overwriting it with updated information; click Replace.

MusicXMLWarning.png

Quit Music once the export is done.

2. Update rekordbox

If rekordbox was closed, the next time you open it after updating your XML file, it will re-read the Music (iTunes) Library file after the Reading Library has completed.

MusicExportReading.png

If rekordbox was open, simply click on the refresh icon to the right of the iTunes tree item.

rekordboxiTunesRefresh.png

Important note if you use the Sync Manager

When selecting Music playlists to synchronize with rekordbox via the Sync Manager (Export Mode only), you may notice that the rekordbox tree only shows the playlists you have checked in the Sync Manager window, this is normal. If you want to show more playlists, you can either add them to your sync through the Sync Manager, or show them temporarily by clicking the refresh icon to the right of the iTunes tree item, and the full list will be shown. The playlists which are checked in the Sync Manager will appear with a special icon to indicate they are selected for sync.

rekordboxSyncIcon.png

Playlists not selected for sync will be hidden again the next time you quit / re-open rekordbox.

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