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iTunes 10 has a feature called the Automatically Add to iTunes folder. Basically it's a folder that iTunes constantly watches while its running. Any iTunes compatible audio or video files you place into it, are automatically added to your iTunes library. In Windows, you will find this folder by going to the Start menu, into your user account folder, into My Music > iTunes > iTunes Media and Automatically Add to iTunes is found here. On the Mac you will go into your home folder, into Music > iTunes > iTunes Music, it may be called iTunes Media, and here you will find Automatically Add to iTunes.
So basically anything I place into this folder will be examined by iTunes and if it's compatible, iTunes will move it into the appropriate folder in your iTunes library. Now as you can see, this is an exactly the most convenient folder to get to and why would you want to drag files into this folder to add in to iTunes, when you can already drag files into iTunes itself? Glad you asked. If you spent much time surfing on the web, you have probably downloaded your share of audio and video files. Now usually when you download files, you end up cluttering up your desktop or placing them into one mass Downloads folder, and then when you drag those files into iTunes, iTunes usually creates a copy of those files, so you end up with two copies of the same file on your computer.
So it makes sense to get organized and have iTunes manage your music and video files. I am just going to move this window over here a little bit and I am going to open up my browser. So for this example, I am going to go to thejellybricks.com, into music, and here on this page is a link to download an MP3 version of the song called "We'll Be Together." Now depending on your browser, clicking this link might play the MP3 in the browser itself or it may download the MP3 to your default Download folder. In most cases though you can right click on the link and choose something like Download Linked File As.
Depending on your browser, it may say Save Link As or Save Target As. The exact name will depend on which browser you're using. But each browser should have a command like this, that when clicked will let you choose where you want to download that file to. So I am going to save that to my home folder > Music > iTunes > iTunes Music and into the Automatically Add to iTunes folder. Now, when I click Save, you should see the file appear over here in the Automatically Add to iTunes Windows, since I have it open. So I will click Save, here it comes, and there it is, and watch what happens.
So, you saw that just after a moment the file disappeared. iTunes noticed that it was there and moved it to the right place. So if I switch over to iTunes and look for The Jellybricks, so there it is sitting in my iTunes library. So now the file isn't just setting somewhere else on my computer waiting for me to manually drag it into iTunes, and it also isn't just sitting in the Automatically Add to iTunes folder anymore either. iTunes moved the file to the right place, so I don't end up with two copies of the same song on my computer. But "not good enough," you say? "It still takes up too much time to navigate to that folder." Oh, if you feel that's the case-- let me hide iTunes for a moment.
You can make an alias for this Automatically Add to iTunes folder. On the Mac, just right click on the folder and choose Make Alias and you can place that alias some place convenient like on your desktop. Now I can easily drag or save files into this alias folder and it will pop right into the real Automatically Add to iTunes folder. And you can do the same thing on Windows. Just right click on the folder and choose Create shortcut, which is the same thing as creating an alias, and just drag that to your desktop. Now it's very important that you do use an alias or create a shortcut and not move the original folder to any other location.
If you move the original folder from its original location, iTunes will no longer be able to keep track of it. Now, a couple of more things to know about this Automatically Add to iTunes folder. First of all, it only works when iTunes is running. If you add files to this folder while iTunes isn't running, they will just sit in there and tell the next time you start iTunes and then iTunes will notice the files and organize them. Also if you put anything into this folder that iTunes doesn't recognize or can't play, like if you place a photo in here or an incompatible movie file, iTunes will create a folder called Not Added. Let me show you how that works. Let's just grab this piece of artwork here and I am going to drag that to my alias.
And I can see that ends up in the Automatically Add to iTunes folder, and after a second it disappears and now this Not Added folder has appeared and if I look in that, there's today's date and time and there is the file. So iTunes will automatically place files that it can't read or play into this Not Added folder and it will organize them into dates for you, so you can easily keep track of when you added these files. Now also bear in mind that iTunes will never delete files from the Not Added folder, so you might want to check in here from time to time to see if anything is sitting in here that you might want to move or delete yourself.
Also, and this is for Windows users only, if you place a WMA audio file into the Automatically Add to iTunes folder, it will convert it to an iTunes compatible format and move the original WMA file to the Not Added folder. So you will end up with a version of the song in iTunes on Windows, just not the WMA version. So just be aware that if you use WMA files.
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