iTunes 12.2 Update Causes Issues With Rekordbox, Traktor, Serato

DJs should always be hesitant to update to a new version of any software that they depend on, from system updates to new firmware. Today, we’ve learned that a brand new version of iTunes (12.2) has started causing major issues with all major DJ software.

Why Is iTunes Changing? 

For a lot of DJs, iTunes is a fundamental tool used for organizing and cataloging massive quantities of music, but the integration of the just-launched Apple Music streaming service has increased the amount of bloat and focused the app’s features further away from a local music file manager.

XML Database Link Issues

The iTunes Library files in Finder

With the new version of iTunes, one of the biggest issues showing up is related to a major change in how files are categorized and accessed. Reports from various forms have confirmed that this is causing issues for DJ softwares that access it. On Pioneer’s forums, Rekordbox users report being unable to reliably load iTunes files and folders. A Pioneer rep has issued a response:

It should be working, but with some users, we’ve found you need to refresh a couple of times (click the reload icon to the right of the iTunes label on the left window), other users have needed to simply wait a couple of minutes.

Engineers are working to improve this behaviour and your patience is appreciated. Please be aware you can always drag-and-drop playlists into rekordbox manually to re-create them if the sync isn’t working properly for you, or you can use the Sync Manager which acts as a one-way sync/import from iTunes.

On Native Instruments’ Traktor forums, we’ve seen at least one Windows 8 user who has reported that their new iTunes update has broken the integration completely. (Has anyone else seen a similar issue? Let us know in the comments..)

Serato users are seeing problems of their own – as Joe Moore on the Serato forums writes:

  • iTunes playlists are now not collapsible
  • Mobile applications in iTunes now appear in the Serato library with yellow warning icons next to them
  • If you disable the new setting in iTunes’ advanced preferences “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications”, the iTunes library will not load in Serato DJ, even with “Show iTunes Library” enabled in Serato’s Setup

At the same time, we’ve seen a number of reports of mixed up song metadata (artwork, file/song associations) – this post does a good job of summarizing it:

“… there are numerous reports that suggest iTunes 12.2 is scrambling huge music libraries owned by iTunes users. One Mashable reporter said that iTunes is now showing random collections of albums with tunes from other artists, album artwork is mixed up beyond recognition and more. “Arctic Monkeys’ album art is displayed while Elliot Smith is listed as the artist,” the report said. “Meanwhile, when I clicked on The Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing,” an Arctic Monkeys song played.”

Apple Music Backup: Not Good For DJs?

iTunes now has a feature that allows you to upload your entire library onto Apple Music’s global backup/streaming service (similar to Google Music), allowing you to access it from everywhere. If Apple Music sees a song that it recognizes, it won’t upload the file, but instead will allow you access to their own copy of the file.

What this means is:

  • If you lose all of your music and rely on the iTunes cloud backup, all of the matched files will be DRM locked – which will make it impossible to load them into a DJ software.
  • If you sync your iTunes library across devices using the same tool, the same applies – DRM files.
  • This won’t break your songs that don’t have a match in Apple Music

So far it seems like all of the major DJ software developers are aware of the headaches being caused by the new iTunes update – so for now we have to wait for fixes from them and from Apple to smooth things out.

Have you experienced any issues with the new version of iTunes and your DJ software? Let us know in the comments.

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Comments (40)
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  • Tyler Graham

    launch iTunes > goto preferences > advanced > Make sure “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications” has a check mark. Close iTunes and Rekordbox. open itunes first then rekordbox and then click the icon to Reload iTunes Library and it will read the xml.

  • Jerry Bennett

    I have just purchased some tunes on iTunes. I can’t load them into Rekordbox to use on my DDJ RX. Really frustrating! I won’t be purchasing from iTunes anymore.

  • Larry Cote

    Still as of today January 1, 2017 I cannot get any newly purchased tracks in my “ITUNES” rekordbox folder, even after refreshing it time and time again. I went into settings and checked the box off to share my iTunes library with ” OTHER SOFTWARE” So I am stuck with all kinds of new tracks I cannot analyze and use on my CDJ’s ? Any information is so helpful please! There is a way to manually add them I guess by dragging an drew dropping into COLLECTION folder? Does anyone know of an easier way as I have over 4-5,000 tracks and I lose track of new last week and new this week, PLEASE HELP!

  • Mathew

    if you go into iTunes preferences, then advanced tab, then check the boxes for iTunes to share xml and playlist with other apps. fixed the issue for iTunes not loading in traktor for me

  • Ean Waitiki

    Just check the itunes option on advanced setting. it works.

  • Frank

    I use the itunes app on my phone and always connect it to my iTunes on my laptop to move the songs over through i cloud and then mix with them through my traktor software. however i not can’t load any of my new songs bought my apple/itunes. It says un known format when i load it into trakor. I tried changed all my songs into mp3 format however the files are protected and won’t load how do I fix this> It makes me want to delete iTunes and get my songs from elsewhere

  • Harry Bick

    Anyone know how to fix the ‘iTunes xml file unable to be read properly’ problem? I updated my iTunes to the latest version, same with Rekordbox. I’m not technical, and now I can’t access my music through Rekordbox and update my libraries!!! So frustrating, any help would be much obliged.

  • Brian Shear

    I have a folder in traktor under my itunes called ####!####? It appeared after i updated itunes. How to i delete it?

    • Nelson X-man

      Have you find a way to fix this error mine is the same?

      • Brian Shear

        The itune playlist you are seeing is a small glitch related to itunes, please be
        patient until Apple releases an update to fix issues with their itune update.

        Please follow the instructions below to reset Traktor’s default settings:

        – Quit out of Traktor
        – Please go to your Documents > Native Instruments > Traktor 2.X.X
        – Please find the file “Traktor Settings.tsi”
        – Throw the “Traktor Settings.tsi” file into your trash can
        – Empty your trash
        – Re-open Traktor

        Andrew
        Native Instruments Support Team

  • Brian Shear

    In traktror an itunes album shows up called ####!#### which contains nearly my whole library. Since the update traktor has been running glitchy. How to I deleted the album.

  • Eric Mothes

    After the itunes update Traktor Pro shows a new playlist entry named as ####!#####. It seems that Traktor cannot yet interpret the changes introduced with itunes 12. So this is more a cosmetic fault than an issue when using itunes with traktor.

    I am using a Macbook (Mavericks) and Traktor 2.9 (itunes 12.2)

  • Dennis Disfors

    Rekordbox 3.2.2 available! Took care of my problems with Itunes sync and rekordbox. Thanx Pioneer!

  • Stevie May

    ive noticed on traktor that all my playlists are no long in order to what they are in itunes

  • Melvin

    ITUNES is on its PERIOD!!!!( no offense ladies)
    ALERT!!!!! ALL DJ’S STOP USING iTUNES.. Options: mp3’s on External HD Only. Use only DJ software for music files ex. Traktor, Serato, Rekordbox, or whatever software. DJ’s make up a small precent of ITunes sales so they can afford to loose us because we are buying elsewhere. (Tracksource, Beatport, Juno and Record Pools) If iTunes has a song thats hard to find then maybe but most likely to ask a friend if he/she has it.

    • Dennis Parrott

      Melvin, I have thought about giving iTunes the boot but the reality is you sort of have to have it…. IF (always a Big If lurking…) you are using iPhones/iPods/iPads. What’s worse is that the use cases that Apple tries to accommodate don’t really line up with how a DJ might use those devices. They are ONLY concerned with making sure that you have to head over the iTunes store to buy everything.

      I could write a small book on ways that I want to use my iDevices to support my DJing work and how Apple gets in the way by enforcing really stupid restrictions.

      I could whine all night about how trying to (manually!) put playlists on your iPhone and iPad seems to just fail in iOS 8 (with regularity).

      Even before this latest fiasco, my plan was to cull through my incredibly overstuffed iTunes library, export the music I’d want to play and import that into Traktor but in doing that there is no way you can then use Traktor DJ to work on stuff and get the metadata back. Everybody and their dog has hitched their wagon to iTunes and now we are all hostages…

      What we really need is a _PROFESSIONAL DJ_ version of something to replace iTunes that will also service the iDevice world (to support track prep in Traktor DJ, playlist curation and so on) and connect to all the major DJing platforms. (Clearly easier to write down than deliver…)

      I apologize to all the readers for my general bitchiness… I am under a deadline to produce two mixes for a wedding this weekend and have faced no end of issues related to the iTunes upgrade (which I did before articles has appeared — DOH!) and stupid iOS restrictions that are preventing me from using my iOS devices while on the go to support that mission… Sorry everyone…

      I will now go back to the lab and work on my mixes…

      • Dj Andy H

        HELP!!
        I took your advice and stayed well clear of updating iTunes but updated rekordbox now my playlists have disappeared off rekordbox how do I import them back from my hard drive or have I lost them??

  • 2cents

    may sound tedious, but I’ve found the best way to organize my set-lists from my entire digital music library is with old school folders on the desktop: sort ’em into genres, build ’em into trees. then load them into whatever program you’re using after.

    I’ve had all my iTunes playlists delete(d) twice since 2005–once in 2009, when transferring files onto an external hard drive and the comp went asleep (n00b mistake, I know); second time: miscommunication between my partner and I, as I’d backed up all my mp3s but not the playlists etc, and she wiped and reinstalled iTunes on our mutual computer… now, as a Traktor user of the last year-and-a-half or so, I lost some part of my playlists on a bad MIDI map before they fixed whatever bug was with the S2 and S4 mk2s in 2014 and had to reload all my tracks back in again…

    what I mean is: I’ve found sorting playlists before loading them into a program has been key because lost work, for me, has been a lot more to do with playlists and tagging than whatever music I liked at whatever particular time; it’s been more about the *order* and the *progression* of moods. and the only way to save all that is to do it manually.

    last piece of trite advice: be modest. I took a hint from DJTT and DDJT and cut my Traktor library down to about 450 tracks vs. 20k. I don’t mean sorting your *entire* library–just your go-to you couldn’t do without

  • Riccardo Joy Ricci

    anche a me ha dato lo stesso problema…non vede le cartelle di iTunes dopo aggiornamento…DISASTRO!

  • Ruben Guerrero

    Right now the only thing that’s messed up is how its organized. For example, my recently added is in a totally different order than it should be

  • Joshua Nussbaum

    I’ve had absolutely no problems so far with iTunes 12.2 and Traktor. I’ve had the iCloud music library disabled since before the update, which might play a factor. I use iTunes as my primary music management app because importing the files to my iTunes Media folder means I can keep my downloads folders clean and tidy, and because smart playlists allow me to streamline both the cataloging/indexing and providing harmonic sorting for a DJ setting. Not sure what’s going on that’s causing everyone such issues, but hoping I don’t have to experience it.

    • Paul Muller

      So I have done the same thing. I had to switch off iTunes match after it was first released as it kept writing over my metadata such as comments, Traktor Cue points and artwork by unpredictably reverting everything back to the older versions “in the cloud”. having lost days of track-pre work, I gave up, switched it off and things have behaved since. Like Joshua I have yet to experience any problems at least with Traktor and Rekordbox, but I am extremely nervous!

    • Bart Misiewicz

      Totally agree with you. I haven’t updated yet after seeing this article, but I love iTunes. I have tried other music-managing programs but iTunes is by far the most powerful and best-looking.
      It is easy to use, allows me to easily edit track info and create lots of playlists, that I can use in Traktor. The only thing I’m waiting for is live iTunes playlists in Traktor, but that itself is a problem with Traktor. But other than that, I haven’t experienced any major problems with it yet.

  • Mezzanine

    iTunes sucks! It is so controlling. I hate how Apple assumes everyone is not technical. Who gives them the right to simply move your folders with an update? Who says when I plug either a USB stick, connect a Bluetooth device, or plug in a mini jack, I want to use iTunes.

    • timtam

      Apple has always been hostile to non-apple devices/methods. That’s why I use winamp. Why do all ipods everywhere rename all your songs to garbage strings on the device? There’s no compelling engineering reason to do that. It’s just Apple passive-agressively trying to lock users into their ecosystem. @#$* that.

  • Chris Wunder

    Does anyone have a different player they use that is on par with itunes?

      • Manus Scullin

        Isnt Winamp dead?

  • Dennis Disfors

    Regarding Rekordbox and the Itunes Sync feature: Pioneer Rep:”It should be working, but with some users, we’ve found you need to
    refresh a couple of times (click the reload icon to the right of the
    iTunes label on the left window), other users have needed to simply wait
    a couple of minutes”
    ***Well, It doesn’t work***
    The issue is that Rekordbox is unable to separate playlists stored in folders in Itunes (when syncing) and instead present them as one huge playlist with the name of the Itunes folder. Several reloads doesn’t change anything…. so in other words… urgent update of Rekordbox needed.

    • Mezzanine

      iTunes = AIDS

    • rohanwillard

      I’m having the same problem with rekordbox not recognising playlist folders from itunes – please fix as this is a very important function!!

      • Dennis Disfors

        The official answer from “Pulse” Pioneer:

        Apple keeps changing how their program works, and when other
        applications have dependencies that get broken, those other applications
        won’t operate as intended. Pioneer is working to address the issue, but
        these unforeseen changes sometimes take a while to be corrected. In the
        meantime, you could try downgrading your iTunes installation to 12.1.x.

        Pioneer would like to thank you for your patience during this time
        and we will announce any information or updates as soon as it’s
        available.

        It is my professional opinion that working DJs should never adopt the
        latest ANYTHING until it has been proven that there are no conflicts or
        problems with everything else you need/use to do your job as a DJ.

        http://forums.pioneerdj.com/hc/communities/public/questions/203143079

  • Mark “DJ Natural 345” Cummings

    https://ipsw.me/iTunes Check out that site for older version of itunes……might be someone’s saving grace! I know it mine!

    • Ledisko

      I too am having issues with itunes 12.2 and rekordbox. I really want to go back to the old version of iTunes and I’m wondering what the best strategy is (I don’t want to experiment and mess it up even more)

      Mark, is it as simple as installing the .dmg for 12.1.2 from that website, which will completely replace the new version and fix these issues?

      Or should i revert to a time machine backup (would this make me loose the songs i’ve added since upgrading?

      Thanks!

      • Mark “DJ Natural 345” Cummings

        no unfortunately its not as simply as just installing 12.1.2, time machine would be a safer option but yes you would loose songs that you recently added.

      • Dennis Parrott

        @Ledisko:

        If I read the stuff I was digging through this weekend correctly, there are changes to the XML files iTunes uses. Once you upgrade the XML gets changed and unless you have a copy of those XML files, you are kind of out of luck.

        This points out the crying need for us to make great backups of our music libraries…especially just before taking the plunge (into the icy cold water) of a major upgrade.