Issues with large libraries in iTunes and now Music

Given that Apple orphaned my 170,000 song ripped music collection by not providing for migration of a sizable iTunes library to Music , I smirk at any suggestion that today’s Apple is a wise custodian of music in any regard.

That’s surprising… I’ve had no problems migrating iTunes to Music library over the years.

I thought there was a limit of 100,000 songs:

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I’m not sure what problem you’re describing. If you can’t upload 170,000 songs to iCloud for streaming while on the go, then I think you’re over a limit, as @jk2gs mentioned.

If you’re saying that Music wasn’t able to create a local library (on your Mac) from your existing iTunes library (also stored locally), then something glitched during the migration. Or maybe there’s a bug. But it should work.

If you like, you can try again, if you still have your iTunes library. If you hold down Option while launching Music, you will be presented with a choice to create a new library or open an existing library. Tell it you want to open your iTunes library and it should create a Music library that shares all the same audio files and importing the database (containing playlists and whatever metadata isn’t stored in the audio file themselves.)

In my case, when I tried to migrate my music (not nearly as much as your library) from a 2011 Mac running Sierra to a 2018 Mac running Catalina, the automatic conversion during migration failed. So I manually copied the library directory to the new Mac and then opened it from Music. It worked fine. The Music library database (~/Music/Music/Music Library.musiclibrary) references the audio files in the iTunes location (~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music), but that hasn’t caused any problems.

Unless something changed over the years, this “song limit” (which was originally 25,000) is only for “uploaded” songs from your library. That is, songs that you did not buy from Apple and that you have uploaded to Apple to be “matched” or to stream to other devices.

It doesn’t affect files retained locally or those you sync to your devices via USB or Wi-Fi (where the music is not streamed, but played from the device’s own storage).


I was referring only to my own ripped and local files. I remember that early versions of iTunes could only hold around 30,000 songs in a library. Later, that was increased to something like 50,000 and now 100,000. I’ve never tried going over that since I only keep my AIFF and mp3 versions in one library and Apple Lossless versions in another. But I was referring to local files only, not using match or similar.

no, on my main library (I also have an Apple cloud library with less tracks) of ripped files, I currently have 115, 014 songs, mostly MP3, some lossless. I’ve never noticed an issue.

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Are you using Music or iTunes? In the past, there were limits with iTunes from what I recall.

iTunes (Mojave) for my main library, and Music for the secondary smaller library. I am pretty sure there is a 100,000 song limit for the Apple Match cloud-based library, maybe this is what you were thinking of?

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I think I may have misunderstood the limit so thanks for clarifying. I know in the very early days of iTunes there was a song limit but that was so long ago. I use iTunes 10.7 on Catalina.


Do you mean “Apple Music app on Catalina,” or did you use something like Retroactive to install the iTunes app on Catalina?

Yes, I used Retroactive to install. I’ve always liked the CoverFlow version and it works fine. I also use the Cover Version visualizer.

iTunes 10.7 also works fine in Ventura on my 2012 Mac Mini. I was able to install Ventura using the Open Core Legacy Patcher.

iTunes never had a limit as to the number of tracks it could hold in its library. iTunes Match had a limit of 25K, and is now 100K, as is Apple Music.


As I stated previously, that is incorrect for early versions of iTunes such as version 2 which I still have on a Performa 6400. That version was limited to 30,000 tracks. What would happen as you reached near the limit was that some older tracks were replaced by the new ones being imported from CD’s or other sources. When that limit changed, I don’t recall but it was an issue with those of use who had larger libraries at that time.

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I have 170,000 tracks in my Music library now with no problems, and almost all of them are ripped CDs. No iCloud Music or streaming at this point.