Creating a good music library takes a lot of time and effort. One scenario, the more common one, is where you just keep adding music files randomly to iTunes, but an organized library requires more than that. If you’re out to create the best music library ever, or just a reasonably good one that you can brag about, it might be a good idea to take a look at what you friends listen to and start off with the songs they have. Mashduo is a free Mac app that will help you do just that. The app compares iTunes library XML files. You can, at any given time, view the differences between two XML files, both graphically and in a list. You may then export the complete list of songs that aren’t common between the two.
Before you can start using the app, you need to locate the XML file that your iTunes library is stored in. Go to Music/iTunes on your Mac, and you will find a file named iTunes Music Library.xml there. Ask your friend to send you a copy of this same file from their system as well. The location for the file remains the same, regardless of whether your friend is on a Mac or Windows PC.
To keep things from getting mixed up, the app lets you enter your name above your own library file, and your friend’s name above theirs. Files are added to the app through drag ‘n drop. Click Compare to begin the analysis, or Advanced Options to filter the results. You can specify a certain genre that the app will restrict the comparison to, and have it ignore spaces, punctuation and parenthesis in the file name. Additionally, videos and DRM protected files can be excluded from the comparison.
The time taken by the app will depend on the size of the libraries being compared. The results are first presented in graphical form. You can easily see the number of songs that are common between the two libraries, and those that are exclusive to either. To view which songs are different, click See Results.
The app’s screen splits into two, each side dedicated to one library. You can see all songs and select which ones you would like from your friend’s list. Likewise, you can share songs from your own list. Once you’ve selected which songs you want, click any one of the export options at the bottom of the list.
Concept-wise, Mashduo is remarkable, and probably one of those apps that you should have lying around. It’s helpful for both building and expanding your music library, and also for exploring the music your friends are into.