Itunes Library On External Hard Drive


Well... this didn't work (so far).

Back in 2015 (before Apple Music) I put my ripped music on an external hard drive and put my "iTunes Media folder location" to the external drive. It took a few tries to get it to really work right.

Then some time later I signed up for Apple Music and I had to fight with it some. iTunes wanted to upload all my music. blah blah blah... eventually it was working somewhat ok. I could play the higher quality music that I had ripped or I could play music from the Apple Music cloud. (That Mac is a 2009 critter and so it is at 10.11.6 but the iTunes is the latest at

I move the hard drive to a new MPB (Sierra 10.12.6) and the same iTunes level and set up my preferences and I can see my library -- except not really. I can't actually get to the music that I ripped from CDs years ago but instead iTunes wants to download the music. The vast majority of the songs have the solid cloud with the down arrow coming out of the cloud. A scant few have a dotted cloud which I guess is "No Longer Available" and the name of the track is a lighter grey.

So... I moved the disk back to the old laptop to see how things looked there and they are mostly the same but not 100%. I can access some of the tracks that I ripped rather than the cloud versions but it seems that the majority I can't actually access the original tracks that I ripped from CDs. So somewhere things have changed as iTunes has updated and I didn't notice.

All this to ask somewhat basic questions... Has anyone figured out how to get Apple Music (but not iTunes Match) and CDs that you have ripped to play nicely with each other?

If I thought I could start back over from scratch and have it come out working nicely I would be tempted to do that (a four day holiday approaching). But I have two basic fears. One is if I start back over, iTunes will want to upload all my music again and with my internet connection that is horrible. The other is that I would go through all this effort and it still would not work like any sane sensible person would assume it would work.

One thing to note: my library points to /foo/dog/iTunes In there is a "Music" directory which has all of my ripped CD tracks and then there is an "Apple Music" directory that has the files from the cloud.