Who's listening to your iTunes?

Whether you're using Mac OS or Windows, options abound for finding out who's accessing your shared iTunes library.

If you share your iTunes library so that anyone on the network can access your music, it's a matter of time till curiosity gets the best of you.

When you close iTunes or shut down your computer, you may be greeted by a message that says "One or more users are connected to your shared iTunes library." Then, if you're like me, you feel guilty about closing iTunes.

This message means it's time to get sleuthy.

What if your loyal listener is in the middle of their favorite song? Who am I to poop on their party? And who is this mysterious listener, anyway?

Well, there are several ways to find out the answer to that last question.

Apps for the Mac

If you're a Mac user, it's easy to find out who's jamming out to your iTunes.

iTunes Monitor is the best solution, but it only runs on Mac OS X. Ebyss.net

  • iTunes Monitor is a popular app on Download.com. Not only does it show you who's connected to your shared music, it also tells you what they're listening to.
  • A similar Mac OS tool (that we haven't tested) is the What Are People Listening 2? applet.

Identifying listeners on Windows

The process is more tedious for Windows users to find out who's listening in on iTunes. There aren't any apps we know of that are custom-built for the task, but you still have options.

You can use Windows's built-in Netstat network monitor. Netstat gives you real-time information about your computer's active network connections and which applications are being accessed.

  1. Click "Run" in the Windows Start menu.
  2. Type "netstat -ab" in the "Open" box and click OK. A pop-up window will appear and list all open connections.
  3. Look in the "Foreign Address" column for all "iTunes.exe" entries. You should find the ccomputer name for each user connected to your iTunes.

There's a slightly less gritty way to keep tabs on your iTunes listeners, thanks to this helpful post on the Tongue and Groove blog. They recommend downloading TCPView network-monitoring tool and using it to see who's listening in on your iTunes.

TCPView isn't pretty, but it works.

As far as finding out what your fans have listened to, follow these steps.

  1. Click on "Search" in the Windows Start menu.
  2. Check the "Date" box.
  3. Select "files Last Accessed" from the drop-down menu and select the radio button next to "In the last 1 day."
  4. Check the box next to "Type" and select the file types (MPEG Layer 3 Audio, M3U Audio Playlist, etc.) that you want to track.
  5. Click the "Search Now" button.
  6. You should see all music files that have been access. Of course, you'll have to self-filter the results to eliminate the stuff that you've been listening to.

Neither of the Windows options are very pretty to look at, but they're down-and-dirty ways to get the info you're looking for.

 

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