If you’ve taken the trouble to set up a home network so your family can share a printer, an Internet connection, and so on, more treats await. With iTunes 4, you can share songs and playlists with up to five networked computers—Macs, PCs, or a mix of both. You could, for example, tap into your roommate’s jazz collection without getting up from your desk, and she can sample the zydeco and tejano tunes from your World Beat playlists. The music you decide to share is streamed over the network to the other computer.
In iTunes 4.0, you could even listen to music on Macs elsewhere on the Internet, as long as you knew their IP addresses (network addresses). It didn’t take long for people to figure out how to exploit this feature and share music all over the Internet in sneaky ways that Apple had never intended.
In response to hysterical phone calls from the record companies, Apple removed this feature (and the Advanced → Connect to Shared Music command) in version 4.0.1. Now you can connect only to other machines on your own office network.
To share music across a network, the machines involved must meet a few requirements:
The Macs on the network must use at least iTunes 4.5 and Mac OS X 10.2.4 or later. The Windows computers need iTunes 4.5 or later.
The computers must be on the same subnet of the network. (If you don’t know what that means, read on.)
The iTunes Sharing preferences for each computer involved need to be configured properly.