What does this mean? iTunes has not been designed to be a multi-user system. It has a proprietary database that one user can access at a time. This is terribly inefficient. I have almost 15,000 items in all my libraries (music, movies, etc.). The total size of the files is almost 440Gb. The database file is 38.7Mb. This file is the heart of iTunes. It’s where iTunes maps the location of all your files and stores your playlists and audit data, CD tags, etc.
Whenever I make a change in iTunes (change one character in any tag, add album art, sync audit data, delete an item, etc.), the whole database is written every time. If two or three actions are being done at the same time, every action is slowed down dramatically. My machine is getting old and really could do with more memory, but I think when it takes a second or two just to register a mouse click, there is a software performance issue, not simply a hardware one.
To make the database better, iTunes needs to be able to read and write records individually, not as a whole file each time. The performance boost just by this one change would be enormous. Another feature that ties into this is multi-user. If a database can be written to on a record-by-record basis, then more than one user could use it at a time. Users could share a single library, with multiple CDs being ripped at the same time, etc. Multi-user makes it more complicated, but I’m sure Apple could figure it out. Maybe individual profiles on machines that stored different audit data and iTunes Store keys. Luckily, I’m not in that boat but the performance issue is key in any case.
I really hope Apple makes this change. I’ve left them feedback to the effect. If you want a better iTunes database experience, I suggest you do too.