Thankfully, that’s what the library consolidation feature was designed for.
Consolidating your library keeps the originals in their original location and creates copies placed in the i Tunes Media folder.
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To see where your i Tunes Media folder is currently located, access i Tunes’ preferences, click the Advanced tab and look for the location under the section labeled “i Tunes Media folder location.”To set a custom location, click Change and choose a folder for imports.
This will not automatically move any of your previously imported files to the new location unless you consolidate the library.
Any referenced items will be copied into appropriate sub-folders in your i Tunes Media folder.This may take a while depending on the number of the source files being consolidated, their size, the speed of your computer, available storage space and other factors.By default, the i Tunes Media folder lives in your account’s Music folder on Mac and in My Documents/My Music/i Tunes on Windows.If you use a referenced library, it’s easy to forget that moving the original files to another folder or disk will confuse i Tunes because it expects them in the old locations.
This is a major issue when moving your library to a new computer or an external drive.
I find it easier to manage, copy, share and back up my media this way, so I’m using i Tunes in referenced library mode.