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- Creating playlists, Smart playlists, and nested playlists
- Expanding a library across multiple hard drives
- Activating and using the Genius feature
- Setting up Home Sharing
- Understanding and utilizing the parental controls
Skill Level Beginner
Now let's take a look at how to burn your iTunes music and other content to a disc. With the advent of iPods, broadband and network sharing, there might not be as much call for burning discs today as there was a few years ago, but there may still be times when you want to create a custom CD of songs or videos. Maybe your car only has a CD player or maybe you want to mail some tunes or a video to friends overseas. Whatever the reason, it's a good idea to know how to burn a disc from iTunes and to be able to tell the difference between the types of discs you can burn and the different types of formats you can use. In this movie, we'll take a look at the three types of disc formats you can burn in iTunes.
To burn a disc, you need a computer with a drive that's capable of burning CDs, but with only a few exceptions, any computer manufacturer in the last several years should have one. You'll also need a blank CD or DVD. You can purchase those at any office supply store or online electronics retailer, and you'll need to create a playlist of songs you want to burn. Then last step is an absolute requirement. You must create a playlist in order to burn your content to a disc. I have this playlist here called Dinner Music. I'll just use that for this example. So, once you have your playlist created, you can begin the burning process by clicking Burn Disc in the lower right- hand corner or by right-clicking on the playlist and choosing Burn Playlist to Disc.
Either method opens up the Burn Settings window, and it's here where you determine what type of disc you want to burn. We have Audio CD, MP3 CD and Data CD or DVD. Now, there is a global menu at the top here, which is a Preferred Speed menu, and that's just a menu to determine how fast you want your disc to be burned. And it lists all the different speeds your computer's drive is capable of. The default is Maximum Possible, but there may be times when the blank discs you are using might be of lower quality and might fail to completely burn in high speed drives. If that's the case, you can try reducing the Preferred Speed and trying again with another disc.
But for the most part, you can leave Maximum Possible selected. As far as the Disc Format is go, choose Audio CD if you want to create a disc that's formatted identically to the music CDs you can purchase from stores and which will play in just about any standard CD player in your car or in a stereo. This is the format you choose when you want to create a CD that will play in all CD playing devices. The limitation to this format is that you can only have 74 minutes of music on the disc. Clicking at the bottom of my iTunes Window, I can see that this playlist is just over an hour long, so I'll have no problem fitting this on an Audio CD.
Now, when you burn your CD, your songs will play one after another, just like they do in the playlist. If you want to introduce a little more silence between the tracks, you can use the Gap Between Songs menu and select the amount of time you want. If you want no gaps, choose None or if you want some space between tracks, choose anywhere between one to five seconds of silence. We also have the ability to apply the Sound Check effect to our Audio CDs, which will make sure all the songs are played at relatively the same volume level. So, if you have a mix of songs that range from quiet to soft in terms of the ways they were recorded, you can even them out with this effect.
I tend to prefer not to apply any effects to my CDs, so I leave this off, but feel free to use it if you think you need it. We also have the option to Include CD Text, which is basically the information like song title, artist and album from the files you're burning. Some car and home CD players can read and display this information, so check this option if you have one of those players and want to be able to see the song info while the CD is playing. Once you've made your selections here, you click Burn. You're prompted to insert a blank disc. Now if you are burning an audio CD, you want to make sure to insert a CD-R disc.
You could try burning to a CD+R or another type of disc or like a CD-RW, which is a rewritable disc, but most regular CD players can only read CD-R discs so stick with that format for audio CDs. I am not actually going to burn a CD right now, so I'll just cancel by clicking the X button, and let's think of what other types of discs we can burn. I am going to go back and click Burn Disc again. The next option is an MP3 CD. An MP3 CD is a CD that can be played in many recently manufactured CD players that have been designed to read the MP3 format. Unlike the Audio CD format, which processes your audio files and it's limited to 74 minutes of music, the MP3 CD format allows you to just burn MP3 files as is to a disc, which allows you take advantage of the full capacity of the blank CD-R, about 650 MB, which amounts to around 12 hours worth of music.
If your playlist happens to be longer than that, iTunes will burn everything that fits on the CD and then it will ask you to insert another disc to burn the remainders and again this is using the same CD-R type disc an audio disc uses. Now, if you are planning on only playing your MP3 CD on computers, you can use a CD-RW or rewritable disc. Regular CD players can't play that format though, so only use CD-Rs if you intend to play your MP3 disc in a regular player. Now as its name implies, an MP3 CD can only contain MP3 formatted songs. If your playlist contains any songs in the AAC format or any other format, those songs won't be copied to the disc and iTunes will tell you as much when you try to burn the MP3 CD.
It will give you a list of all the songs that currently are not MP3s. So, you'll have to convert those songs into MP3s before you can burn them to an MP3 CD. The third format option here is Data CD or DVD. And this format is excellent for backing up or copying large numbers of files to a disc. This is a purely computer-based data format, meaning that the disc you're burning is not really meant to be played in any kind of music playing device. You are essentially using the disc as a storage device and the files in your playlist will be copied to the disc just as they are in whatever format they are in. Once the disc has been burned, you can insert it into any computer and then drag the files off of it to copy them to that computer.
I'd say this option is good for copying large numbers of files because you can use blank DVD-Rs, as well as regular CD-Rs. DVD-Rs hold about 4.5 gigabytes of data, so they are excellent for storing large amounts of files. So, those are the three formats of CDs you can choose. Now, if you are interested in backing up your iTunes library, the Data CD or DVD format is a good way to go but that still requires you to create playlists of the files you want to back up. If you want to back up a lot of items or even your entire library to multiple discs, let me cancel out of here, you should instead choose File > Library > Back Up to Disc.
This gives you the options to Back up your entire iTunes library and playlists, or Back up only iTunes Store purchases. Whichever one of those you choose, you also have the option to Only back up items added or changed since last back up, which is nice so you are not constantly copying the same files over and over again to multiple discs. Here you have a menu to select the speed you want to burn the discs at again. Again, I'll just choose Maximum Possible and once you click Next, iTunes will prompt you to insert a disc. It will fill up the CD or DVD to capacity and then continue asking for more discs until all the files have been copied.
If you have a large music library you are backing up, I highly suggest you select your Music Library and look at the total file size of all of your files down here in the bottom of the iTunes window. I am currently at 2.65 gigabytes. This will give you an idea of how many CDs or DVDs you'll need. So, 2.65 gigabytes is too large for a single CD, but that leaves me room to spare on a DVD-R. Now, the nice thing about using the File > Library > Back Up to Disc option to back up your files is that it not only burns just your files to these discs, it also burns all the information that iTunes uses to manage your files.
So, once these discs have been burned, if something happens to your computer's hard drive and you lose all of your music, if you have these backup discs once you get a fresh install of iTunes on your computer, when you put a backup disc back into your computer, iTunes will recognize it as an iTunes backup disc and then restore all of your files back to their original locations. So, if your intent for burning a CD is to back up your files, definitely use this option. So, those are your options for burning discs from iTunes 9.