Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing from a CD, part of iTunes 9 Essential Training.
Let's take a look at how we import music from an audio CD into our iTunes library. Before we do, I want to recommend that before you insert a CD into your computer, you make sure you're connected to the Internet. As I mentioned in the previous movie, iTunes is going to take a look at the CD you insert and connect to the CDDB or CD database online and try to figure out what CD you just inserted into your computer. In that way, it will automatically add the artist name, song title, name of the album and oftentimes the genre and other information as well. That way you won't have to enter all that information manually. If you're on a computer without an Internet connection or if iTunes can't find your CD's information, I'll be showing you how to manually enter information in the next movie.
Now for the purposes of this exercise, I'm going to go to iTunes > Preferences. Again, Edit > Preference if you're on Windows. Under General, I'm going to set my preferences to, when I insert a CD, I'm going to say Show CD, which will just display the CD and its contents in iTunes without automatically importing it. You might want to choose a different preference here when you're importing your own CDs, but in this case, I just want to talk a little bit about some options before we actually import music. We're also going to make sure that Automatically retrieve CD track names from Internet is still checked. That way iTunes will try to identify the CD for me. So I click OK.
Let's insert a CD. So the CD is in and for a second in the top display, iTunes was accessing the CDDB to locate the CD's information. Now we can see that iTunes has correctly recognized a CD as The Light by the band Kelly's Lot. You can see the CD now appears with its proper title under Devices in my Source pane. In the main part of the window, you can see the song titles, their durations, artist name, album name and genre. Now you may see more or fewer categories in your own copy of iTunes here, depending on how you have your preferences set.
Now, if I weren't connected to the Internet or I had that option to check for the CD information unchecked in Preferences, all I would see here right now would be track 1, track 2, track 3 and so on, all the way to track 10 and there would be no other information in here except the duration of each track. Then I would have to go in and type all the other information myself. But for the most part, if you're importing a major label artist's CD or even a semi-popular independent artist, chances are that iTunes will be able to grab the correct information from the CDDB. Even if you're into some really far-out lesser-known band, chances are someone out there has probably already entered that info into the CDDB and it will show up in iTunes.
Now at this point, I have not yet imported the CD. I can see the CD as a source under Devices and it has the CD icon next to it, so you know it's a CD. I can play it directly from here by clicking the Play button or double-clicking a track. (Music Playing) Which is nice if you just want to play a CD but not import it. But I do want to be able to play this album without having to insert it into my computer each time. So that's why we import our music. To import a CD, just make sure it's selected in the Source pane and then you can click the Import CD button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.
That will import every single track on the CD. Now if you only want a few songs off the CD, you can just uncheck the ones you don't want. The quick tip here is if you hold down the Command key on the Mac or Ctrl on Windows and you click a checkbox, you'll be able to check and uncheck every track all at once. So if you only wanted to say two tracks of a 30-track CD, you can Command+Click or Ctrl+Click to uncheck them all and then just check the two tracks that you want, rather than having to uncheck 28 different tracks. But for this example, I do want to keep everything checked, so I just Command+Click again.
Before you import, you also have easy access to your Import Settings without having to go to Preferences just by clicking the Import Settings button. So you can see the same options we discussed here in the previous movie, so if you want to make any changes to your encoding settings, you can do so here. I'm going to leave mine set to my AAC Encoder set to iTunes Plus and now I'll click Import CD to import the CD in its entirety. You can see in the top-center display that it's now importing a song Drive, telling me how much time remains for to do so and at what speed it's reading the track.
Again, iTunes is using the Import Settings I selected, so it's converting these tracks into AAC files. Tracks that have been imported have a green checkmark next to them and tracks that are being processed have this orange moving icon. If I select my Music Library, let me switch to my List view here, I see the songs that have already been imported and the song which is currently being processed is grayed out. As soon as it appears ungrayed out, I can play it. (Music playing.) Now since I played a bit of the song, the center display is now showing me where I paused that song.
If I want to check on the progress of my import, I can either select the CD in my Source pane again, or if I'm in my Music Library, I can just click the little triangle button in the center display until I see the import status appear again. This is also where you can cancel importing the CD by clicking the X button on the opposite side of the display, which you can also do with the CD selected in the Source pane. You still have access to that X button and that's just in case you accidentally click the Import CD button, which does happen from time to time, at least to me. So let's just let the CD continue to import.
The time it takes depends on the length of the CD, your computer's processing power and the speed your disk drive. But iTunes will eventually import the entire CD. Another nice thing worth mentioning here is that once iTunes has recognized the CD track names and other info, iTunes will actually remember that information the next time you insert the CD and it won't try to connect to the CDDB again. Now that the import is done, I can eject the CD by clicking the Eject button next to it in the Source pane. You can also eject the CD using the Eject button on your keyboard if you have one or by ejecting it from the Finder like any other CD if you're on a Mac.
If you're on Windows, just press the Eject button on your CD drive. So the CD has been ejected and iTunes now displays my music library. Here are the songs that I just imported. Really, it's very easy to do. Just insert the CD and if your Import Settings are the way you want them to be, just click Import CD in the lower right- hand corner and let iTunes do the rest.
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