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CD to MP3 conversion is simple

January 1, 2004

in All Articles,Audio

A respected friend told me he tries never to pay for work he could do himself. Don’t know how? Learn. If the tools are affordable, get them. You’ll save money long term, and be better prepared for new adventures. Now, my friend and I were talking about cars, but this philosophy applies beyond the greasy, smelly world of oil changes and brake jobs. It applies to subjects as varied as home repair, taxes, and yes, computers.

Case in point is converting your CD collection to MP3 files. There are many advantages: You can fit over 1000 MP3 songs on a single DVD, and with the right equipment, these can call be played on a home theater, computer, iPOD or other MP3 player.

There are conversion services available. They call the transfer process “digital dirty work”, a “headache”, and your results are conveniently “organized by artist and album”. Sounds pretty handy, and the $130 cost for converting 100 of your CDs to MP3 can’t be beat!

Sorry, got caught up in the marketing. Actually, the cost can easily be beat. And the conversion process is incredibly simple. If there’s anyone afraid of converting their entire music collection, take a deep breath and relax. And put away the credit card. Converting CDs to MP3s is easy. And most definitely free.

Go to, download the free iTunes software and install it. Congratulations, you’re past the hard part. The rest is even simpler:

1) Open iTunes, and click the “Edit” menu. Click on “Preferences”. Then click the “Advanced” tab, and then “Importing”. You’ll see something similar to the picture below (this is current as of iTunes

2) Change the option for “On CD Insert” to read “Import Songs and Eject”.

3) Click the “Importing” tab, and change the option for “Import using” to read “MP3 encoder”.

4) Click the “OK” button.

From now on, whenever you stick a CD in your computer with iTunes running at the same time, iTunes will detect the CD, convert every song to MP3, save them on your computer, and eject the CD when completed. These files can be played on most computers and MP3 players.

It took my PC about 10 minutes to covert one 72-minute CD with 21 songs. Repeat this for each CD in your music collection: Insert a CD, wait for it to be ejected, and insert a new one. Same process you’d pay a service to do.

iTunes can also sort your music collection by artist, album, genre, and twenty other statistics. Use it to listen to your music, or create custom “playlists”. These are song categories you create, like “romantic wedding tunes” or “snazzy guitar solos”. The results are far beyond what you’d get from the pay-for-conversion services.

CD to MP3 conversion services sound handy. But to put it politely, they’re a massive cost for something incredibly simple. Don’t pay money for something you can do yourself. At the very least, don’t let people remove you from your money without at least trying to stop them first. It’s easier than you think.

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