How to import CD tracks to iTunes | iLounge Article


How to import CD tracks to iTunes

New to the world of iPod and digital music management?  What better way than to load all your audio CDs into iTunes and begin building your library.  This can be a daunting task if your collection is large, but worry not; Apple makes it easy, and iLounge is here to help. This is the first article in our new iPod 101 series to help our readers get familiar with basic functionality of the iPod and music management software. Today we start with iTunes for Mac or Windows.

First, make sure you’re running the latest version of iTunes for Mac OS X or Windows.  Chances are that the iPod you received shipped with an outdated version.  Bypass the Install CD entirely and download the latest version of iTunes from  Install it on your computer (Mac OS X or Windows XP, 2000), and follow the instructions below to begin building your song library.


First, we will set up the format you wish to import your music as.  Go to the “Edit” menu (“iTunes” menu on OS X), and select “Preferences…” Select the “Importing” tab.  Apple’s default preference is 128Kbps AAC encoding.  You may choose a higher bitrate to encode at if you wish; you will experience higher sound quality, but each song will take up more space, meaning you will be able to fit less music on your iPod.  While many agree that AAC offers superior quality over MP3 at equivalent bitrates, iTunes also allows you to choose MP3 encoding if you need greater compatibility with other players, people, and devices. 

The AIFF and WAV options are for special uses only. In most cases, you will not want to use these uncompressed audio codecs, because it creates very large file sizes.



Once you choose your encoding preferences, the rest is easy.  Insert an audio CD, and iTunes will attempt to retrieve the album and track titles from CDDB (an Internet database for such information).  Within a second or two, your album information is populated and the CD shows up in the “Source” column in the left of the window.

Double-check the track information listed and correct if needed… by single clicking on a text field twice.  You can batch edit the information for multiple tracks by shift-clicking or control-clicking to select multiple tracks, followed by a right click and “Get Info.”



Once your tracks are titled properly, click the “Import” button in the top right.  iTunes will take a few minutes to digitally encode (or “rip”) the tracks on the CD to your hard drive.

Once imported, your songs will appear in your “Library” (See “Source” column on left).  Unless you have selected other advanced options for iPod syncing, everything in this Library will be automatically synchronized to your iPod each time it is connected to your computer.

Get yourself a tall glass of [insert favorite beverage here], and repeat as needed.  Once your library has been fully digitized, you can start to truly enjoy your music through the features and simplicity of iTunes and the iPod.

Jerrod H. is a Forum Administrator and Contributing Editor for iLounge.

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Nicely put, know how to rip but have just got my ipod and was unsure of ripping options in itunes, thanx.

Posted by KEZ in TX on December 24, 2003 at 5:23 AM (CST)


Thanks for this article! Really needed to know how to do all this ripping stuff!! Only got mine yesterday, so christmas will be filled with new cd’s getting put onto the computer and the ipod!

Posted by Zvaan in TX on December 24, 2003 at 6:02 AM (CST)


I actually found that really usefull. thanks loads

Posted by fiona in TX on December 25, 2003 at 12:35 PM (CST)


Pretty useful article. I’m not very good w/ computers, but did figure out how to rip cd’s lol. But now i now how to change which bitrate I encode at :)

Posted by Syph in TX on December 27, 2003 at 5:41 AM (CST)


What iTunes for Windows??  My new iPod CD did not contain iTunes for Windows software.  It came with MusicMatch Jukebox which I have found to be rather difficult to understand and have not figured out how to copy more than one song at a time into the iPod itself.  I assume iTunes for Windows is better? Should I download this and get rid of the MusicMatch Jukebox and the Audible Manager?

Posted by MrBill in TX on December 27, 2003 at 8:09 PM (CST)


I have found iTunes to be much better than MMJB.  Check out the download link embedded in the article above.

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on December 27, 2003 at 9:10 PM (CST)


Thanx Jerrod for your article ! It has save my time.
After some comments above I realise I’m (was and will be for ever) an idiot and I should kill myself for this… but I don’t know technically how…
So I will hear my music instead.

Posted by Sansnom in TX on December 28, 2003 at 6:02 AM (CST)


all good but what if u cant get music on your ipod becouse of know where has the usb cable thing for ipod in stock

Posted by luke in TX on December 28, 2003 at 7:34 AM (CST)


A good article, but my problem is with getting music from ipod back onto the computer. Can someone tell me the download to use?

Posted by Chris in TX on December 28, 2003 at 10:18 AM (CST)


Check the “Downloads” section of iPodlounge, and look for “PodUtil.”

There are several others in the Download section of the website as well.

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on December 29, 2003 at 12:10 AM (CST)


I am having a very strange problem importing my CD’s into iTunes.  I put the CD in the drive, and iTunes recognizes the CD.  It then pulls up the track list from the Internet database, and it looks like it is ripping each of the tracks from the CD onto the hard drive.  But the process goes much too fast, and then when I go to look at the tracks on the hard drive (through iTunes), all of the tracks are listed, but with a track time of 0:00.  Of course, when I go to look at the actual file that was copied onto the hard disk it is way too small (all of the files are 51KB).  I have tried everything I can think of, but I can’t fix this problem.  (I know that the CD drive is fine, because when I try to rip the CD using another software program—like Windows Media Player—it rips just fine.)  Does anyone have a solution to this problem?

Posted by Larry S in TX on December 29, 2003 at 1:16 AM (CST)


Larry—you are hitting the “import” button aren’t you?

This is a nice little article—I’ve been iPoding since May and didn’t know you can edit the track before ripping…

Posted by P'ha in TX on December 29, 2003 at 9:44 AM (CST)



The only thing I can think of that might cause your problem is that QuickTime may not have installed properly.

When you install iTunes, it installs the latest version of QuickTime (6.5), which “secretly” handles the audio encoding for AAC (mp3 too???).

Try re-installing iTunes 4.2, make sure it completes fully and properly, and reboot when told to :-)

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on December 29, 2003 at 10:19 AM (CST)


There are a lot of comments on the Apple website about my problem:

For example,

I have traced the problem to the Samsung CD ROM drive (which came with my Dell computer).  Apple tech support has been completely unhelpful.  So, this afternoon, I took the path of least resistance and went out and spent $30 and bought a new CD ROM drive.  Now it is importing fine.

Posted by Larry S in TX on December 29, 2003 at 6:23 PM (CST)


Hi there

I already have some 11GB worth of songs in my ITunes library (for Windows). When I try to add MP3 files or whole album folders from my external Harddisc, ITunes uses-up the whole CPU and blocks/crashes. Does anyone have the same problem? or is my PC crap (Pent III, 512MB RAM, XP pro)?

tx - Pat

Posted by Pat in TX on December 30, 2003 at 7:09 AM (CST)



Audio CD does not appear in my Source list.  My PC is reading the CDs as it is possible to play them in Windows Media Player.

I don’t have the required USB/Firewire cable as yet but surely I can download my CDs onto iTunes in preparation?

Any suggestions?

Posted by Julie in TX on December 31, 2003 at 3:30 AM (CST)


wheres the best place to get free songs from?

Posted by ian in TX on December 31, 2003 at 6:22 AM (CST)

1 is a good p2p thing for free music (amongst other stuff). you have to ignore all the go pro! stuff and click on the really tiny link to download the free version. from there its plain sailing. (NOTE: i do not endorse the illegal downloading of music.) <——that shud deal with the RIAA or in england the crown copywrite people…

Posted by Bill Henderson in TX on January 1, 2004 at 5:29 AM (CST)


can you rip a cd without having to keep it in your library (in your hard drive on pc)and add to it other cd as you get them

Posted by mkratty in TX on January 1, 2004 at 9:03 AM (CST)


This might be a very silly question, and i apologise.  However, i got my iPod in Japan (which makes sense, since i live here), and the instruction manual is in Japanese, which i unfortunately can’t read.

Anyways, if i am reading correctly…when i hook up my iPod, it pulls in all the music currently in my iTunes library, yes?  Can i have it not do that?  i use my girlfriend’s mac, and she has an awful lot of music in her library, most of which i don’t want.

Anyways, yes, possibly a foolish question, but one i wanted to get sorted out before i start monkeying around with my new toy.

Posted by Chris, Waffle King in TX on January 1, 2004 at 6:56 PM (CST)

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