Burning MP3 CDs with AAC files


Q: I want to create an MP3 CD with several albums from my iTunes collection. I want them to be grouped as albums, so that my car (or stereo) Skip Album function works properly. iTunes seems to allow only one massive playlist to be burned (ie all songs from all albums). How do I go about burning a CD with distinguishable albums?

– Peter

A: How this works is going to depend largely upon your MP3 CD player. If your MP3 CD player can actually read MP3 tag information, the actual location of the files does not matter, as it will organize them based on the album names within the track metadata. In this case, an MP3 CD burned directly from iTunes should work without any problems, and if you’re unsure what method your MP3 CD player uses, it’s probably best to burn one and check it out if you haven’t done so already.

Unfortunately, if your MP3 player relies on a folder structure to organize tracks, it will be necessary to be a bit more creative, as iTunes does not provide any simple method for burning an MP3 CD with a specific directory structure. In this case, your best solution is to build a set of files outside of iTunes and then burn them to CD using another CD burning software. Fortunately, an MP3 is really just a normal data CD that happens to contain MP3 files, so there’s nothing particularly magical about its format and it can be authored in any CD burning application.

It’s a somewhat little-known tip, but to copy files out of iTunes you can just highlight a group of files and drag and drop them directly from iTunes into a folder of your choice. This method could be used effectively with Windows XP’s built-in CD burning capabilities:  Simply lay out a folder structure on the CD, set up your playlists and/or albums in iTunes, then drag and drop groups of MP3 tracks from iTunes directly into your predefined folder structure and burn the CD.


Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.