Importing existing MP3 and WMA files into iTunes

Q: Is there software that will convert MP3 format to iTunes format? I had a Creative Labs ZEN Nomad Jukebox and my music library is in MP3 format and now I have just purchased an iPod and need to convert my songs to iPod format.

– Michael

A: There are a number of software applications, including iTunes itself, that can be used to convert MP3 files into iTunes’ default AAC format, but there is absolutely no reason you should do this. iTunes and the iPod fully support the MP3 format, so you should be able to use your existing MP3 music library without any conversion being required. In fact converting one lossy format to another is generally a bad idea as it will result in a loss in audio quality.

To use your existing MP3 files, you can simply import them into iTunes by dragging and dropping them into the iTunes window, or using the File, Add to Library menu options in iTunes.

Note that if you have Windows Media Audio (WMA) files in your music library, you will need to convert these before you can use them in iTunes. If you’re on a Windows computer, iTunes can handle this conversion for you automatically as long as they are not protected WMA files. Simply import them as you would any other file, and iTunes will convert them on-the-fly to your default format (MP3 or AAC), which you can set under iTunes’ Preferences, Advanced, Importing dialog box.

Keep in mind, however, that if these WMA files are from CDs that you ripped yourself,, then you are better off to simply import the original CD directly into iTunes as an MP3 or AAC file rather than converting the WMA file, since you will get a better quality result.

If you have protected WMA files in your collection, these cannot be converted directly due to the DRM protection. The only way around this is to burn these tracks to CD using Windows Media Player (assuming your DRM license permits this), and then re-rip the resulting CD as if it were any other audio CD.


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