Importing uncompressed music via Toast into iTunes

Q: I have a 40 GB iPod that is supposed to hold about 10,000 songs. I have loaded 852 songs from my CD collection into my iTunes library and it already says I have used 40.59 GB. How can that be?

What I have been doing is inserting CDs in my Mac and Toast pops up and automatically uses the web database to name the CD and its tracks. I then close Toast, open iTunes, then drag the audio CD (renamed, for example, “Abbey Road”).

So, how can only 852 songs (about 90 CDs) take up 40.59 GB?

– Joe

A: It seems that you have been “importing” your music in uncompressed format; you’re letting Toast name the CD and tracks, then just dragging the original, uncompressed music files from the CD to iTunes. Since a full audio CD takes up about 650 MB, the math works out; your 852 uncompressed songs would take up around 40 GB.

For obvious reasons, this isn’t the most efficient use of the iPod’s storage capacity. Instead, use iTunes to import your music and compress it; Apple uses 128 kbps (“CD-quality” in AAC format, near-CD quality in MP3 format) compression for 4-minute songs to calculate the 10,000 number.

Go to the System Preferences menu on your Mac, then click the CDs & DVDs icon. After the line that says “When you insert a music CD,” select iTunes from the popup menu. The next time you insert a CD in your Mac, iTunes will open. Click the Import button at the to6p left of the iTunes window to start importing your music.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.

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