Q: I would like to make a few simple edits to a few songs in iTunes to make them more “radio edit” like. That is, on some songs I would like to chop off the first 10 to 20 seconds of an unusual introduction, and on others, I’d like to remove some of the final seconds.
I don’t believe that iTunes can edit audio like this, but maybe there is some other inexpensive add-on software that can?
A: You’re right that iTunes can’t destructively edit audio files, but what you’d like to do is actually very easy to accomplish in a non-destructive manner from within iTunes’ own interface.
Essentially, iTunes allows you to select, on a per-song basis, where to start and stop playing a track. This doesn’t actually shorten the file itself (and thus doesn’t save you any hard drive space), but the setting does transfer to the iPod, making it incredibly useful in many situations.
For example, we once downloaded the BBC’s free series of all nine Beethoven Symphonies. Although we found them to be a wonderful set of recordings, we didn’t need to listen to the minute-long introductory narratives (or the concluding applause) each time we played the tracks. Not wanting to delete them forever, however, we simply told iTunes to start and stop the track at the appropriate points.
- Choose a file in iTunes, and select it.
- Choose “Get Info” from iTunes’ “File” menu, and navigate to the “Options” panel.
- Check the boxes next to “Start Time” and “Stop Time”, and enter the time values where you’d like to start and stop playing the song. This will define new start and stop points, without harming the file itself.
- Click “OK” to save the settings.
To remove the setting, simply uncheck the boxes!
Note: To edit the file permanently (saving file space in the process), you will need to use an external editor such as QuickTime Pro.
Here, the permanent clipping is almost as easy as non-destructive clipping in iTunes: Simply move the selection tabs to the portion of the file you’d like to keep, and choose “Trim to Selection” from QuickTime’s “Edit” menu, save changes, and re-import the file into your iTunes Library.
(Update: Actually, a reader has noted that you can simply use the “Convert this file to…” command in iTunes’ “Advanced” menu to create a new copy of the song with the intro/outro material removed as per your settings above, without the need for Apple’s $29 QuickTime Pro. Neat tip!)