Transferring MP3 files to new iTunes library

Q: Will MP3 discs burned from the music library on my daughters Mac (all ripped to the Mac from my store bought CDs) be able to be put into my Windows PC desktop, copied to its hard drive, and then downloaded to my new iPod classic? I spent weeks loading the CD’s into her Mac, and dont want to have to do each CD one by one again. Or alternatively, could I download the entire music library from her Mac to a portable hard drive, then upload it to my PC, then download it to my iPod?

– Bill

A: Essentially, yes. An MP3 file is a standard format that is supported by most media applications and hardware devices, and MP3 files imported from CD via iTunes are not significantly different from those created by any other application.

Further, the MP3 files created by iTunes normally include “tags” embedded within the file that identify such information as the song title, album, artist, genre, and so forth. When you import a CD into iTunes, this information is normally retrieved for the specific CD from a database on the Internet known as Gracenote CDDB. These tags travel with the MP3 files, so when you import them into a new iTunes library (or even many other software applications), the files themselves will show up properly labelled in the new library.

Moving the actual files themselves can be done via any normal method for moving files between computers. iTunes can be used to burn “MP3 CDs” or simply “Data CDs” directly—both options will work equally well for the purpose of transferring the files—or the files can be moved directly using an external hard drive or shared networking connection between the two computers.

Once the files are on the new computer, you can simply import them into iTunes using the File, Add File/Folder to Library menu options.