Section 1.3. Importing Other Music Files into iTunes


1.3. Importing Other Music Files into iTunes

Not all sound files come directly from the compact discs in your personal collection. As long as a file is in a format that iTunes can comprehend (MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Apple Lossless, or Audible), you can add it to the iTunes music library by any of several methods .

Figure 1-10. Select the file you'd like to add to your expanding iTunes library with the File Add File to Library command. In iTunes 4.8 and later, you can even import video files in the .mov or .mp4 formats and watch them right within your album artwork window. If you find the Fig Newtonsized screen too small, you can also watch videos in a separate window or in glorious full-screen view by clicking the full-screen icon at the bottom of the iTunes window (Section 4.6.1).


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
A Trip to the Library

Where exactly does iTunes store its music library on my computer's hard drive? Can I move the music library if my hard drive starts to get full ?

The music library is the program's personal database. It stores all of the songs you've imported into the program, as well as all of the playlists you created from those songs. This database file sits in your Home Music iTunes Music folder.

If you rudely drag the iTunes Music folder to a different place without telling iTunes, it will think the songs are gone. The next time you start the program, you'll find it empty. (While iTunes remains empty but calm, you may have heart palpitations as you picture your music collection vanishing in a puff of bytes.)

To move the iTunes Music folder to a new drive, just let the program know where you're putting it. Move the folder to the desired location, then choose iTunes Preferences and click the Advanced icon or tab. In the area labeled iTunes Music Folder Location, click the Change button, and navigate to the place where you moved the iTunes Music folder. Finally, click OK.

Exhale.



Note: The AAC format includes a copy-protection feature that MP3 doesn't have. Songs you buy from the iTunes Music Store and music encoded from your own CDs with iTunes work, but you may have trouble playing or moving other copy-protected AAC files (like those bought from, for example, LiquidAudio.com).
  • If menus are your thing, choose File Add File to Library. In the resulting dialog box (Figure 1-10), locate and click the file you wish to add, or -click several files to highlight them all at once. Click Choose to bring it, or them, into iTunes.

  • You can drag a file or folder full of sound files onto the iTunes icon on the Dock to add the music to the library.

  • You can also drag the files or folders straight into the iTunes window.

Now, when you read about iPhoto later in this book, you'll discover that dragging graphics into the iPhoto window from your hard drive creates a copy of them, which iPhoto stashes safely into its own private collection, deep within your Home folder.

Ordinarily, iTunes does the same with music files: When you drag one into its window, the program duplicates it, placing the copy into its own iTunes Music folder. That way, if you wind up moving or discarding the original during a frenzied cleanup binge, you won't return to iTunes to discover the song missing.

The copying business does, however, use up your hard-disk space faster, since every music file is getting doubled . Fortunately, you can override this behavior. Just choose iTunes Preferences, click the Advanced tab, and turn off "Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library."

From now on, iTunes will merely note the original locations of any music files you introduce, rather than making copies. If you move or delete those files, iTunes will no longer be able to track or play them.


Note: Don't have an iPod but still find yourself craving your iTunes tracks when you have to drag yourself away from the Mac? Thanks to a tidy deal between Apple and Motorola, you'll soon be able to download iTunes songs (including tracks you've purchased from the Music Store) to certain Motorola wireless phones by way of a Bluetooth or USB connection. The mobile-phone version of iTunes won't be available until the second half of 2005, but keep it in mind when you need to pick out that new cellphone.