Section 2.5. CD Covers and Printed Playlists

2.5. CD Covers and Printed Playlists

In versions of iTunes before 4.5, you had to do a lot of gymnastics just to make a nice-looking song list to tuck into the CD jewel case of a freshly burned disc. Not to make you relive any bad memories, or anything, but you had to export the playlist as a text file, import it into a word-processing program, format the type, and then, six hours later. Print . Nowadays, you just choose File Print, select a formatting option, and click the Print button.

The iTunes Print box is now full of choices:

  • You can print out a perfectly sized insert for a CD jewel case, complete with song list on one side and a miniature mosaic of all your album artwork on the other, as you can see in Figure 2-6. For a simpler CD insert, there's also a text-only option on a plain background. (If you opt for the CD jewel case, your resulting printout even comes with handy crop marks you can use to guide your X-Acto blade when trimming it down to size .)

  • If you want something simpler, select Song Listing from the pop-up menu for a plain vanilla list of tracks on the playlist.

  • The Album Listing option prints out a comprehensive list of all the original albums that you used when cherry-picking the songs for the playlist.

The Theme menu in the Print dialog box offers even more formatting fun, like adding User Ratings to a Song Listing sheet.

Tip: Want to use one of your own personal photos for the cover of your CD case? Just add artwork to a track (described on Section and then choose Edit Print Theme: Single Cover to place your own picture on the front.

Figure 2-6. With a playlist selected, go to File Print to call up the iTunes print box. Pick and click the Print format you desire , select a theme (single picture or a mosiac, plain old text, etc.), and click the Print button for hard-copy proof of your CD-mixing prowess.

2.6. Playing Songs Across a Network

If you've taken the trouble to set up a home network so your family can share a printer, an Internet connection, and so on, more treats await. With iTunes 4, you share songs and playlists with up to five networked computersMacs, PCs, or a mix of both. You could, for example, tap into your roommate's jazz collection without getting up from your desk, and she can sample the zydeco and tejano tunes from your World Beat playlists. The music you decide to share is streamed over the network to the other computer.

Note: In iTunes 4.0, you could even listen to music on Macs elsewhere on the Internet , as long as you knew their IP addresses (network addresses). It didn't take long for people to figure out how to exploit this feature and share music all over the Internet in sneaky ways that Apple had never intended.In response to hysterical phone calls from the record companies, Apple removed this feature (and the Advanced Connect to Shared Music command) in version 4.0.1 ad beyond. Now you can connect only to other machines on your own office network.

Figure 2-7. Top: The Sharing Preferences box lets you share as much of your music collection as you would like with other people on the same network. It also allows you to seek out music on other connected computers yourself. To share your music, you must first turn on the sharing feature and indicate what you want to put out there for others to sample.
Bottom: Once you've decided to share, your subnet pals can sample your collection right from their iTunes Source lists.

To check your Mac's subnet number, open System Preferences and click the Network icon. In Mac OS X 10.3 and later, double-click Built-In Ethernet, AirPort, or whatever line appears at the top of the summary list. You'll see your network info displayed, including the subnet mask.

2.6.2. Sharing Your Own Music

To "publish" your tunes to the network, choose iTunes Preferences and click the Sharing icon. Turn on "Share my music (see Figure 2-7 at top). You can choose to share your entire collection, or just selected playlists.

Tip: You can even share your tunes with another account holder who's logged into the same Mac simultaneously , using Mac OS X's fast user switching feature. You just have to make sure iTunes is open in both accounts.Sharing music can get a little wacky if the first account is already playing a song when you start playing a second one; you get both songs playing at once, with no way to turn off the first person's music from the second person's account. It's one way to get Elvis to duet with Usher, but probably not the most listenable.

Whatever you type in the Shared Name box in the Sharing preferences will show up in your friend's iTunes Source list. You can also require a password as a key to your own music librarya handy feature if you feel that your colleagues mooch off you quite enough in other areas of life.

You can share AAC, MP3, AIFF, WAV, Apple Lossless files, and radio station links with your network buddies , but not Audible or QuickTime files. And sharing means "streaming" here. You can listen to shared music, but you can't burn someone else's music files to a CD, copy them to an iPod, or add them to your own library.

Finally, remember that songs bought from the iTunes Music Store can play on a maximum of five machines. If you want to listen to such a song across the network, one that hasn't been authorized on your computer, you must first enter the Apple account name and user password that was used to purchase the song.

2.6.3. Listening to Someone Else's Tunes

Once they've been shared, other people's iTunes libraries generally appear right in your Source list, labeled with whatever name your benevolent buddies have chosen for the shared collection. (See Figure 2-6, bottom.)

Double-click the desired song to fire it up and play through your computer's speakers . (Type the password first, if your pal has set one up.)

Tip: Want to know if a certain song is shared? Select the title and press -I, or choose File Get Info. If the word "Remote appears next to Kind in the Summary area, you're looking at a shared file.

If the other person's tunes aren't showing up, choose iTunes Preferences and click the Sharing icon. In the preferences box (Figure 2-6), turn on "Look for shared music."

2.6.4. Turning Off Music Sharing

If you want a little privacy for your music collection, go back to the iTunes Preferences box (Figure 2-6) and click the Sharing icon. Turn off "Share my music" and click OK to disable the feature until the next time you're feeling generous. Your playlists are no longer visible to other people on the network.