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 .
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).
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.