These days I purchase most of my music from iTunes. I don't like rewarding Apple with 30% of the musician's pay, but... When we here in Canada want to be legit in our music acquisition and reward musicians for their hard work, we have little choice when it comes to downloading tunes.
After downloading a new album, I burn it to a CD. To do this in iTunes, you need to make a playlist of the downloaded music, right-click the playlist name, and then choose Burn to CD.
I burn new albums to CDs because of the visceral interaction missing from files. Music files on computers and our phones are hidden from view. I want to see and hold the musician's handiwork in my hands, insert it into the player, and then sit back in a darkened room to enjoy the aural experience that is the album.
While I adore the 12" magnificence of vinyl records, the 20-minute playing time is annoying. To get around this short duration during the vinyl era, I always recorded newly purchased records to TDK SA C-90 cassette tapes.
Recently, I bought a DVD player from a local thrift store. It was $12. It even included the remote control. (I could've saved 10% had I shopped a day earlier during Senior's Day.) The Onkyo DVD player, around $50 on eBay, looks handsome, but more importantly, plays back regular CDs and CDs burned as data CDs with MP3 files.
DVD players often do not explicitly state that they handle CDs, so I took a semi-gamble here. This particularly thrift store allows returns of electronic goods within two days.
Here's why this is great: a CD burned with MP3 files holds about 10 regular music CDs (which tend to be about an hour long) and about 15 records (which tend to be about 40 minutes long). The exact duration depends on the bitrate of the songs: higher quality, fewer songs.
The problem is this: how to burn a CD of MP3s from songs downloaded from iTunes. The short answer: you can't, because Apple adds anti-copying code to its music AAC files (which are in M4P format.). iTunes won't let you.
The good news: there is a workaround.
TIP Check the manual that came with your DVD/CD player. You might be surprised at the formats it supports.
In the case of this Onkyo unit, it plays back AAC-format M4A files, which is the format that iTunes uses. I can have iTunes burn long playlists to a CD or a DVD disc, and then play the music without going thru the steps I list below.
Android devices play AAC/M4A files directly.
How to MP3-ize iTunes Tunes
- Use iTunes to burn a playlist of the music to a CD. This action strips away the copy protection, and gives you a CD you can play in any CD player.
2. Use AnyBurn (or another utility) to convert the music on the CD to MP3 files on your computer.
3. Use Microsoft Media Player to burn the MP3 files to a new CD as a data disc.
Enjoy up to ten hours of music with your new long-playing CD or 24 hours with the DVD disc!
Many DVD and CD player support MP3 on data CDs, but not all. My 2009 car CD player does; my more recent Denon mini stereo system does not; my $12 Onkyo DVD player does. You'll just need to test out your music systems, for the cost of a CD.