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iTunes, playlists, and MP3 burning Apps
People (like me) who don't have $400 to shell out for an iPod may find MP3 CD players a convenient alternative. The nice thing about playing MP3 CDs is that you just create a bunch of folders on a CD-R or CD-RW, and the MP3 CD player can differentiate between the MP3s in each folder. The nifty feature in iTunes' is that directories will be created on the disc based on how the playlist is sorted in iTunes at the time of burning. Read the rest of this article to see a couple examples, and some pictures...

Note: Make sure you have chosen to burn an mp3 CD rather than an audio CD in iTunes' preferences.
  1. Create a new iTunes playlist no larger than 666.6 MB (iTunes CD burning limit)
  2. Sort the playlist by Artist (click on the "Artist" column)
  3. Click the "Burn CD" button
  4. Insert a blank CD into your CD-RW drive
  5. Click the "Burn CD" button again to burn the CD. Result: iTunes burns the playlist as individual MP3 files which are contained within ordered folder names of their respective artist (either ascending or descending, depending on which sort method you have selected). This is similar to the iPod's feature of being able to listen to all songs by one particular artist at a time. See Image One for a picture of how this looks in the Finder.

  6. If you repeat the above steps, but instead sort by "Album", folders will be created on the CD based on the Album title. This is extremely useful for copying several albums worth of mp3s onto a disc while still allowing individual albums to be listened to individually. Taken one step further, and depending on the features of your MP3 CD player (what types of shuffling and manual programming it allows), you could then constrain shuffling to one or more of the individual albums on that CD. See Image Two for a screenshot of this sort in the Finder.
This hint works in iTunes 2.0.4 and OS X 10.1.5 for me. I have not tested it on other systems. It assumes you have a CD burner, too.
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iTunes, playlists, and MP3 burning | 5 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: rusto on Jul 15, '02 12:24:26PM

Worked great on my RioVolt SP250!!

[ Reply to This | # ]
I am cheap :)
Authored by: kjackson on Jul 15, '02 03:43:35PM

I am so cheap that I never have used iTunes for making an MP3 CD!

It is not documented anywhere in the iTunes help how the resulting MP3 CD is organized. So, I have never bothered to use this feature of iTunes for fear of wasting my precious CD-R's. :)

Thank you for this useful information!

A few more questions though for someone who already burnt MP3 CD's in iTunes with blind faith...

What is the directory organization like for user sorted playlists?
What does iTunes name the files on such a CD?
Does iTunes truncate long file names? (My MP3 CD player does not like file names with more than 64 characters)

[ Reply to This | # ]
AppleScript Tricks
Authored by: DougAdams on Jul 15, '02 07:47:15PM
Here's an article I wrote describing how to trick iTunes into burning an MP3 CD by Genre rather than Album by using AppleScript. Doug Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes Doug's Message Board

[ Reply to This | # ]
AppleScript Tricks
Authored by: jmil on Jul 16, '02 11:54:24AM

couldn't you just sort a playlist by genre, and then click burn cd? does this not work? If "Genre" isn't displayed in a particular playlist, just go Edit->View Options (command-J). Check the "Genre" box, to make it visible, then you should be able to burn a cd sorted by genre, right? Has anyone tried this?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Apple Documentation
Authored by: DougAdams on Jul 15, '02 07:51:34PM