Getting Out of iTunes

Now that I have an Android phone taking the place of my iPod, I wanted to move all of my songs over to it. My CD’s are all ripped to MP3 already, so those came over pretty easily and an MP3 app called Phonograph seemed to handle them pretty well except for some of the double albums for which I needed to edit the tags for the disk number to play songs in the right order instead of playing Track 1 and the other Track 1. Not all players read the Disk tag, but Phonograph seems to. I was able to import a lot of the cover art either through Phonograph or another app that brought in the ones Phonograph didn’t catch.

I also have a lot of singles that I’ve downloaded. Some came from iTunes early on and then I switched to Amazon as much as possible since they let you download MP3’s instead of Apple’s proprietary protected format (.m4p). Eventually Apple switched to a new format (.m4a) which was maybe a little more open. I found out that with any of the m4a files I could convert them to mp3 in iTunes. So that was easy for a few songs I had bought lately including a bunch of songs by Postmodern Jukebox. When I first started buying iTunes, I would put them into a playlist and burn them to CD. I had 8 or so disks of songs. Once the songs were on CD, I could rip them to mp3 format. So most of the early songs I got from iTunes I had already ripped to MP3 and had wisely stored those in a folder of converted iTunes songs.

For the remaining songs, I thought there might be some way to easily convert them. I found an article that said if you removed the songs from iTunes, the songs would show up in the iTunes cloud and you could download them, this time in a more open format. And it seemed like I remember Apple offering some way of paying a little to upgrade songs to a better quality unprotected format, but I don’t think that’s available. I also looked for programs that might do the conversion, but I couldn’t find anything free that would do it, though the technique seems to be making a virtual CD on your computer and importing them. So I gave up on easy conversion.

Now it gets a little complicated because I had to go through all of my songs in iTunes and see which ones I had already converted. I eventually winnowed it down to about 80 songs. So I put those into 4 different playlists and burned each playlist to CD in iTunes. As soon as the CD was finished, iTunes asked if I wanted to import it. So I did that, which was nice because iTunes already knew all the song names and other tags.

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