You’ve made a great playlist in iTunes and want to listen to it in the car or share the songs with a friend. What’s the best way to burn them onto a CD? Well, that all depends.
The first thing to note is that iTunes only lets you burn playlists. They can be smart playlists or regular ones. If you don’t need the playlist for anything other than burning the CD, you can delete it after you are done using it to burn the disc.
Using the “Burn Playlist to Disc” option, iTunes let you burn discs in three formats:
- Audio CD
- MP3 CD
- Data CD or DVD
An MP3 CD will only play in newer CD players that know how to read MP3 CDs. But if you have one of these players, burning an MP3 CD will let you fit more songs onto a disc than an Audio CD. How much you can fit will depend on numerous factors including which bit rate was used to record the songs. You should be able to get five hours of music. Possibly ten hours or more.
Here’s how to burn an MP3 CD.
If you try to burn an MP3 CD and some of the songs in the playlist are not in MP3 format, iTunes will warn you and give you the option of canceling or burning the CD with the songs that are in MP3 format.
BONUS TIP: You can try to convert non-MP3 files to MP3 format by selecting them and then choosing the “Create MP3 Version” option in the Advanced menu. This should work unless the file is a protected format. In that case, you’ll likely receive a message like “‘Song Name’ could not be converted because protected files cannot be converted to other formats.”
An Audio CD is the same format as a commercial music CD so it will play in almost any CD player. But since the songs are stored in an uncompressed format, most Audio CDs will fit at most 80 minutes of music.
Here’s how to burn an Audio CD.
Be sure to check the “Include CD Text” checkbox so that the track names can be displayed on CD players that support that (as many newer car radios do).
If you are sharing this Audio CD with someone else or are going to play it in a different computer, use the “Submit CD Track Names” option in the Advanced menu. This will upload the CD’s track information to a service that will let other computers see the track’s names, artists, genres, etc. Here’s how:
Data CD or DVD
Finally, to back up your music files regardless of file format, iTunes offers the “Data CD or DVD” option. Don’t expect a disc burned this way to work in anything besides a computer. It’s really just meant as a means for backing up your music collection, which is why it lets you also burn to a DVD, which holds more than six times as much as a CD.
So, to review, here are the pros and cons of each CD burning format:
|Audio CD||MP3 CD||Data CD or DVD|
|Readable by||Practically all CD players, computers||Newer CD players,
|Likely just computers|
|Capacity||74 or 80 minutes||varies,
|varies, 5-10+ hours (CD),
30-60+ hours (DVD)
|File formats||All converted to uncompressed audio||MP3 only||All|