Hi Dave, I was looking at your site on how to download music onto a mp3 player. I am buying one for my friend for her birthday and didn’t want to get a really expensive one (she just wants it for when she runs) so I am looking at one other than iPod. I want to load it with music for her from cd’s (I have a lot) but don’t know how to do that. I have iTunes and I read how you can change the default to mp3…can I do that temporarily, then put it back for my ipod?
What a great question. I see this with remarkable frequency: Apple seems to have succeeded at teaching people that you need to use iTunes to add music to the iPod device, but most other vendors seem to think that you’ll wave a magic wand and music will just appear.
In fact, the magic application you need to use for non-Apple mp3 players is Windows Media Player. Does that exist on the Mac for people that might want to use, say, an RCA or Sandisc player on their Macintosh? Nope, you’re out of luck unless you want to run Windows on your Mac via Parallels or VMware Fusion.
Assuming you have a PC running Windows, however, you’ll find that Windows Media Player isn’t too hard to get going, and if you’re lucky, your PC configuration will be such that when you plug in the player WMP automatically launches.
If it doesn’t, you need to go to START -> All Programs and find Windows Media Player and most likely the first thing it’ll tell you is that there’s an update to a newer version of the player. You can update or
not, for this particular app I don’t think it’s a big deal.
Once you’re running the media player, it gets a bit complicated because not only are the lots of versions of WMP, but you can also have a “skin” applied. A skin is a different visual appearance to the program, and while many skins are basically different color schemes, there are also some that are radically different to the stock application interface and make it — you guessed it — hard to find things!
Generally, though, you should see a tab on the left side labeled “Copy to CD or Device” (or similar). That’s what you want. But not yet! Before you do that you need to rip (e.g. copy the data onto your hard disk) the music CDs you want to copy onto the player. And before you do that, you really should go into the preferences and make sure that you have it set to rip music into mp3 format, as it’s the most portable and is sure to be compatible with any player you have including an Apple iPod.
With Windows Media Player running, when you insert a music CD it should automatically ask if you want to rip it. Say “yes” and you can start building up your music library in preparation for copying it to the mp3 player. If you don’t see that option, choose “Copy from CD” on the left side tabs to get to the right place in the player.
Once you have all your favorites copied onto the computer from the individual music discs, you can then plug in the mp3 player, click on ‘Copy to CD or Device”, and drag and drop all the music out of your WMP library onto the gizmo.
(Now you can see why buying a half-dozen CDs from the iTunes store and having them automatically sync onto your iPod seems like such a simple solution)