Here’s how to load new music onto your iPod
So you got that new iPod for Christmas? Can't wait to transfer your music collection can you? It's not all that difficult to do--after all, millions of others have done so.
There are two main ways to stuff that iPod: You can buy music online from music services such as iTunes, MusicNow and Napster, or you can copy ("rip") songs from CDs into compressed audio files and then transfer them.
If you download songs online, you're going to need a broadband connection from cable or DSL. Your iPod comes with iTunes for Macintosh or Windows software, which makes it easy to manage this process .
Online music services have several advantages over buying physical CDs on the Web or at your local CD store. The most important are:
» Speed -- You get your music in seconds, rather than hours or days.
» Choice -- You buy the songs that you want. The other way, you have to pay for an entire CD just to get the one or two songs that you really want.
» Convenience -- You don't have to rip the CD and convert to MP3 or other standards. This can be very time consuming. In addition, the songs are already "groomed" with accurate album information such as song title, artist name, album name, etc.
Downloading songs is straightforward. For example, using Windows Media Player, just click the "Premium Services" button and then the MusicNow logo to install software and create a user account. You then simply search for music by criteria such as artist, album, or track (song) name. After you buy, the song is downloaded to your computer and added to your library.
Ripping is more tedious. Even under the best scenario, it takes anywhere from six to 10 minutes to rip each music CD. That doesn't include the time it takes to label or "groom" files -- which can take longer than actually ripping the CD.
So what's the solution?
Well, you could always hire a teenager to do the time consuming exercise of feeding discs into a computer. However this could take weeks! And would you trust a child to make sure your old C&K or Kalapana collection is properly groomed and stored?
Fortunately there are now commercial CD-ripping services that have popped up with the emergence of the iPod over the past few years. Some of the more popular include Ready to Play (readytoplay.com) Get Digital (getdigitalinc.com), and Slim Devices (slim-devices.com). If you send them your CDs, these outfits will rip your your music for anywhere from 75 cents to $2 per disc, then return the CDs several days later with DVDs that contain all your music.
Is letting a service rip your CD collection a perfect solution?
Well, there's always a chance they will mislabel one song or another. In other words, if you're a control freak, do it yourself. However, if your time is valuable, spending a few hundred dollars with a service will save weeks of hassle -- and provide backups of your collection as a bonus.
general manager of digital phone at Oceanic
Time Warner Cable, has been a telecommunications and computer expert for 25 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.