MacMost Now 715: Creating Mix Tapes With iTunes

Learn how to make playlists of your favorite songs and share them with friends. You can burn various types of CDs. You can also share your playlist online with friends using Ping, or gift a whole custom-made album of music to a friend.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 715: Creating Mix Tapes With iTunes.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at different ways you can use iTunes to create mix tapes.

So back when I was growing up mixed tapes were an important part of making friendships and dating. It was important to share the music that you loved with the people you knew. And to do that you would use cassette tapes and create mixed tapes of your favorite songs or of songs that somehow defined your relationship with another person. Now that cassette tapes are gone of course you have to use digital forms of mixed tapes. iTunes lets you create mixes of music in various different ways. Let's take a look at some ways to do it.

So, here we are in iTunes and here is a sample music collection that I have got. Now I have all these songs from my music library and I want to create a mixed tape to share with somebody. First thing I need to do is to create a playlist. A playlist is kind of like a mixed tape. I can do that in several ways. I will go to file and create new playlist and create this playlist and call it mixed tape and put it right there. It is empty. To add songs to it all I need to do is to drag and drop songs from my music library to the mixed tape right there. So I'll pick a few songs here that will serve as a sample mixed tape. I will click on mixed tape and I have four songs by four different artists in there. So the next thing you want to do is to set the order for the songs. Now in a playlist they are going to be in the order that you added them. You can see the number one to four there. I can change the order by dragging and dropping so I can move this song down one like that and you can see that the numbers stay 1, 2, 3, 4. I can also sort them by clicking on any of the things here at the top, I can sort them by name or by artist, date added, things like that. If I click on the top of the first column they will be put back in the order that I last arranged them. So starting with the order that I added them, then I made a change there. It is probably the order that you want and you can arrange them as you want. It is very important to have them in the order you want because as you burn CD's this is the order that they will be in.

Now what can you do to give this to a friend. One of the things you can do is to create a CD. So if you have a Mac that has an optical drive then you can insert a blank CD and burn this in one of three different ways. So let's go to file and burn playlist to a disc. I have the playlist selected here so it knows which playlist I am talking about. Then I have several options. You can tap audio CD, MP3 CD, or Data CD. Now audio CD is going to burn a standard audio CD. The advantage of this is that it will work on any CD player. A car CD player, portable CD player, home stereo CD player. It is the original CD technology from the 80's. The disadvantage is the length of the CD. For audio you really can't put much on it. You can store between 74 and 80 minutes of music onto an audio CD. But it's universal so it is very nice that you can do this and if it is a short mixed tape you can give it to anybody. A MP3 CD is going to actually put the files on there as MP3 files and this is great because you can put a ton, hundreds of MP3's on a CD. So doing it that way is great. And Data will simply burn a data CD that won't actually be playable in most CD players but if the person is just going to get to play it on a computer they will be able to play it on a Mac or PC.

So a few thing before you decide which one you want to burn is that you want to look at the length of your mixed tape. At the bottom of the window here you will see the four songs, how many minutes it has and what the size is. So if you are burning an audio CD you want to make sure that it is under the size of your audio CD. So if the CD you bought is 74 minutes you want to make sure this is less than 74 minutes. If you are burning a MP3 or a data CD you want to make sure that the size here is something that can fit on here as well.

Another thing is that if you are burning a MP3 CD you can only use MP3 files. So these are probably all MP3 files here. But if they are not you can control click on them and see where it says "Create AAC Version". Well if I go into iTunes preferences and in there I do import settings right there and I switch to MP3 Encoder and I set the quality amount, then when I control click on a song that is not a MP3 song it will say create a MP3 version. You can actually select all of yours and create MP3 version. So before you even get to the playlist stage or just after you create your playlist you want to create your MP3 files if you actually want to use an MP3 CD and you may actually have to recreate your playlist with the MP3 versions you create as opposed to these which may be AAC or some other format.

Now there are some other ways that you can share this. If you go to store and you can see that there is a share playlist option. So let's go to that and you can see that it gives you two options; gift and publish. So let's look at publish. I click on publish and I am signed into my iTunes account. It is going to put the four songs here in a list and it's going to allow me to name this published list and enter a description for it. When I am done with that I can hit publish. Then I end up with this mixed tape here as a published list on Ping. So what I can do from this point is to post this playlist on Ping and in this case I am not using Ping but if I was I can post it and there would actually be this published list that people could access and decide to buy the entire playlist. So if you are using Apple's free Ping service you could try that out. It is not quite a mixed tape because you are asking the other person to buy the music but it is still a great way to maybe share a playlist with your friends perhaps they already own these songs or just want to see what it is you like to listen to.

Now the other options here is to "gift" the list. What happens here is that you look in the iTunes Store first and make sure that all the songs are available in iTunes. In this case they are. If they are not all available then it will tell you. Then you can actually title and put your name, recipients name, their email address and a personal message about this. You are actually going to here buy all of the music and gift complete playlist, like your own album, to this person and they will get an email or you can actually choose to print it out and they will get a code that they can use to redeem and using that code or using the link in the email they will actually be able to get all of these songs from the iTunes Store and they will be added to their iTunes collection.

Now there is the questions of legalities. Is it legal to create a mixed tape, an audio CD or a MP3 CD and to give it to a friend? That is a question for lawyers and certainly it is the same question that came about with mixed tapes in the 80's. Now for purchasing this and giving it as a gift that makes perfect sense and there is no legal issues there.

One other thing I want to show you is you can control click and right click on the playlist and go to export and there you can export the playlist. Now what happens when you export the playlist. Well you end up with a text file;let's put that on the desktop and this is what you get. Basically a tabbed limited file that includes all the information about all the tracks in the playlist. So this can come in handy if you want to print out a list of the songs and you want to have a quick way to do it instead of typing out the song names. Another way to do it is to select all here and click edit copy, command C, and then if we go to text edit here and we paste it in we get a shorter easier to edit list with the artist and song names.

So there is a look at how to create some modern day mixed tapes using iTunes. You can also use it to create things for yourself. For instance an audio CD that contains songs that you can listen to in your car.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 3 Responses to “MacMost Now 715: Creating Mix Tapes With iTunes”

    7 years ago

    Hey Gary,
    I like this video but let me make a recommendation. As opposed to just creating a playlist and calling it a “mixed tape,” I’d suggest to getting either one of two free softwares and manipulating the tracks: Audacity or VirtualDJ. There you can bring tracks in and out, add reverb, remove the vocals, highlight the bass, etc. You can then import the final mix in any format that you want– mp3 or aac being the least attractive.

    You can also bring your own cd songs into iTunes as a Wave or Apple Lossless file– that sounds so much better than those file compression formats you mentioned– and, they can be burned on to a regular cd.

    7 years ago

    When creating an MP3 audio CD, you mention needing to rebuild your playlist if your source material is not MP3, (such as music purchased from iTunes).

    Here’s what I do when I want to create an MP3 CD with music I bought from iTunes (from playlists that are longer than an audio CD length):

    I create a playlist using the files purchased from iTunes, then create a smart playlist with a rule to only look at MP3 files that were added today, (Kind is “MPEG audio file” – Date Added is today’s date, which is the default)

    Go back to your first playlist, choose all the songs, right click, choose “create MP3 version”. It will then convert all songs and convert them in the correct order and add them in that order to your MP3 Smart Playlist.

    After you burn your MP3 CD, you can then choose to just delete your duplicate MP3 files, if you like, (sort your entire library by “date added” and all the converted files are at the top).

    My car stereo has no AUX jack, but does play MP3 CDs. This process is a great way to listen to my iTunes music when I’m in the car.

    Ray Highfill
    7 years ago

    I would mention the print CD Cover option after creating a music cd also.

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