Converting iTunes Library to mp3?
December 27, 2017 6:28 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to convert songs in an iTunes library (not purchased from iTunes) to an mp3 format to play on another non-Apple mp3 player?

We purchased a new Sony mp3 player for my father for Xmas (to replace his old iPod Touch). He has about 1800 songs in his iTunes library (but only abut 400 of these in mp3 format on his computer in a folder). He hasn't purchased any music on iTunes - so I am not worried about that - but he mostly ripped his CD library into iTunes over the years and these are the songs now in iTunes. Is there a way to convert these iTunes songs in his library to a mp3 format that I can now move to his new mp3 player?
posted by dbirchum to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:33 AM on December 27, 2017

Worth noting that many MP3 players also support AAC/M4A, which is the default iTunes format, so you might not have to re-encode the files at all.
posted by SansPoint at 7:46 AM on December 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

You didn't say which Sony MP3 player you have, but NW-E390 Series Sony Walkman® digital music players plays PCM*, AAC**, WMA*** and MP3 files

* PCM = pulse-code modulation, or uncompressed audio (generally .WAV files)
** AAC = Advanced Audio Coding, a proprietary standard that is generally associated with Apple's M4A files from iTunes, but it's also used by YouTube, PlayStation 3 and various Nokia Series 40 phones
*** WMA = Windows Media Audio, Microsoft's audio format, usually found with the .WMA extension

In other words, that Sony player likely supports M4A files natively, so you can save time and audio quality, because every time you convert a lossy format to another lossy format, you lose quality, kind of like the audio version of visual compression artifacts.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:25 AM on December 27, 2017

He can also generate mp3s using his iTunes -- see Convert a song to a different file format with iTunes at
posted by Rash at 9:30 AM on December 27, 2017

Agreeing with everyone above, before wasting your time and risking quality loss by converting everything to mp3, first test if your father's new player is capable of playing the existing files or not (it probably is).
posted by Bangaioh at 10:41 AM on December 27, 2017

Response by poster: Hi folks! Thanks for the replies.

We got him this one (and it appears to be able to play AAC files!).

How would one drag files from iTunes to this Sony unit? Can I physically drag them through iTunes - or do I find the iTunes music folder (I know there are several there).

Any quick tips? Thanks!!
posted by dbirchum at 7:25 AM on December 28, 2017

The first, and best step is to follow these steps to consolidate and organize your media library through iTunes. This will put all your iTunes files into one folder, organized by artist and album. You can then navigate to that folder and drag and drop from your file manager to the Sony Walkman. Make sure you keep the "Keep iTunes Media Folder Organized" checkbox on in the Advanced tab of iTunes settings, so that anything new that gets added is put into that folder and sorted properly.
posted by SansPoint at 9:19 AM on December 28, 2017

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