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chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

In Itunes, I want to convert a playlist of 200 songs from m4a to mp4 but don't want to have to struggle with creating the new playlist (ie, making a list of the songs and finding them in the library and dragging them into the new replacement playlist) or deleting the old m4a songs from the library (finding them and deleting them either by hunting them down or identifying the m4a duplicates and deleting them). 

I know I can convert them en masse within itunes but then I've got to hunt them down in the library to recreate the new playlist and delete the old m4as.


I can't seem to come up with a smooth way of doing that.  I thought I could drag them from itunes to my desktop, or even to a flash drive, but when I drag them back into itunes they don't come back in as mp3s but remain m4as (I did set the preferences import settings to mp3 so I don't know why that aspect doesn't work for me). 

Any suggestions for how to do this efficiently would be greatly appreciated.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8), my other computer is a Dell Dimension L500CX running Windows XP
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (45,400 points)

    Sometimes it helps to know your ultimate goal in case you're going about things all wrong.


    iTunes: How to convert a song to a different file format - - including information about different formats and discussion about compression.


    In iTunes11: File > Create New Version


    You can do some isolation through looking at Recently Added playlist and sorting a playlist by Kind.

  • chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your reply.  I know how to convert, which I can do for the playlist en masse.  The problem is that the converted files do not appear in the original playlist, they just show up in the library - so I have to hunt them down to put them in a playlist - that's cumbersome for 200 songs.  If I could make the conversions appear in a playlist, that would solve the problem.  My goal is for the conversions to end up in a playlist, and then to be able to delete the old files.


    I still don't know why my imported files don't appear as mp3 since I changed the import preference to mp3.



  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (45,400 points)

    There's a difference between importing and converting.  Are you converting or just adding the files back to your iTunes collection again?


    I think "kind" for mp3s is a bit confusing.  They get reported as MPEG.


    I don't know if the Dougscripts web site has a script for doing what you want.  Dougscripts - - Many itunes scripts

  • chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, and thanks again for your input.  I will do whatever works.  Conversion works fine to convert, but then I have to hunt down each of the 200 newly converted songs to recreate the playlist of mp3s, and then hunt down each of the old files in the library to delete them. 


    So I tried to figure out another way to do it.  It occured to me that if I exported the songs and then re-imported them, then they would be imported as mp3s due to the preference setting in Itunes, but I can't make that happen (they come back in as m4a).  If I could, I thought I could just import (drag them in) to a new playlist and then I could delete the old playlist - allthough the problem then would be that the old playlist songs would still be in the library, but I think I read where I could do something like option delete (from within the old playlist) to actually remove the files from the library.  Then I wouldn't have to hunt for the old songs.


    My ignorance is due to my not using the proper terminology.  I just saw the suffix is mp3 so I figured people would know what I meant.  Same for m4a which probably also has a more correct term than that.


    Thanks for the reference to Doug's scripts - there's a lot of them there. If I can find a way to contact Doug, I will ask him if he has a script that will do it.

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (45,400 points)

    Use the convert feature (as referenced earlier) to convert the files to mp3.  Go to your Recently Added folder and look for the last 200 or so files created (you can see their added time and date), check in the kind column they are all mp3s.  Drag that part of hte Recently Added playlist to a new playlist.


    Dragging files in and out of iTunes does not convert.  It leaves them in whatever format they are in.

  • chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey, this sounds like it could work.  Do you have a trick for deleting the m4a playlist (the old songs) from the library?  Is there a way to delete the song from the libray from within the playlist?  If so, I think you've told me how to accomplish my goal as that would keep me from having to find each of the 200 songs in the library.


    By the way, if dragging a file into Itunes will not convert it, is there a way to import a song so that it will convert and directly into a playlist?


    Thanks again.

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (45,400 points)

    The only way I know of to import and convert at the same time is when ripping a CD.  Otherwise import brings in the file as-is.  Sometime I will use a third party tool to convert first, then just add the converted version to iTunes.  If it's starting off already in iTunes then you might as well use iTunes.


    I use an old iTunes but I use command+option+delete to immediately and without warning delete tracks from iTunes completely.  I think variants of this without the option or perhaps the command key will still get you a warning (I don't want to test it on a file ).  I do this from playlists all the time.  Warning though.  With my setup it does not delete the file from my computer, but I think the warning message asks you if you also want to delete the file too, so you might want to test it on a few junk files first until you find exactly how it behaves under your configuration.  I manually manage my media so iTunes behaves slightly differently in this regard.

  • chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Limnos, you are amazing.  Thanks so much for helping me with this.  It all worked just as you described.


    However, I ran into a related issue I didn't anticipate.  Since I'm converting my playlist to mp3 so that I can burn a CD with lots of songs, I want to burn the CD with the songs shuffled.  I haven't been able to find a way to do this that worked for me.  I tried selecting different fields and sorting on them but a bunch of songs my the same artist/album/name always end up lumped together.  Do you know any tricks for shuffling the playlist so that I can burn a CD with the shuffled order retained?  Thanks again.

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (45,400 points)

    I have never used shuffle so I don't know its properties.  You could try sorting by track order to end up with things fairly mixed up, then right click and copy to play order.


    iTunes: How to set the play order of songs on an MP3 CD -

  • chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Limnos, thanks again for your response.  I had sorted by track number which works well except for those with no track number, so all those by the same artist get lumped together.  However, I see where I can add track numbers if I choose to do the work.  Not sure what you meant by "then right click and copy to play order".  If I R-click and copy, nothing happens (I suppose it just makes a copy I can past somewhere, but what do I do with that?).


    But, and this is the big but, according to the link you gave me, the mp3 cd is not going to play in the order of the playlist anyway:  "Most CD players that can play MP3 CDs play songs in alphabetical order. This means that the play order is according to song title, and not according to the track order on an Audio CD, or the song order in your iTunes playlists."  If this is true, I don't see the point in trying to simulate a shuffle of the playlist when the mp3 cd isn't going to play back in the playlist order anyway.


    As usual, any more of your wisdom is greatly appreciated.

  • chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    OK, I now see how to "copy to play order".  I guess I hadn't reordered first so that option did not appear.  So the question is, once I've invoked the "copy to play order" option, will the playlist burn to an mp3 cd in the order in which the playlist is displayed in itunes, or will it still burn/play back in alphabetical order once the CD is burned as indicated in the link you gave me?  Thanks again.

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (45,400 points)

    You will have to see how your intended mp3 player works.  We have a Sansa Clip and it plays according to standard album structure, track numbers.  I think my RCA Pearl does the same.  An unsophisticated player may simple play by filename.  I think all our CD players at home are too old to do mp3.  My car is 33 years old and doesn't even have a cassette player!


    I should have been more clear.  If you sort by track order and are semi-content with the order, right click on the playlist name and it will set the order you see to the actual play order for the playlist.  That's the order you see when you use the manual sort column on the far left (no header name).  If you sort by other columns it simply displays by that column's sort feature.  For that matter, it's up to you, you could even randomly drag tracks around to do your own shuffle, or at least those that have bunched together by artist.

  • chrigb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Limnos, I'm ready to give it a whirl.  Does it have an 8-track?!

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (45,400 points)

    Okay, I read that document to which I gave you a link.  It seems what iTunes appears to do is upon burning it structures the naming of the files and folders so the tracks or whatever appear in alphabetical order on the CD.  In the first example which is probably closest to what you are wanting to do, it adds a number to the beginnning of each file name so when the stupid player looks at the first file, even if it is song ZZZ by artist YYY it starts with 01 and appears first in alphabetical-numeric order and plays it first.


    In general no files are "on" a CD in a particular order.  The order is always determined by how they are displayed in the software used to view them.  You can control the order as seen in the standard name view by renaming files so they appear in that order.


    All that said, I have never had need to burn a mp3 CD so I'm just interpreting what I read.

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