And Keep Some of the Tags!
Update: I have just finished creating a GUI front-end for the conversion program described below. This new program can be installed easily through a package and should be easier to use, so I suggest you follow this link and try the directions there first.
I love iTunes. It was the first web retailer to sell music from the major labels with no DRM. On the night that iTunes Plus first became available, I stayed up late, trying to find some albums that I wanted, just because I wanted to see the folks at iTunes and EMI rewarded monetarily, and wanted to do my bit. Of course, iTunes Plus music comes in non-DRM-encumbered M4A format, which doesn’t play on many portable MP3 players, and doesn’t play very well on others.
There are plenty of posts describing how to convert M4A files to MP3, but most of them completely ignore the information about the artist, album, and so on embedded in the file as tags. I don’t know about you, but I think tags are important. I don’t want to sift through 500 tracks named “unknown” on my MP3 player.
The program that I’ve created will convert a directory full of M4A files to MP3, preserving the artist, album, song name and track number tags. Hopefully this should be enough to play a whole album, in its proper order, with no confusion.
These instructions are specifically for Ubuntu 7.10, but should work on other distros with some modifications.
The first step is to install some required libraries. Open a terminal and type:
sudo apt-get install id3v2 mplayer lame python-mutagen
Next download my program here, and extract it. Suppose that your iTunes music is in “/home/youruser/itunes”. In your terminal, go to the directory where you extracted the program and enter this command:
The original files will be left untouched, and new MP3s should be put into a new directory called “/home/youruser/itunes_mp3”. If you have any problems, don’t feel bad about leaving a comment asking for help. In fact, even if you don’t need help, maybe you could just leave a comment anyway. It would be the first comment I’ve ever gotten. 😉