Not only can you download your purchased songs to your iPod, but you can download it to unlimited numbers of iPods. Apple placed no copy restrictions on iPod joy.
If your iPod is a pre-2003 model, you must first update its software to version 1.3 or later. Otherwise, the iPod won’t recognize files in the AAC format.
When you buy a song, it lands in the iTunes playlist called Purchased Music. But you can easily drag it into other playlists you’ve concocted within iTunes. The songs, artists, and albums appear just like any other tracks in iTunes.
You can also burn purchased tracks to blank CDs, so you can listen to them in the car or on the big component rack in the living room. Here, Apple has put in only one tiny, almost irrelevant form of copy protection: If you’ve made store-bought songs part of a certain playlist, you can’t burn more than seven CD copies of it in a row without making at least one change to the song list.
And if you find that limitation restrictive, you must be so dedicated a music pirate that you wear an eye patch and a parrot on your shoulder.
You can also share purchased music tracks with other people on your same office network—by playing them live, not by copying the actual files. Details on page 40.
If your hard drive croaks and takes your entire music library with it, you have two alternatives. (a) Buy all of your Music Store songs all over again. (b) Calmly reach for the backup CD or DVD you had the foresight to make before disaster struck.
To back up your entire music collection, you want to copy the iTunes folder in your Home → Music folder.
You can use any standard backup method for this:
Copy the folder to another computer via network cable.
Burn it onto a blank CD (if the folder fits) or a DVD (if you have a DVD-burning computer).
Use a program like Dantz Retrospect to back it up onto Zip disks, multiple CDs, or whatever you’ve got.
When your hard drive croaks, restore your backed-up iTunes folder by dragging it back into your Music folder. You’re saved.
iTunes 4 also has a built-in backup feature. Note, however, that it can back up only one playlist at a time. This backup procedure isn’t the same thing as burning an audio CD. Here, you’re burning a data disc. That’s important if you want to preserve the original file formats in your iTunes music library and avoid turning your high-quality AIFF files, for example, into squished-down MP3 files. To make this important change to your Burning desires, see Figure 4-9.
Figure 4-9. Choose iTunes → Preferences, click Burning, and click the button for data CD or DVD. Selecting the Data format for your disc will copy your files in their original MP3, AAC, or Audible formats without converting them to standard audio CD files, which would happen if you created an audio CD.
After you’ve chosen the Data format for your backup disc, make a playlist that includes all the files you want to copy to the CD or DVD. Keep an eye on the total size at the bottom of the window to be sure it will fit on one disc: about 650 megabytes for a CD, 4.7 gigabytes for a DVD. (If not, you’ll have to file your songs away into multiple playlists—one per backup disc—to spread out your collection over multiple discs.)
Burn it to disc by clicking the Burn Disc button on the iTunes window. Insert a blank disc when the machine asks for one, and then click the Burn Disc button again to start copying.
If your hard drive ever dies, copy this data disc’s files back onto the computer and re-import them into iTunes to rebuild your library from the backup disc.