An iPod Rescue Operation

So my technology issues continue, this time with my beloved iPod that gets me through those long metro rides. Recently, DC opened up T-Mobile and Cingular access on the metro, so now I can text and talk on the phone when the train is on the platforms. At least I now have something to mess with instead of apathetically scrolling through the same 700 songs every day.
When my computer crashed this summer, one of the saddest things about it was that I lost all of my iTunes.

I’m a good girl, and I pay for all the music I have on my iPod through the iTunes system. However, those songs were erased when iTunes was wiped off the computer. They were imprisoned on my Nano, which was good for travelling but bad when I wanted to add more songs or listen to them on my computer.
I saw the “purchased” songs listed on my iTunes account, but I couldn’t find a way to transfer them into my new, empty iTunes.  So essentially, I saw the receipt for all the songs I bought, but I couldn’t listen to them. Sad day.
For weeks, I went listening to the same songs trapped on my iPod. But on the up side, I fell in LOVE with Pandora, a great music site that introduces you to new bands that play similarly to your favorite bands. instead of relying on my iTunes, I just logged on my Pandora account, typed in a few of my favorite bands, and I had a great playlist of stuff I wouldn’t have thought of listening to. Now they have commercials because, hey, they gotta make money. However, Pandora is huge in the office world where people have to sit in cubicles for seven hours a day.
But instead of avoiding the problem, I new I had to face it and figure out how to free my songs and add new ones to the iPod. I understand that iTunes probably wants to protect its songs and artists from piracy by making life a bit more difficult for us. However, these were the most helpful tips I heard.

  • Back up your music files. Sounds obvious, but it ended up saving me. Just one month before going to DC, I backed up all my photos, music, and important documents. This is the only way I got my stuff back when re-downloading iTunes.
  • DO NOT let the computer sync your iPod to the current library until you have added all of your songs to the library. It will erase EVERYTHING you have on your iPod and replace it with everything on the library.
  • Know–you cannot take songs off of your iPod and put them on another computer. I don’t understand why, so if someone can explain that one, I’d appreciate it.
  • The only way to transfer the songs from your iPod to a different iTunes account is through downloading and transfering the music files themselves. Basically, if you have a bunch of songs on your iPod and your computer gets thrown out the window, unless you have backed up your songs somehow, the songs will be forever trapped on your iPod and cannot transfer to another account. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know.

Photo from ldanderson, Flickr user, Creative Commons

To transfer your iTunes to another computer (if the current computer isn’t dead), all you have to do is save the music files to a hard drive and bring them over to the other computer. You can also email the music files to yourself and open it on another computer, but keep in mind how much space those files will take up in your email. Then once you install iTunes, you go to File–add file to library, and you can manually insert specific songs. But if you’re me and you have hundreds of songs, it’s much easier to just highlight your music files and drag them into iTunes. It worked on mine, so it will most likely work on yours!
What I ended up doing was pulling the songs from my external hard drive and dragging the files into an empty iTunes. I then “synced” my iPod to the new iTunes, which erased the songs on it but instantly updated it with the songs on my iTunes. Woopee.
So I’m sure people are wondering about IDump, which is a program where you can hypothetically take songs from your iPod. From what I understand, iDump shows all the songs on your iPod in a spreadsheet style format, and it is supposed to enable you to transfer your songs from your iPod to an iTunes account. I tried iDump at first, but I found the program to be unreliable and a bit sketchy, but I know some people have used it before.
The lesson learned: protect your songs by backing them up on an external hard drive, which isn’t too expensive these days, and understand how music is transfered from one computer to another.


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