iTunes tip – How to split songs

Sections: Features, How-To, iPod, iTunes

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iTunes iconThis morning I was l listening to a newly ripped CD in iTunes when I came to the “secret song.” Bands sometimes put secret songs at the end of their albums. Usually, you have to either forget the CD was playing, or just fast forward until you start hearing music again. But, what if the secret song is awesome? What if you want to have it as its own separate file? iTunes actually makes this quite easy.

Isolate the Track

iTunes change song start timeFirst, you have to figure out what time the secret song starts playing. So, listen to your song, and write down the last second of silence just before the song starts. Then “Get Info” on the song by either clicking Command I, right clicking, or selecting File / Get Info in the menu bar. An information window will appear, in which you want to be in the Options tab.

Here you are presented with a start and stop time for the song in question. Enter the time you wrote down into the Starting Time box and click OK on this window.

Create MP3…Again

iTunes create MP3 versionNow, you have to right click your song and select Create MP3 Version, or at least that’s what mine said, since I have my options set to import all songs as MP3s in iTunes. Yours may say AAC or another file type depending on how you have iTunes configured.

This imports the song over again and essentially chops off the beginning of the song that was before the start time that you set in the options tab.

Name the New Track

iTunes rename your songYou’re almost done. Now just “Get Info” on your new song, select the Info tab, and rename it to the title of the song, or simply “Secret Song” works too. You might want to increment the song number while you are at it. Don’t forget to go back to the original song and uncheck the Starting Time in the Options tab, or you will have duplicate secret songs with different names. Optionally, you could use this technique to also trim off the end silence in the original song, or simply just adjust it’s Stop Time.

There are actually more uses for this tip. Now, you can basically split any audio file in iTunes quickly and easily, not just the secret songs you may have hiding at the end of your CDs. So, go now and set your secret songs free from the shackles of silence.

Product [iTunes 8]

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  • Jake

    The only problem I see with this tip is that I think you're making an MP3 out of an existing MP3, which means you're performing another round of lossy compression. I think you'd be better off selecting the song and choosing Show in Finder, then duplicating the original file, moving it onto the desktop (out of the iTunes folder), renaming it, and then reimporting it. Then you'll have two copies of the original MP3 you can modify the start and stop times for, rather than one that's been compressed twice.

  • Jake Gaecke

    You make a good point. I personally don't know for sure that iTunes actually converts it again and reduces the quality, but I'd have to admit that it's more than likely the case. I've been doing this for a long time, and I've ever had any quality issues. But your tip is certainly a great one for those who are concerned about audio quality.

  • Daniel Wood

    Thanks for this guide. I used to have a program that split songs but I can't remember the name of it. I only wanted to split one song for a ringtone and also didn't want to have to use another program to convert iTunes format to MP3 for a Nokia phone…didn't even know iTunes could convert an individual purchased track to MP3.

  • ERiCA-*

    hi Jack;; i would like to thank you sooooooooo much! im having a pep rally at my school for "coins for a cause"[idk if you know what that is] and me as well as a few others are doing a dance 4 it. we had our moves and music n all n we needed our final cd with all the songs split which is exactly what i got from your help;;you saved me from a breakdown j/k

    **thanks so much again

  • Dan

    I'm guessing you used that to get "The Fear" (track 16) off MFZB. Ace song. If you get the Japanese version though it's got it's own track (if I remember correctly), as well as 3 other bonus songs.

    MFZB baby!

  • Haziel

    Thanks jake , I'm always looking for Edm tracks so this will be good when the spliting of sets come to id – ing some tracks on forums

  • GunnertheGun

    Your tip was really helpful for me too.. until iTunes 9.1, in which they have, for some reason, removed the "Create MP3/AAC..(what ever) Version"-option..

    So does anyone have another easy way to split up songs? 'Cause those f%#¤ing artists keep making those extremely anoying "hidden tracks" and 2 tracks in 1 file and stuff like that… And I for one want to be able to listen to the all songs I pay for on my iPod.

  • stu

    If you have the oppertunity, it's best to split the song before you import:

    1. Insert your CD and find the end time of the first part of the track.
    2. Isolate the first part of the track as detailed above and then import it.
    3. Eject the CD and re-insert it. Now find the start of the second part of the track.
    4. Isolate the second part of the track as detailed above.
    5. Change the name of track and again import it

    You end up with two tracks that are exactly the right length without any additional loss in quality…

  • GunnertheGun

    Thanks a lot! That works even better than the first one :)

  • Deanna

    Thank you,
    This was really helpful. I needed to cut segments of a podcast (a radio interview I was on.) This worked well. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get the files on my website!