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Company Support
2 Minute Tutes
Backing Up

Buying a computer
CD Burning
Digital Music
Instant Messaging
Further Reading
2 Minute Tutes - Digital Music

In 2 minutes, you should know:


What is digital music?

Digital music is any music that can be stored on a computer. In addition to the music itself, it may also contain information such as the artist's name, album, genre & year. Music copied directly from a CD is not stored very efficiently, so it is usually converted into a more compact format such as MP3. Music converted to MP3 format is about one-tenth the original size with almost no difference in quality.

Converting your CD's

Converting your CD's means copying the music to your computer so that you can play that music without needing the original CD again.  You can store thousands of songs in your computer when converted to a more efficient format such as MP3 or WMA.  The process is very simple with a suitable program.  Microsoft's Windows Media Player (version 7 or later) has all you need to convert to WMA.  Simply insert the CD, then click Copy from CD.  If you wish to convert to MP3, there are many good programs available such as Audiograbber, EAC & CDex.

Downloading music from the Internet

You will find a lot of music available on the Internet.  Sometimes it's just a preview of a song so you can 'try before you buy' such as from Amazon.com.  Other sites showcase songs made freely available by artists to expose them to a wider audience, such as WinAmp or Real Networks.  Another way to find music online is use one of the many filesharing programs such as Kazaalite, iMesh or Gnutella.

Playing MP3's

Playing MP3's (or other format digital music) is very easy.  Just start your preferred media player program, such as Windows Media Player.  If you don't have a shortcut to it, click Start, All Programs, Windows Media Player (look for the icon).

Make your own music CD

This task can be complicated if you have an older version of Windows.  The steps are: obtain your music files, use a program to convert them from MP3 (or similar format) to WAV, the format used by music CD's, then use CD writing software to create the CD.

If you have Windows XP, all this is reduced to a few clicks.  Windows Media Player (WMP) keeps track of your music library, so just play the songs you want on your CD and click Copy to CD.  WMP will check the blank CD in your CD writer and tell you which tracks will fit on.  You may add or remove tracks simply by clicking the check box next to each track.  When ready, click the red Copy Music button.  Windows Media Player will convert & write each track automatically.

Basic Digital Rights Management

Digital Rights Management, or DRM, is copy protection for digital media, such as music or movies.  Each file has a corresponding licence allowing you to play it.  If somebody copies your file, it will not play on their computer because they don't have a licence to play it.

If you convert your CD's using Windows Media Player, they are stored in WMA format, which uses DRM.  It is important to note that you should backup your licences as well as your music or you will lose the ability to play it in the event of a bad crash or reloading Windows.  It is easy to back up WMP licences.  Just click Tools, License Management, Backup Now.

The MP3 format does not use DRM, so any CD's converted to MP3's will be playable anywhere.  You should ensure that you do not breach copyright rules.