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November 21, 2008

5

Join CD Tracks – An Excellent Trick on iTunes

by David Spira

There are just some songs that you have to hear together, and listening to them separate is just a sonic travesty. I have put a lot of thought into this, and come up with a list (please post any that I forgot).

Rock You & We Are the Champions – Queen

Heartbreaker & Living Loving Maid – Led Zeppelin

Load Out & Stay – Jackson Browne

Black Magic Woman & Gypsy Queen – Santana

Amie & Falling in and Out of Love – Pure Prairie League

Foreplay & Long Time – Boston

Eruption & You Really Got Me - Van Halen

Funeral for a Friend & Love Lies Bleeding & Candle in the Wind - Elton John

… and then the “absolute must play these two tracks together award” goes to Brain Damage & Eclipse - Pink Floyd

You can really add almost any pairing from Dark Side of the Moon, or any other prog rock concept album or rock opera. A lot of Pink Floyd or Dream Theater stuff can fall into this catagory.

Anyway… for years I have wanted a way to link two songs together in iTunes so that they are not played apart from one-another when I am listening on random. Honestly, a little part of my soul dies every time I hear Brain Damage and it isn’t followed by Eclipse.  

Turns out there is a way! It just isn’t very intuitive. 

The trick is to use the “Join CD Tracks” function in iTunes before you rip the CD to your computer, or if you don’t own the CD, burn the tracks to a CD, and then rip them back to your computer using the “Join CD Tracks” tool. This is actually easy to do… it’s just annoying, but for some songs, it’s worth it.

Rip - the act of copying content from solid media. Basically, this is copying music from a CD, or a video from a DVD.

You can follow these instruction to do so:

1. Put the CD into your drive. 

2. In iTunes, click on the CD, so that you are viewing the track list from that album.

3. Hold down the “Apple” button, or “Control/ Ctrl” button if you are on a PC, and select the consecutive tracks that you would like to merge.

4. While keeping those tracks selected, go up to the top of the screen, and click on “Advanced.”

5. Select “Join CD Tracks.” You should see the tracks linked together with a bracket.join-cd-tracks

6. Import the CD to iTunes normally.

7. (Optional) If you had to re-rip the album to your computer, you might want to delete the old tracks so that you do not have duplicates.

Give it a shot, it isn’t difficult to do. It just doesn’t feel natural.

It would be nice if Apple added a feature to join tracks together without having to do it from a CD… for now, this works.

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dave
    Jun 15 2010

    You missed:

    Guess Who – No Sugar Tonight & New Mother Nature
    ZZ Top – Waiting onthe Bus & Jesus Just Left Chicago

    I have a futher question. I want to Join sons that are interesting (and improved IMO)covers, Such as Manfred Mann covering Springsteen songs (Blinded by the Light, Spirits in the Night, For You), Yes covering Simon and Garfunkle (America), and Zeppeling covering any number of blues tunes.

    The only process I can figure is to burn the songs from ITunes library to CD (can you burn a play list?), then “join” them when being ripped back from the CD. However, it seems I have to rename them on the CD or they want to overwrite my existing files. Any suggestions???

    Reply
    • Jun 17 2010

      Dave,

      Merging during a rip is the only way I know how to combine songs in iTunes.

      If you are really serious about this, I recommend looking into real audio editing software.

      If you have a PC, you might want to try Free Audio Editor.

      There’s a whole world of audio mashups that I don’t know much about, but I know there is a lot written on the subject, and quite a few tutorials on YouTube.

  2. Dec 18 2011

    The Join Tracks option seems to have stopped working on the latest version of ITunes. However, I accidentally found that if I downloaded a CD and left it in the drive, it would let me re-download and replace the first version. This time I COULD highlight and join the tracks. It shouldn’t be this hard.

    Reply
    • Dec 20 2011

      It seems you’re right. It’s very frustrating to see such a useful feature for music fans removed.

  3. Dec 13 2012

    Really! Iwas in the middle of downloading several CDs and combining tracks easily, when going from one CD to another, my “combine tracks option” disappeared entirely.
    I have also been unable to find “join tracks” in any Windows menu.
    Definitely frustrating. You would think I-Tunes would be smoother than this!

    Reply

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