// Internet Duct Tape

Stupid iTunes Tricks – How to Burn a MP3 CD with Folders

Posted in Music, MP3s and Internet Radio, Technology by engtech on January 24, 2008


You’d be hard pressed these days to buy a CD player that can’t also play MP3 CDs. My stereo, car, DVD player and XBOX 360 all support MP3 CDs as well as regular CDs. Using MP3 CDs in your car instead of the original CDs is a good idea because it saves you from losing the original if your car is broken into. Using MP3 CDs instead of regular CDs can give another big advantage — you can fit between 7-10 albums on to one MP3 CD. It’s like having a CD changer even if you can only play one CD at a time.

An MP3 CD is a regular old data CD like any CD you put in your computer. Any program that burns CDs can create an MP3 CD, but I like to use iTunes because I’m already using it to manage my music library.

How to Burn an MP3 CD in iTunes

  1. Put an empty CD in your CD/DVD burner
  2. In iTunes select File >> New Playlist (or Ctrl-N)
  3. Click on Music and drag the songs/albums to the new playlist you created
  4. Click on the new playlist and then click on the Album column header until it says Album by Artist [1]
    Burn iTunes MP3 CD with Folders
  5. Rick click on the new playlist and select Burn Play List to Disc
    How to Burn an iTunes MP3 CD with Folders

It’s that simple.

[1] If you don’t click on the Album column then the MP3 CD will be created with all of the songs in one folder. It’s better to create it with one folder per album because then you can use the next folder feature in your car / stereo to switch albums on the MP3 CD.

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44 Responses

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  1. David said, on January 24, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    That’s a great tip – I’v ehad some mp3 cd’s on iTunes come out with folders, and some not. I never knew why. Thanks for the post.


  2. courtney benson said, on January 24, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks so much for the advice. Sound idea!

  3. slibuntu said, on January 25, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Thats a ridiculously good tip, its something i’ve always wondered how to do in iTunes, thanks!

  4. ed star said, on January 25, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    that’s great advice,


    what about the NON Mp3 songs that it says it can’t burn?

  5. […] Stupid iTunes Tricks – How to Burn a MP3 CD with Folders […]

  6. […] blog explains the iTunes tip: the trick is to sort the playlist by album first before you burn. Stupid iTunes Tricks – How to Burn a MP3 CD with Folders� [Internet Duct […]

  7. […] Como véis no tiene misterio alguno, pero puede resultar muy útil. Yo , por ejemplo, suelo usar un CD regrabable para mi lista “podcast no reproducidos” así puedo irlos escuchando cómodamente en el coche (casi todas las autorradios y cadenas de música más o menos nuevas detectan y permiten navegar por este tipo de CD). También va muy bien para grabar toda la discografía de un artista en DVD y tenerla clasificada por carpetas de albums. Espero que os sirva de ayuda. Vía | Internetductape […]

  8. […] trick is to sort the playlist by album first before you burn.  Read more on this via lifehacker or Internet Duct Tape.  Also check the comments for both posts to find more opinions on this tip and other options and […]

  9. Adam said, on February 10, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Ed asks, “what about the NON Mp3 songs that it says it can’t burn?”

    Select “Data CD” instead of “MP3 CD” in the Burning prefs. It should still work fine in your car.

  10. lindsay said, on February 17, 2008 at 12:49 am

    you could also get a converter and convert them to mp3 files.

  11. jack said, on February 18, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    and to avoid the creation of the folders all together, is it enough just to sort the tracks by name? thanks

  12. engtech said, on February 19, 2008 at 1:30 am

    @ jack:

    What I’ve found that works is not sorting at all.

  13. Adam H said, on March 17, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    @ Ed

    In iTunes, go to Preferences > Advanced > Importing > Import Using : MP3 Encoder

    then any song that is says can’t burn, right click it and select Convert Selection to MP3 and then delete the non-MP3 version of it.

  14. Tim O said, on March 19, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    This idea is great.
    Unfortunately my computer says it still can’t fit all the songs on one disc. Do i need a special type of disc or can i just use a regular cd-r?

  15. engtech said, on March 19, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    @ Tim O:

    A regular CD works. You’re going to be limited to around 640 MB of songs on a CD-R.

  16. Tim O said, on March 22, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Ok, I used a CD-RW and put 634 MB worth of music and still no luck.

  17. Tim O said, on March 22, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Do I need to convert all the files to MP3 files?

  18. engtech said, on March 24, 2008 at 11:52 am

    @ Tim O:

    Sorry mate, not sure what issues you’re having. I’ve never had a problem with this. Here’s some Apple iTunes FAQs, but they’re kinda skimpy on details.


  19. Armando said, on April 01, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I know how to put @ 120 songs on but How do I put more than that on a CDR-W is it posible to do that.

  20. Jeremy said, on April 13, 2008 at 12:10 am

    I’ve had this problem too and tried your advice above and it still wont work. Am I missing something?

    I’m using iTunes 7 on a PC. I create a new playlist and organise it by Album by Artist as suggested. I burn Playlist to a blank CD-RW. When I check the CD, all the songs are on the CD, NOT in folders at all and numbered 1 to 150 etc. Obviously this makes it impossible to navigate in the car stereo. Any help????


  21. Jeremy said, on April 13, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Just Worked it out.

    For some reason I have to go one step further than the above advice. After clicking on the header to get Album by Artist, I then have to click on the header for Artist only. This must prioritise the sorting process for Artist first, allowing it to create the folders.
    I now have a cd with all the folders on it. Awesome.


  22. engtech said, on April 18, 2008 at 11:18 am

    @ Jeremy:

    Thanks for posting a followup.

  23. Paul said, on May 22, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I’ve tried this method and it works. Sort of. About half of the folders (albums) will be split into two
    identically named folders with half the tracks in one folder and half the tracks in the other. What am I doing wrong?

  24. engtech said, on May 26, 2008 at 9:48 am

    @ Paul:

    It’s probably because of how you’ve set up the tags on those files.

  25. Paul said, on May 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I’m kind of a novice at this, can you elaborate please?

  26. Thomas said, on June 03, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Is there a way to arrange the albums NOT alphabetically or something?

    I mean, I would like to have the albums arranged in a particular order, and this order doesn’t happen to fall in the alphabetical order, nor in the album by artist arrangement, im not sure if theres a way to keep the albums split into separate folders but to arrange these folders as I like…

    Not a big issue, but it’d be nice.

    … If that made any frickin’ sense.

  27. […] 24th 2008 5:55am [-] From: internetducttape.com […]

  28. Joshua said, on June 30, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    To create an MP3 CD:
    Choose Edit > Preferences, click Advanced, and then click Burning.

    Choose MP3 CD as the Disc Format, and then click OK.

    Select the playlist containing the songs you want to burn to the CD, and make sure all the songs you want to include have a checkmark beside them.

    Click the Burn MP3 CD button (at the bottom of the iTunes window).

    Insert a blank disc and click Burn MP3 CD again.

    If the playlist contains more songs than fit on a CD, iTunes burns only the number of songs that fit on one disc, and then asks you to insert another disc to continue burning the remaining songs.

    -The above information is actually listed in the help menu option you can choose once you attempt to burn an mp3 cd. If you try to burn a playlist that is too larg you will recieve a prompt letting you know you might need to put it on several disks. Just click the question mark in the bottom left corner of the pop-up-

  29. stark said, on September 21, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Hello there.

    So I’ve had the same question and did what is written here, sorted Album by Artist but the result I get is an MP3 CD with 2 folders for each album/artist. So I get a folder with the artist name, inside of that I find another folder with the album name and inside that I find the song.

    Is it a way to get only one folder per artist (or per album) and inside that the song?

    thanx in advance

  30. stark said, on September 21, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Never mind, here is the info:


  31. Dena said, on October 06, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    What if I don’t wanna sort by either album or artist?

    I’m all about the mix CD and would like to sort folders in a MP3 cd by genre. Is it possible?

    Any suggestions? It would be cool if you could just drag one playlist and drop it into another….

  32. 7000express said, on October 16, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Unfortunately, this still only lets you burn SOME songs onto the c.d, only as long as I uploaded those files outside of iTunes. I’d hate to have to sit here for another 2 hours reuploading these multiple 1 or 2 songs from over 60 different c.d.’s into my computer all over again just to have a chance to get it to work through another program. I don’t care what order they come out in, just need them on c.d. to dj with (without any VBR stuff happening), and I spent all night until almost 3am preparing this playlist to have everything I’ve been working on since last Thursday finally done by tonight, only to find out iTunes will not burn any files I uploaded through iTunes! And it’s not like I can transfer to another burning program… Encoding to MP3 doesn’t seem to work because I tried that earlier and now I have three copies of certain songs then some that never even converted, even after spending about 45 minutes as it claimed to be converting songs. Once I go to preferences and click on advanced, the other options that are supposed to pop up aren’t there, as if those options have been removed. I remember seeing them a long time ago though… It’s a GOOD thing I wrote all those songs in a notebook because now I’ve got to check them off as I reupload the half of songs that I shouldn’t have used iTunes to uploaded! There was once a time that I could click on “burn playlist to cd” but it seems like now iTunes has outsmarted that. Let me just leave iTunes alone before next thing I know the 10 gb in my Ipod somehow gets messed up.. Nero usually works well, but first I’ve got to reupload that half outside of iTunes… or better yet just get more cd’s make all my cd’s audio wave files like I’ve been doing fine so far all along. If only Yahoo! Music Jukebox worked on this computer, I would’ve been done by now!!

  33. 7000express said, on October 16, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    It’s terrible how when you try to abort an iTunes cd burning process, it causes the burner to freeze in a burn state and the computer must be manually restarted to end it. After writing down the “problem” files on a list to remember which ones need reburning, I forgot the option for “cancel” and “continue” were still there for the burning process, so I accidentally clicked continue. Didn’t want to have to waste a cd on half a playlist, but now I just wasted it period. The abort option didn’t do anything, and usually putting your computer to sleep should stop the burner from freezing in high speed burn mode… not this time.

  34. Kevin said, on January 12, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Hello Folks:

    I am having a problem where I have many mp3s that I want to burn over several CDs using iTunes; I’ve created the playlist and sorted them in the order I want, yet when the burn is completed, the mp3s on the CDs are not in the order of the playlist? Aren’t they supposed to be in the same order on the CD as in the playlist? Am I missing something here? Any help or advise would be appreciated.


    P.S. I have the latest iTunes version. I am running iTunes on a MacBook Pro.

  35. Sandy622 said, on January 25, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    …I just love itunes and my ipods, they part of my outfit everytime I leave the house, now I wonder how I could have ever gotton along without them. Thanks, I burn all the time and for my friends, you make me feel so special.

  36. matt said, on January 25, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    hey kevin i had the same problem and just figured it out.

    what you want to do is click the track number on the left of the window before you burn it. this will priortize the track order in the order that you put the tracks in. you may also move em around as you please but that’s the idea

  37. saifulalh said, on January 27, 2009 at 6:59 am

    how i can burn cd write with narrrow

  38. Jeanne said, on March 03, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I burned a playlist on itunes like a normally do. The songs that appeared on the cd were not the songs on the playlist. Some of the songs were switched with different songs in my music library. I tried again. Same thing happened. I logged out of itunes and back on, and tried to burn it again. The same thing happend.

  39. kee said, on March 03, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Hi you guys,
    hopefully someone can help me out. I have a MacBook, 2.4 intel, 2 gig, OS X 5.6, Itunes 8.02. I have alot of CDs, cassettes and LPs that I have downloaded onto iTunes. I have been using Audacity to edit the music file to get out some silence gaps on the mp3 and basically been editing the mps.
    Everything works fine until I burn a CD:
    First, the sound check does not work in iTunes. So I get the software MacMP3 Gain, which helped with the sound but…
    2nd, when the CDs burn it puts back in the silence gaps that I had taken out. So now I cannot produce a GOOD CD……PLEASE HELP.
    PS I also used iVolume for the volume on iTunes. PLEASE HElp!!!!


  40. ElaAvar said, on March 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Hi everybody, here’s a problem I just had. I burned an MP3 CD using iTunes 8 on my PC. Then I took the CD to my Mac to play the MP3s, but when I put the CD in, only the first track shows up. According to my Mac, that’s the only track on the CD, but according to my PC, they’re all there. Anybody have any ideas?

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