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I have to put this out there to get it off my chest. I hate iTunes. In my opinion, the interface is not intuitive, and the labeling of controls is misleading. Whew, I feel better. Now I’ll just wait for Steve Jobs to storm into my house and neutralize me.

If I have problems with iTunes, then I’m sure there are plenty of other people who do, also. So here I am with “How Do I Download Songs onto iTunes” so you can get them on your iPod and you can go about your iDay.

I’m going to assume that you already have iTunes (download here) installed – we’re using iTunes 8.2 on a Windows XP Home laptop. I’m also going to assume that you have an iTunes Store account. If you don’t, refer to this article How to Improve Your iTunes Experience (Part 2) [Mac Only] How to Improve Your iTunes Experience (Part 2) [Mac Only] Read More to learn how to get one.

Adding Songs from iTunes Store

Let’s look at adding music from the iTunes Store first. Once you have iTunes open, just click where it reads iTunes Store.

download songs onto itunes

Shortly, the iTunes Store will be visible in the right-hand window. Hmmm, Jets Overhead has a free single, that sounds interesting. Because it is free. Now, I will click on that selection.


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iTunes will open up to a page that tells you about the band and song as well as some comments from people who have downloaded the song. That’s nice. What we’re interested in, is at the bottom of the page. This is where we get the song. Look for the Get Song button. Just click on that.

If you are already signed in, the song will start to download. This can be checked by looking in the left-hand side of iTunes for the Downloads label. store_4There it is! Downloads equal one. Now where did it go? Into the Library of course, under Music. Just click on Music and you’ll see the song on the right-hand side.


Adding Songs from a CD

I’m using a CD made by a band with a guy I sort of know, Jeffry Houser. He’s an Adobe/ColdFusion guru who is also a good musician. The band was known as Far Cry Fly. Anyway…

Put the CD into your computer’s CD/DVD player. iTunes should automagically ask you if you want to import the contents of the CD. Click on good old Yes. Has clicking indescriminately on Yes ever let us down? Oh, yes, I guess it has.


iTunes will begin importing all the music off of the CD. You can tell which song is being imported and which ones are completed by the icons next to the songs.

cd_2The check mark in the green circle means great success in importing the song. The squiggle in the orange circle means that the import is in progress. Eventually, all the songs will be imported. “Where did they go?” you ask, with childlike wonder dancing in your eyes like so many little sprites rejoicing in your innocent thoughts. Well, into the Library of course!

Voila! There they are!

Adding Songs from a Directory on Your Computer

You can either do this song by song or you can add a whole directory of music. The whole directory method is the best approach if you’ve already legitimately and legally created back-ups of your lawfully purchased music collection. So, here’s how that goes.

Click on File> Add Folder to Library.


A new window opens up that allows you to navigate to the folder you want to add.folder_21

Ah, there it is! Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans. I urge you to check them out. Definitely a favourite of mine. Select the folder by clicking once on it and then click on the OK button. How was that? Was it… OK? Tee hee.

Ala Peanut Butter Sandwiches and pow! Your folder of music is added to the Library.

Those are the three ways to add music to your iTunes library, so bookmark this page in case you ever find yourself wondering, “How do I download songs onto iTunes again?” Now that you’ve got that power, go crazy and fill that library up and rock out. Or in my case, country out. That doesn’t work, does it?

If this little tutorial has helped you out in anyway, please let me know. Now, I’m going to send a link to this article to my daughter, since she’s been bugging me for months to show her how to do this stuff. Don’t tell her I just figured it out myself.

For more tutorials on iTunes, check out our MakeUseOf Big Book of iTunes The iTunes Guide [PDF Guide] The iTunes Guide [PDF Guide] Read More free PDF download.

Do you know any other way to add music to iTunes? Is there an automated way of doing it? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Cindy
    January 6, 2015 at 2:21 am

    That was great but you still didn't tell me how to get my downloaded song onto my ipod?????? Also do you have to do one at a time or can you do several?

    • Guy
      January 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Cindy,

      iTunes is the tool you'll most likely use for that. Check the iTunes help files to learn how to use it, and check out our many articles on iTunes.

  2. Al
    February 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I totally agree with those comments about how to either download itunes and to also purchase and download music.
    It is like watching one of those infomercials saying how great it is. Just has does one know if your computer has the right capabilities and how does one purcchase and download music??

  3. Uma
    August 13, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Itunes is stupid..i have the software downloaded in my ho do i get songs into it..and den finally into my IPOD

  4. bob
    July 13, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I love itunes personally. Just so easy to use, doesn't do stuff you don't want it to as i really loathe the auto sorting and other auto gimmicky stuff you see with the likes of WMP.

  5. Su
    July 10, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I just bought a song on iTunes but I can't find it in my library and when I check for available downloads it says that all my purchases have been downloaded...any ideas on how I can find the song??!

    • Su
      July 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

      Problem has been solved, it must have been because it was my first purchase. I'm still none the wiser as to why it happened but I have my song now so I'm happy!

  6. Jeffry Houser
    July 8, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Inspired by the use of our album here, I went ahead and uploaded both are studio albums onto the Live Music Archive:

    • Guy McDowell
      July 8, 2009 at 11:55 am

      That's cool! I didn't know you could do that at I'm going to have to look into that some more. Cheers!

      • Jeffry Houser
        July 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm

        It's called the "Live Music Archive" so studio recordings are rare, but they do exist.
        Maybe someday I'll go through my archive of Far Cry Fly live recordings and get them up there. But don't hold your breath.

  7. Charlotte
    June 30, 2009 at 8:53 am

    well i am a kid and i don's have any credit cards so how am i supposed to make an account?

  8. roger
    June 19, 2009 at 8:59 am

    man, i've gotta start reading the manuals first! i've been putting stuff downloaded from other than itunes on to itunes 1 track at a time. i had no idea it could be 1 file/folder at a time. thanks.

  9. sergemonster
    June 19, 2009 at 12:27 am

    i must agree with you. I used Itunes and hated it - maybe because as a microsoft user i do find buying music from their platform intrusive.

  10. emily
    June 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    That's just it ... how does music that looks securely imported before I shut down go missing before I start iTunes up again? This never happens with downloads, seldom with CD imports. It happens most usually with folders transferred from one of my computers to another via thumb drive.

    • Guy McDowell
      June 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm

      My gut reaction is that it is a pathing issue. I can't confirm this, but maybe it assigns the drive letter of the thumb drive to the path of the song, when it really should be assigning the drive letter of your hard drive.
      I'm going to have dig into this one.

  11. Adam
    June 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    you forgot the simplest way to import music into iTunes, drag and drop

    to emily: that exclamation point means exactly what the error states, the data can't be found where it was previously, that doesn't mean it was deleted, just missing.

    • Guy McDowell
      June 18, 2009 at 5:51 pm

      That's funny! I solved an Outlook issue today with drag and drop. For some reason, I always over look that. Probably because I prefer to use keyboard shortcuts.
      Drag and drop can sometimes be an easy way to misplace a file too, but it can also be terribly handy.

    • clifford Edwards
      December 12, 2009 at 7:10 am

      I'm sure I paid for 4 songs. When I had the list of songs on the screen in front of me, I clicked on the first download, and the song started playing. the song was 18 minutes long, and must have gotten distracted, so when I went to accept the other 3 songs, I couldn't find them or I couldn't find the page that showed they needed to be accepted.

  12. emily
    June 18, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Now to the dark side ... What's happening when music I import into iTunes from My Music or a CD fails to show up the next time I boot. The titles are there, but also the dreaded exclamation point that says 'you just THINK your music is here.'
    What is the cause and the cure? Many thanks.

    • Guy McDowell
      June 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm

      I really don't know. But stay tuned...I smell an article in that question.

  13. Ryan Dube
    June 18, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Paul - I couldn't agree more. For someone who's new to iTunes and just getting started searching for guides on how to do the basics, they could get information from an amateur blogger, which may or may not be very useful, or they can learn from the old pros (like Guy here) who've learned to do this stuff with their eyes closed. :)

  14. Paul
    June 18, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Although I am a long time user; long time hater of itunes (love hate relationship), I think sometimes you really need to get back to the basics. I think a few of the long term readers may scoff at this article, I would say don't read it. For the new guy/girl just starting out and don't want to stuff things up (especially when ypu purchase music ie cold hard cash) then this is a good start and I would highly recommend looking at their "Make use of bigbook of itunes" as well. I found the booklet good even for someone like me who used it since I got my ipod touch (now known as my electronic brain)

  15. Bob3000
    June 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    The text link to the Corb Lund website needs to be checked out.

    • Guy McDowell
      June 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm

      Bummer. Check out Corb's MySpace - Corb Lund MySpace

      I'm still pulling for you Corb!

  16. Jeffry Houser
    June 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks for using our CD as a sample Guy. For those interested the band's web site is .

    If enough people bug me, I'll mp3 our albums and get them up somewhere.

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