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{Tutorial} Making a Fanmix/FST: Part 5

See Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.

All that technical stuff, preparing for final presentation.
I actually feel like I did a nice job of explaining this the first time I wrote a help post so allow me to copy/paste myself before taking you through the steps...

Creating the Song Files: You have a few options! I've only done mixes one particular way since I tend to enter the fst challenges, but I would like to mention a different option before I go about my preferred method.

* Music online, no downloading required: You can link to songs on YouTube - whether it's one of those "X's Y Song w/ Lyrics" vids or actual music vids. (If you choose popular music, I recommend finding the official channels with videos - i.e. find Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Ke$ha, and more through Vevo channels, I think is the channel.... Why? Sponsered videos are more likely to remain available / no broken links.) I haven't looked into this much yet but there's potentially the option to link to songs via Skreemr... (I used to be able to get mp3 downloads through there but they've changed their setup.)

* Providing downloadable mix files: You have a couple options here - individual song files, full albums (zipped), or a combination of both. Important: Your song files should be encoded as MP3s, at least this is the most recommended file type. Why is this? MP3s will play on just about anything but if you have MP4s (as iTunes is set to default to encode things - you can change this!) that will play only through certain programs. Do not include songs you have purchased from iTunes - these files are protected and are "locked" from other users. Trust me, it's a huge bummer and also really annoying to download an FST and then not be able to listen to songs that are password-protected. (You do not want to give out your password, either, since iTunes allows a limited amount of shares.)

How do I get song files? (1) You can try searching online, but since Skreemr changed I don't have any recommendations for something particularly useful/trustworthy. (2) By now I imagine we all have pretty large music collections on our computers. If not, grab up your CDs (or rent 'em at the library or from a friend, whatever) and make some files! If you're not sure how to do this, please let me know! (3) There's a YouTube -> MP3 converter! Actually, I used this thing to get some old TLC songs. Tips: Be sure to use videos with good sound quality and without extra noises! (Well, sometimes this is unavoidable like the song "Samson and Delilah" featured in the Sarah Connor Chronicles season 2 opener.) Listen through the video and/or mp3 file before including it on your mix. (4) If you're a music lover and would like a nice, reasonably priced subscription, I've loved eMusic. What's great is that the files aren't protection-coded like iTunes so you can share these files. They don't have a lot of mainstream music, typically, but they are fabulous for many artists. My entire collection of Snow Patrol, Blonde Redhead, and much of my Black Lab and Rasputina files are from there. Also found the Bones (tv) soundtrack through here. You can also sign up for a good number of free songs, just be sure to download those fast and cancel immediately if you don't want the account.

A more step-by-step explanation Click any of the screen captures to get larger size
+ So I want to prepare my fanmix to upload and share. I like to go all-out in getting clear info in both file name and music player, so there's a handful of steps I need to go through. (Most of this is optional.)

+ First off, I want to have my songs together for when I package them to upload. I don't want to use my original files, so I'm going to copy them. You can do this by a "show in folder" option that comes up when you right-click on a file in iTunes:

Then you'll get this:

Now we're going to copy the file and past it into a new folder I created just for this fanmix.

Hint! I just found out you can "copy" a file directly from iTunes! :o

+ When I'm finished with copying the files to my fanmix folder, it looks something like this:

+ In the cap below you'll see that I have renamed my files in the folder, including the track number and song title. I've cleared out the playlist on my iTunes and now add the new files.

+ The next few shots will show you what I do to get the edited info I want (because I like to keep organized with my overwhelming amount of music, lol):

Tip: I don't know if it happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I edit the info in iTunes my song file gets funky and skips at the beginning. So, before I zip up my files these days, I listen through the playlist - at least for the first 20 seconds. For this mix, I had to replace the first two tracks due to skipping. (Meaning I deleted the corrupted files and re-copied the original.)

Parts Finished & Collected, Now What? Time for sharing! Remember I said you could offer songs individually and/or by "album"? Well now we're to the hosting section. If you are offering the entire album with all songs & artwork together - you must Zip the file. This process is amazingly simple, I promise. You need WinRAR or Winzip (this one seems to be automatically on Windows computers these days, am I right?) BOTH ARE FREE PROGRAMS (they will always have a pop-up box when you open it to say "you should buy us!" though). Both programs will have tutorials if you need. If you're still confused:

Got it zipped (or I'm doing individual songs), now what? A-ha! This is the key part, eh? File hosting can be a bit more confusing than the art. What I tend to use, and these hosts seem to last longer than some others, are: SendSpace and MegaUpload (no account required). How large your file is will determine how long this takes! I highly recommend making sure your full album zip being below 70MB. (Mine this time is 55.6MB)

+ Additional hosting places that I've seen recommended: FileFront, RapidShare, RapidUpload, SaveFile.com, and Uploading.com, none of which I know anything about. There is also YouSendIt but be aware that this is a very temporary hosting site. This would be excellent for sharing a couple song files with someone if you're in search of something, though. [BTW, there's something with a name like "Box" that's pretty nice, too... I'm just totally blanking on what it is!]

+ Uploading should be straightforward for any of these sites. If you're seriously having troubles, drop me a note.

That's all folks!
the official post


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 4th, 2010 09:43 am (UTC)
THANKYOU - for making these posts!

Just read through them and made some mini notes from them but will definitely be referring back to these when I figure out my theme etc.

Sep. 4th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
YAY! Glad to hear it seems to help. It was interesting to make myself think about what I was doing - especially when I came to the part where I was actively doing the things I was writing about. :p Kind of weird.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Thank you SO much! I love making mixes and having pretty artwork but I'm totally anal about it and didn't know how to edit the info and add the art and yeah, it was sad. So I googled 'fanmix tutorial' and you showed up and saved me! Thanks!!
Mar. 3rd, 2012 05:26 am (UTC)
Super happy to hear the post could help! :D
Aug. 18th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC)
This was...incredibly helpful. I was stuck on how to edit the song info without changing the original files - turns out I must make copies first! You just solved my crisis. And helped me realize so many little things about iTunes. Thanks so, so much for this! :D
Aug. 18th, 2012 04:50 am (UTC)
Glad to hear this helped! :D
Mar. 10th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
Say...do you by any chance know if this still works on iTunes 11.0.2? Because I did exactly as you outlined, but when I change the info on the newly copied files, the original changes too. =/
Mar. 10th, 2013 10:25 pm (UTC)
Well, I haven't updated to that version yet (I've been hugely underwhelemed by the updates lately). However, are you copying the files outside of iTunes so that there's two distinct file paths for the song files? (like this step: http://i54.tinypic.com/evcne0.jpg)
Mar. 10th, 2013 10:39 pm (UTC)
I would advise you not to update until it is absolutely necessary; the new iTunes is awful.

Anyway, yes, I did that and it doesn't work, but I think figured out another (more tedious) way to do it - just right-click the song in iTunes and click "Create MP3 Version" and then drag the new versions into the playlist. And then you do the show in finder/copy/paste step (after editing all the info you need to edit, I believe). =/
Oct. 18th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
I've been poring over your notes since early last night and I just completed my first ever Dean/Castiel fanmix. Here's hoping it works and opens (it's up at Sendspace)! Thanks so much for the help! :)
Oct. 18th, 2013 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'm always delighted to hear this post helped someone! Thanks for dropping a comment :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )