How to clip a song with iTunes

iTunes has many useful features beyond organizing and playing your songs, podcasts, videos, and other media.  Unfortunately, many people are unaware of some of the things you can do with this application.  This is a walkthrough of how to take an existing MP3 (or other song media that iTunes recognizes), and clip it down to a smaller size.  This is useful for creating ringtones (if you have a phone that supports MP3 ringtones), as well as for cutting out disclaimers or other unwanted audio from a track.

If you need to download iTunes, here is the link from Apple’s website:  iTunes download link.

Let’s get started.

First, of course, you have to have iTunes open, and we’ll assume that you already have a song or track that you want to edit.  In this case, lets say I’m going to make an MP3 to use as a ringtone, which means that I’m going to cut a piece out of the middle.  Start in your main music library, and right-click on the song.  Choose “Get Info” from the context menu:

Click over to options tab, and look for the Start time and End time fields:

If you’re only cutting off the beginning or ending of a song, then you only have to fill out the appropriate field.  The format that these fields are in are Hours:Minutes:Seconds.Tenth.Hundredth.Thousandth.  This means you can be as specific as you want (or need) to be about the exact length.  In my case, I have decided that the portion of the song I want to keep is from 0 min 38 seconds to 1 min 2 seconds.  So I modify the fields:

In my case, the check boxes next to the fields automatically turned themselves on.  Now click the OK button to save your changes.

Now, it’s time to make a copy of the song.  Before we do that, we have to make sure that our settings are correct for the importing music from a CD, because these are the same settings that are used when converting an existing song.  If you’re using Windows, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + , (the comma key).  If you’re using a Mac, use Command + , (the comma key).  Under the General section, click on the button for Import Settings. The layout should be very similar across both Windows and Mac OS X, so even though the picture below is from a Mac, a Windows user should be able to find the correct settings in the same place.

The settings in the Import settings are entirely up to you.  If you have no idea what any of these settings mean, you can set your settings to the following:

When you’re done, click OK to save the changes.

Now, go back to your song that you are editing.  Right-click on the song, and choose “Create MP3 Version”.  NOTE: If you selected AAC or WAV in your import settings, it will replace MP3 with your selection. Here’s an example of the different possibilities for this selection:

Whichever method you chose, you will now have a shorter version of your song.  Obviously, the exact time will be determined by your own settings:

If you need to find the song on your hard drive, right-click on the new song.  If you’re using Windows, choose “Show in Windows Explorer”.  If you’re using a Mac, choose “Show in Finder”.  In either case, this will take you to your song on your hard drive, so that you can copy it or do whatever it is that you want to do with it.

Hope this is helpful to you!

-Jeremy