Having an iPod is only as nice as the music you've got on it. If you've never used an iPod before, you might not know how to get music from your computer onto your iPod. It's not difficult, but you'll need to make sure you've got your computer set up correctly first. Once you do that, all the music you ever wanted to listen to can be downloaded onto your iPod.
Hooking Your iPod up to Your Computer
Whether you've got a PC or a Mac, this part is pretty easy. All you've got to do is make sure that you've got the proper cable for your configuration, which should come with your iPod when you purchase it. Connect the cable to your computer and your iPod and wait a few moments. Your computer should "see" the new hardware attached, and you should now be able to view its contents on your computer.
Getting Your Downloaded Music onto Your iPod
Here's where it gets tricky. While your computer can now see your iPod, it won't be able to see your music unless you're accessing it through iTunes. You can use other music players to organize and play your music on your computer, but the only software that can fully communicate with your iPod is Apple's proprietary iTunes. Luckily, it's available for free as a download from their website. See Resources for a link to the latest version for your computer platform. A free copy of iTunes is usually included when you purchase your iPod, but the Apple website always has the most recent version available.
Follow the instructions that the installer will give you. Once you've successfully installed iTunes onto your machine, click "Library." This will display any and all music you've currently got on your computer in MP3 or MP4 format---the two file types that your iPod recognizes and plays. It doesn't matter whether these are MP3 or MP4 files you've made from CDs that you've ripped, or songs you've purchased through the iTunes store, Amazon, eMusic or another similar online music retailer---they should all be visible.
From there, it's a matter of dragging and dropping the music you want on your iPod from your library onto your iPod. You have a variety of ways that you can sort your music in order to find specific songs if your library is large. If you know which song, artist or album in particular that you're looking for, you can also use the iTunes search feature to look for specific text. From there, simply click on the song(s) you want and drag to your iPod, which should be displayed in the menu on the left-hand side of the iTunes interface. The iTunes status window at the top of the screen will tell you that it's hard at work copying your music, and it will tell you when it's done, too. To double check, click your iPod to see what's on it. You should see your music displayed, and you should now be able to access and play it on your iPod whenever and wherever you'd like.