How to Download Music to Your PC & Later Burn CDs

By Chris Anzalone

Compact discs no longer serve as the predominant music medium, but they can still prove useful for enjoying music in the car, on a stereo or even with a portable CD player. If you wish to download music online, but do not possess an MP3 player, you can copy, or "burn" your downloaded files onto a CD. Even if you just want to back up your music, CDs can help you to stay organized and free up hard drive space.

Things You'll Need

  • CD-Rs

Step 1

Choose a media manager for your music. If your computer does not contain a media player by default, or if you do not know where to start, consider a program like iTunes, MediaMonkey or Windows Media Player. You can download these programs online, or check your hard drive to see if you already have one or more installed. If using Windows, click "Start" and select "All Programs." If using Mac OS X, click your "HD" folder and select "Applications."

Step 2

Download music. To purchase music online, visit Amazon MP3, the iTunes Store, Napster, Rhapsody and other retail sites. Sign up with a credit card, use the "Search" form to locate music (or browse recommendations on the home page) and click the "Purchase," "Buy" or "Download" links beside songs and albums. To find free music, visit Archive.org, ArtistServer and Epitonic. Featured albums should include a "Download" link, or in some cases you can right-click the album title and select "Save As."

Step 3

Send your downloaded music to your media player of choice. If you downloaded music from the iTunes Store, the Windows Media Player Online Store or the Zune Marketplace, your purchases will save to the appropriate program automatically. In instances where your songs do not automatically save to your media player, just open the program and drag the files. For instance, if using Windows Media Player, you can open the program and drag your song files from the hard drive directly onto the Windows Media Player window.

Step 4

Create playlists for your music. Most media players will require you to sort your music into playlists in order to burn CDs. For instance, if you want to create a CD of your favorite '70s rock songs, you can create a "'70s Rock Playlist," and add the appropriate songs. Playlists typically appear in the left column. To create a playlist in iTunes, click the "New Playlist" button, which resembles a plus sign. In Windows Media Player, click the "Create Playlist" tab. In MediaMonkey, click (Edit > New Playlist) on the menu bar. Use your mouse to drag songs from your main "Library" folder into your new playlist folder.

Step 5

Insert a blank CD-R into your disc drive when you want to start burning CDs. Open your media program, select the playlist that you want to burn (click it once to highlight it) and click the "Burn" button. Depending on the program that you use, the appropriate button may contain the word "Burn" or "Copy," or may feature a large red dot (the "Record" symbol). Some programs (like MediaMonkey) will also use a picture of a CD to signify the "Burn" command.