May 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

How To Upload Rare Music to the Internet (Mac)

Upload your musical treasures, please.

The Windows version is here.

Sometimes, you love a song and it’s not on the web. That’s just not right, because the three or so generations alive today are largely responsible for making sure that all the important and interesting stuff (and not just important cat videos) make it onto the internet.

This is because the same way we have “history” and “prehistory,” we’re going to have “post-internet” and “pre-internet” access to information.

If you want to do your part and upload a bit of history from CD, cassette, vinyl, wax cylinder, reel-to-reel, or whatever, then you are a good person. The people of the future, not to mention the present, are depending on you, and possibly you alone.

A quick note on copyright for obvious reasons: We’re going to use YouTube for this, precisely because we’ll be using music to which we don’t have the rights. Google, which owns YouTube, offers mechanisms for rightsholders to identify that music, claim it as their own, and either slap ads on it to earn money (for them, not you), or get it deleted. In other words, if one of these goes viral, someone will probably claim or delete it before you make any ill-gotten money, so calm down, we’re doing a good thing here. This is for posterity, not profit, at least by you.

To upload rare music onto the internet, first you need to get it onto your computer. You’re on your own for this part. I wrote a book about ten years ago that tells you how to grab a song from cassette, vinyl, or CD, but similar tutorials are all over the internet, for free. In basic terms, you’d either rip the CD at a high-bitrate MP3 format, or record it onto your computer using a simple $5 cable and the free Audacity software (make sure to get the Lame codec too — the software tells you how), and output the song as an MP3.

1. You now have the music as MP3

Yay, that was easy. Now you just need to upload it to YouTube — but YouTube doesn’t accept plain sound files, so you’ll need to make a video. Don’t worry, it’s easy and free to do on either Mac or Windows.

2. Make a simple “movie”

On a Mac, open iMovie.

3. Open the music menu

You’re not going to believe how easy this is. Click the little music symbol represented by two tied eighth notes:

4. Drag in the song

First, navigate to it like this:

Then drag it up and to the left, into the Project area, so it looks like this:

5. Drag in an image

Did you really think we were going to make you shoot a whole movie? There’s no need. All you’re trying to do is put a song on the web, so you can just use a still image. To do that, find an image on your computer and simply drag it onto the song:

 

6. You have made a song into a movie – now upload it

Your not-so-hard work is about to pay off for the possible good of some of humankind. All you need to do is export the movie directly into your YouTube account. You have one of those, right? If not, get one, but you already have one if you use Gmail, Android, or other Google stuff.

Fill in all this stuff and uncheck “Personal”:

We recommend selecting a high video resolution so that the music sounds good.

There you go! Now spread the URL far and wide, or don’t — so long as you put the artist and song in the title, the people who are looking for it should be able to find it.

(Image from Flickr/MontyAustin; video mage from Flickr/weatherphotography.co.uk)

  • http://twitter.com/iainmullan Iain Mullan

    Any further insight into Google’s mechanisms for rights-holders? Is there anything further that the uploader can do to help this process with metadata etc.?

    There’s a Sons & Daughters track i’ve been dying to share for years but it’s nowhere to be found online (legit or otherwise!)

  • lilmikesf

    Mind blowing tutorial bro! I guess needed because the band Stars never heard of the internet? This is also lame douchebag copyright infringement… a so-called ‘good’ person might inquire whether the label or band want your half assed non-video on YouTube. How is this helping anyone? Now a crap unauthorized single frame jpeg video exists to boost youtube traffic and the actual rights holders might be entitled to slap ads on it if they want to get a few cents if they are ever notified it’s there? You are really making internet history dude!

  • http://evolver.fm Eliot Van Buskirk

    I don’t know what band you’re talking about. Also, the band can have the song taken down if they want, as mentioned in the article, assuming they haven’t already asked for YouTube to block it. The song gets heard, if the band wants it to be, or it doesn’t, if they don’t. And if a band is ignoring the internet completely, well, that’s their option, of course. For a band to be on the internet and not have heard of YouTube as a place for music seems like a stretch.

  • http://evolver.fm Eliot Van Buskirk

    I suppose it would help to include the proper artist and song title, although YouTube uses an audio fingerprinter, so you could probably call it whatever you want, so long as you don’t mess with the audio file, which some people do, in an attempt to steal ad revenue from the artist/label/etc.

  • Psychedelic Piper

    This article is inaccurate. When you drop in the still image, it only plays the first 4 seconds of the first song. You can even see this in the article screenshots. Also, for people who are new to this version of iMovie, there’s a transition added to the still image which is difficult to remove. I followed the instructions, uploaded to YouTube, and it was a complete fail. The person who wrote this article obviously didn’t upload any music himself.