How To Technology

Joining MP3s, AACs or just about any audio file with Terminal UNIX commands

Occasionally I rip CDs with tracks that, at the time of ripping, I didn’t know I want to be combined — audiobooks come to mind. Sure I can go into iTunes (or XLD) and re-rip the tracks into one file. Or I can open Fission and combine the files that way. But each of those solutions is super time consuming. A faster way is just to use some command line goodness and join the data through there.

It bares mentioning that this process does require a tiny bit of computer proficiency. Not much, but some. This is also a Mac solution for Windows visit the source link at the bottom of the page.

So how do we do this? Well first open Terminal and head over to a folder holding all your MP3s or AACs or whatever. The simple way to do this is to use the cd command to change directory. I like to type cd into the terminal then just drag the folder from the finder onto the Terminal window.

cd /Users/ben/Documents/Audio

Then hit return. You should be in whatever folder you just dragged onto the Terminal window. You can test this by running the list command.


Now we are ready to run the combine files magic, type in:

cat *.mp3 > new.mp3

following the file with the correct extension (.mp3 or .m4a or .flac, etc.)

Optionally you can also add in specific files into the mix by doing the following:

cat first.mp3 second.mp3 third.mp3 > new.mp3

After a span of time, depending on the size of your source files, you should have a new audiofile called new. That’s it!

A good rule of thumb at this point is to open the file in your favorite audio tagging app (iTunes, Tagger, Tag) and rename the combined file, as the file will also inherit all the tags of its parts. Huzzah! You are now a computer warlock and will probably be burned at the stake for your witchcraft. Sorry.


I’ve also tested this with .txt text files for work. It works perfectly! Huzzah!

Music News Reviews

Amazon Cloud Player & Cloud Drive

When Apple purchased LaLa last year, my favorite music streaming service ever, I have to say I was upset. LaLa had a wonderful model which put their users and the music they liked into a wonderfully social system. Unfortunately for LaLa, that system didn’t make much sense from a money-making standpoint and Apple bought them for the technology and the experience they had with streaming media.

I figured with such an accomplished head start, Apple could flip a music streaming service in no time. They had the people who created the ideal, just do more of that? Not so fast mister, this is Apple we are talking about and nothing at Apple gets released without being perfect.

Cut-to more than a year later

Last week Amazon released 2 free products, Amazon Cloud Player & Amazon Cloud Drive. The basic gist of both is storage online for all your media — in the cloud. Cloud Player is all about audio (at the moment) and Cloud Drive is all about all other files. Confused? Maybe this video will help.

Sounds pretty incredible right? So how does it stack up against all the other cloud based storage systems out there? For files it is pretty good, it is definitely not as easy to use as DropBox, but that may change rapidly as Amazon figures out what they have. The major advantage of DropBox over Cloud Drive is finder integration on both Mac & Win computers. Not having to keep a web browser window open or download some strange “uploader” is a real advantage.

Amazon Cloud Drive

For music, the service is basically unmatched at the time of this writing. Being able to upload mp3s and have them instantly available for playing online or to be downloaded on another computer is wonderful. The Amazon Cloud Player itself is relatively simple in its design. It has a big yellow play button and does a fantastic job at streaming audio files smoothly. The sound quality is the same as you would expect from a desktop application.

Amazon Cloud Player

But what about all us people who have bought lots of songs from iTunes? We’re out in the cold, right? Amazon Cloud Player uploads and plays those flawlessly too! What?! You heard me. As long as the AAC track isn’t copy protected (ie – not a 128kbps .m4a file you downloaded from iTunes 2 years ago or earlier) it will upload, play, and have all its tags. This is wonderful functionality for all the folks like me who drift from one music service to another. Amazon has smartly not excluded its competitors users.

Unfortunately if you rip your music into FLAC, APE, Apple Lossless, OGG, or any other formats; you are going to have to convert them to MP3 or M4A if you want to listen to them online. If you just want to upload them, they can be uploaded and accessed through Cloud Drive, but Amazon Cloud Player will not recognize them as audio.

Time to give up on Apple?

So is Apple so late to the party that it will be impossible to catch up? Far from it. Apple will release their cloud music service soon and it will be a game changer, of that I have no doubt. For all of us iPhone and iPod users, the service will also be compatible with our devices (Amazon’s Mobile Cloud Player is not yet available for Apple products). But what Amazon’s service does do, is offer a glimpse in to the future of cloud based services. It may not be perfect yet, but it does change how we store and consume media. Best of all this gives Apple a high bar to jump over — competition is never a bad thing.