A while ago I wrote a Perl script that would create a RSS feed so I could listen to the podcast outside of iTunes (e.g. Miro). It stopped a few months back when I moved servers. It’s working again.
I’ve been wracking my brains over this for the past few weeks and it finally struck me how to create an m4b audiobook with chapters that is compatible with your iPod, iTunes, VLC, etc. It was very simple once I figured it out:
encode the mp3 files to “aac” (mpeg4) using your favorite converter (I use ffmpeg):
ffmpeg -i "track1.mp3" -y -vn -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -ar 44100 -threads 3 -f mp4 track1.aac
Create a chapters file so that MP4Box can understand it:
* Common syntax : CHAPTERX=h:m:s[:ms or .ms] on one line and CHAPTERXNAME=name on the other – the order is not important but chapter lines MUST be declared sequencially (same X value expected for 2 consecutive lines).
CHAPTER1=00:00:00.000 CHAPTER1NAME=Chapter 001 CHAPTER2=00:30:00.139 CHAPTER2NAME=Chapter 002 CHAPTER3=01:00:00.728 CHAPTER3NAME=Chapter 003 CHAPTER4=01:30:01.269 CHAPTER4NAME=Chapter 004 CHAPTER5=02:00:01.858 CHAPTER5NAME=Chapter 005 CHAPTER6=02:30:02.375 CHAPTER6NAME=Chapter 006 CHAPTER7=03:00:02.964 CHAPTER7NAME=Chapter 007 CHAPTER8=03:30:03.553 CHAPTER8NAME=Chapter 008 CHAPTER9=04:00:04.094 CHAPTER9NAME=Chapter 009 CHAPTER10=04:30:04.683 CHAPTER10NAME=Chapter 010 CHAPTER11=05:00:05.224 CHAPTER11NAME=Chapter 011 CHAPTER12=05:30:05.765 CHAPTER12NAME=Chapter 012 CHAPTER13=05:46:14.106 CHAPTER13NAME=Chapter 013 CHAPTER14=06:16:14.143 CHAPTER14NAME=Chapter 014 CHAPTER15=06:46:14.732 CHAPTER15NAME=Chapter 015 CHAPTER16=07:16:15.249 CHAPTER16NAME=Chapter 016 CHAPTER17=07:46:15.790 CHAPTER17NAME=Chapter 017 CHAPTER18=08:16:16.331 CHAPTER18NAME=Chapter 018 CHAPTER19=08:46:16.920 CHAPTER19NAME=Chapter 019 CHAPTER20=09:16:17.460 CHAPTER20NAME=Chapter 020 CHAPTER21=09:46:18.050 CHAPTER21NAME=Chapter 021 CHAPTER22=10:16:18.639 CHAPTER22NAME=Chapter 022
Add the chapters to the audio file (creates Nero format chapter markers):
MP4Box -add track1.aac -chap track1.chapters test.mp4
Convert the Nero chapter markers to Quicktime chapter markers using mp4chaps from the mp4v2 project (you will want v1.9.1 or higher):
mp4chaps --convert --chapter-qt test.mp4
converting chapters in file "test.mp4" from Nero to QuickTime
Rename the file from .mp4 to .m4b extension so iTunes will see it as an audiobook:
mv test.mp4 test.m4b
Proof that it works:
Of course, we aren’t putting in any tags such as “author” or “genre” in this example. Use your favorite tags editor to do so.
In iTunes 8, Apple has mentioned in their “What’s New in iTunes 8” that it is possible to upgrade your iTunes music to non-DRM’d for a small fee. Great!
I purchased quite a bit of music from the iTunes store when I ran WinXP as my primary desktop. Now I can legally convert them to something that Linux (and my Blackberry Storm) can read!
Let me just pull up iTunes and do that. Can’t find how do upgrade my iTunes music from within iTunes. Tried help but that didn’t give me any clue.
After much hunting on the apple.com website, I was able to figure out that while iTunes supports the upgrade, it appears that Apple really doesn’t want you to else they would have made it far less obscure on how to do it. In Apple’s TechDoc HT1711, you will be directed to go to a special link that will activate the upgrade process in iTunes 8.
Excerpt from the Apple TechDoc:
Yes. Any available upgrades will be shown on the Upgrade to iTunes Plus page. You can upgrade all of your items at once by using the Buy All button. This replaces all eligible previous purchases with iTunes Plus versions of the same items. You can also choose to make individual upgrades by clicking the Buy button to the right of each item. Song upgrades are available for 0.30 USD, video upgrades for 0.60 USD, and albums for 30 percent of the album price. The counter to the right of the “Upgrade to iTunes Plus” link in the Quick Links box will indicate when additional eligible content become available.
You can view your eligible iTunes Plus upgrade items by clicking here.
After you re-purchase *cough* upgrade your music, iTunes will download the music files (with the .M4a extension) and replace your old DRM encumbered music (with the .M4P extension). Note that the non-DRM music files will contain enough information for you to identified easily if you should share your music with your friends. The music files also contain water marks that will also survive if you should convert the non-DRM music files into mp3, ogg or flac files. So, share your music at your own risk.
I recently came across Fast Forward Radio by Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon. I hope you enjoy their podcast as much as I do
Tune in every Sunday evening for a positive take on the future with Phil Bowermaster, Stephen Gordon, and some of the most fascinating people helping to shape the world that’s coming.