Getting m4a to work with rhythmbox (itunes to mp3 conversion)

This entry was posted by Monday, 6 July, 2009
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Note: This tutorial is related to Ubuntu, however the clueful can use it easily enough

My kids old apple bit the dust the other day, so i thought ‘stuff buying another overpriced machine, their linux box can suffice’
They use gnome, and are familiar with rhythmbox – which i might add, works brilliantly with iPods.

So after a few days the kids started moaning that half the music had disappered. I double checked, and it turns out half it bought of iTunes was in m4a format which wasnt readable.
If you are not tied to rhythmbox then jump in and install xmms and xmms-faad packages.

If you are then this is the solution.
Install the Medibuntu sources
sudo wget`lsb_release -cs`.list --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list; sudo apt-get -q update; sudo apt-get --yes -q --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring; sudo apt-get -q update

Then install the following packages
sudo apt-get install libavcodec-unstripped-52 libavdevice-unstripped-52 libavformat-unstripped-52 libavutil-unstripped-49 libpostproc-unstripped-51 libswscale-unstripped-0 ffmpeg

Now convert!
ffmpeg -i file.m4a -acodec libmp3lame file.mp3

Now you need to add the id3 tags,
id3tool -t "title of song" -a "album name" -r "Artist" file.mp3


4 Responses to “Getting m4a to work with rhythmbox (itunes to mp3 conversion)”

  1. Nice tip. The libraries should make some other multimedia apps work better as well (ie anything that uses ffmpeg).

    Depending on your keeness you can also add tags directly via the ffmpeg command (see man ffmpeg). Better still, for gui based bulk tag/file management I recommend Easytag ( which is available in several distributions including ubuntu.

  2. cheers for that, I was actually going to write a shell script that did them en-mass and tagged them also, but it was late at night and my brain was seriously having issues 😀

  3. Thats cool! I had trouble streaming BFM on my Mint box tonight, so I went to my local station instead (active 89fm) but saw the link on BFM to the approprite tar. I force my kids to use Linux too : ) One has Ubuntu Hardy heron, the other Jalopy. One runs her Ipod shuffle no probs with GTKpod. The other had to install wine as her uni lectures only come in windows format, how bad is that. Saw you on the box tonight! Well done!

  4. world famous for weight loss instead of linux *sigh* 😀

    I was also on this morning on Sunrise 😀

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