How can I burn MP3s from my computer onto CD-Rs?

Hand holding an mp3 player
Mp3 players are convenient and easy to use. Roger Brooks / Getty Images

MP3 music files are great when you are sitting at your computer. If you have one of the portable MP3 players, it is also easy to carry MP3s with you and listen to them through headphones. But if you want to play MP3 files in your car and your car has a CD player in it, or if you want to play them on your home stereo, then what you need to do is move your MP3 files onto a CD.

To create a CD from MP3 files, you need to do three things:


  1. You need to download the MP3 files you want to listen to onto your computer. You can get MP3 files from places like
  2. As described in How MP3 Files Work, an MP3 file is a compressed version of a CD track. You therefore need to expand the MP3 file back into a full-size CD track. This process is known as decoding, and you need to have decoding software on your computer to do it. You can purchase a decoding package or download free or trial software from the Internet.
  3. You then collect all of the CD tracks together in a directory and write them to a writable CD. Your CD-R drive normally comes with software for doing this. When you write out the audio tracks, you have to be sure to tell the software that you wish to create an audio CD rather than a CD-ROM.

Since MP3 files can be easily downloaded from the Internet and your CD-R drive comes with software for writing audio tracks to a writeable CD, the main thing you need is the decoder. Two good places to look for a decoder include:

Download your songs, decode them and write them to a CD. Then you can pop the CD into any CD player and listen to your songs anywhere!

Here are several interesting links:


Frequently Answered Questions

Why won't my MP3 files burn to a CD?
There could be a few reasons why your MP3 files won't burn to a CD. One reason could be that the files are not in MP3 format. Another reason could be that the files are too big to fit on the CD. Finally, the CD burner might not be compatible with MP3 files.
Can I burn an audio on CD-R?
Yes, you can burn an audio CD on a CD-R.