Can Songs on a CD be Rearranged?

On a CD from the library, there are 22 songs I want to copy to my computer, but the titles are all in front of other songs. In other words, all the songs are there as are all the titles, but they’re all mixed up. Could it be that a former user did this (it’s a 2-CD set and the first CD is fine), and if so is there a way I can fix it so that when I click on a title the correct song will play? The way it is now, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother plays when I click on Hey Willy, for example.

MizQuirk, hoping for more of the kind of help I’ve gotten here in the past from people who seem to know how to do everything

Are you sure the CD you got from the library is the actual, published disc, and not a copy? AFAIK, you can’t change the order of songs on a disc that’s already burnt. You’d have to copy the songs onto your harddrive, change the ID3 info (the data encoded in the audio file that tells you artist, title, etc.) and then burn a new copy of the disc.

Either way, you should be able to correct it when you copy the disc for yourself. Once the files are on your HD, you can name them however you like, i.e. correctly.


I’m unclear on a couple of things.

Are you saying that the printed CD booklet lists the songs incorrectly for how you find them on the CD?


Printed cover says

  1. Michael Jackson - P.Y.T.
  2. Captain Beefheart - Get A Job
  3. Slayer - Stain Of Mind
  4. The Kingsmen - Louie, Louie

but when you try and play track 4 it is really Slayer, track 1 is The Kingsmen, etc.?

OR are you finding that the software you use (Musicmatch Jukebox, WinAmp, etc.) is coming up with the song listings incorrectly?

Also, it will be helpful if you can tell us what software you use to encode mp3s and/or manage your music files. It is possible to encode mp3s and then change the tag info and file name info to be accurate. I do it all the time because the info I get online is often incorrect in some small way. But I need to know which software you use to walk you thru it.

Once a CD is burned, either data or cda (compact disc audio; this is the format used by CD players), it cannot be changed, so it seems highly unlikely to me that a former user did anything.

(bold added)

btw, the tag info is the information that is encoded with the audio such as artist name, song title, etc.

A standard audio CD has no associated tags – just a table of contents. (ie; “TRACK 1 starts at X and ends at Y; TRACK 2 starts at X and ends at Y,” etc.)

True. But Windows Media Player (the likely player in use by the OP) uses CDDB to retrieve such information, and will add it to the tracks if you choose to “rip” them.

I should point out that ripping music you do not own is bad, mmmmkay? Ripping music you do own is just fine. I think that albums checked out from the library fall under the heading of “music you do not own” but I have not made a study of the matter.

My guess (and I think Snowboarder Bo is headed this way as well) is that the information coming back from CDDB is bad. I’ve had that happen to me on a couple of albums. The fix is pretty simple. Assuming you’re using Windows Media Player (I have version 10), right-clicking on the tracks will give you an “edit” option that you can use to change the track names (and artists) to the right ones.

…I did it! It is Windows Media Player that I’m using on this computer, which is new to me (the computer and this issue of Media Player both). But I did get the names changed in front of each song in this album. It helped that they played in the order they were listed on the album jacket. It is a real album, and not a copy. I’m not savvy enough to know what CDDB is, nor do I know what number this Media Player is, but mission accomplished. I feel like we’re on “Ripping With the Stars.”

Love your diplomacy, Brainiac4. I won’t be ripping any more songs from library CDs. I thought of it as copying when that’s what it was called on my former Media Player; it all sounds much more violent and scary now–ripping, burning, etc.

Thanks again for your collective help.

Congrats, glad to hear it worked out. CDDB is a (basically) free online service that gives you track listing information. As noted before, the CD itself doesn’t know the track titles, so that information has to come from somewhere.

If you want to know which version of Media Player you’re using, click on ‘Help’ in the menu bar and then the last item in the resulting dropdown list, ‘About Windows Media Player’ – that will give you a box telling you what version you are running.

I’m not entirely sure why “ripping” caught on as the term, but it did. You’re still simply copying them, though – the act hasn’t changed, just the language. One thing I should note: if you own the album on cassette or LP, then copying the tracks from a library CD is fine as well. If you own a copy of the work in question, then you have the right to make copies of it for backup or personal use.

Aha, this player is a version 10 also. And now that I’m brimming with new-found confidence, can you imagine how stupid I feel when I can’t see anything that suggests “New Playlist” so I can just start one? :confused:

This seems right to me, and I wouldn’t have any ethical qualms in doing so, but the nitpicker in me is wanting to pipe up and say, “But what if the music on the CD has been remastered or remixed or otherwise fiddled with—do you have a right to the new & improved versions of those tracks?”

And while I’m here, I’ll mention that I, too, have had the OP’s experience of seeing song titles come up in the wrong order (or with other mistakes) in Windows Media Player.