Streaming music and talk-radio programmes are widely available online, but what if you want to bring them with you? iRecordMusic lets you make MP3s and AAC files of RealMedia, QuickTime and Windows Media, plus other files commonly broadcast or playable on the Internet. It acts as a time-shifter for Internet radio, so you can listen to the audio files at your leisure, without requiring an Internet connection. The program integrates well with iTunes, so you can even add the newly created files to your iPod.
The program works like a Web browser, letting you navigate to a Web page and then offering the ability to record the audio you have chosen. It uses the WebKit functionality from Safari – so it will display Web pages identically, and can also block pop-ups. The interface to the program is minimal: the only initially visible addition is the coloured blob in the top right-hand corner. This is the indicator for the recording state – it also acts as a menu to start recording.
It operates by creating an uncompressed audio file of the output of the audio, so you’ll need about 10MB per minute of recording. The quality of the recorded file depends on the quality of the incoming stream: if you’re listening to a poorly encoded Internet radio station, then this will be reflected in the file that you eventually create.
Once encoding is underway, you can mute the programme – but you need to do this via iRecordMusic: altering it from the Web interface will change the volume of the recorded audio.
A future release will support normalization of the audio. The program crashed a couple of times in testing, usually on complex video-based Web pages, but it isn’t intended to be used as a Web browser.
You can keep the uncompressed AIFF files or process them into MP3 or AAC/MP4 files. iRecordMusic supports ID3 tags for artist and track or programme title information directly within the application.
A powerful feature is scheduling, via iCal, automatic recording of broadcast Internet radio programmes, thus mimicking the idea of home-taping but digitally on your Mac. The schedule system creates events in iCal, and triggers the recording via AppleScript. There is a detailed dictionary for controlling iRecordMusic, though documentation and examples are sparse, but developing. It is possible to launch multiple versions of the application and control them via AppleScript; the ability to record multiple streams is dependent on Internet connection speed, RAM, and free disk space.
iRecordMusic offers an elegant approach to recording music from the Internet. The ability to schedule recordings puts a record button for the Web under your control. Strongly recommended if you listen to Internet radio and have an MP3 player.