Join CD tracks in Music

I’m ripping some newly purchased CDs and I want to join a few adjacent tracks together (intro to a song, the song, outro). I used to be able to just highlight the tracks in question and pick “Join” from a menu (which has moved over the years). But when I tried it today (Music, macOS Big Sur), I couldn’t find the menu option anywhere.

I was going to vent my spleen all over my blog about this (eeyew), but I did some web searching and found this Apple Discussion post:

Join CD tracks option has disappeared - Apple Community

Keeping with Apple’s tradition of making features impossible to find, one helpful person pointed out that in order to do this, you now need to click the column heading with the track number even if the tracks are already sorted that way (as they are immediately after CD insertion). Then, and only then will “Join CD Tracks” appear in the “gear” menu in the upper-right corner of the app. Once joined, the tracks will rip into a single file/track in your library.

So problem solved (for the moment).

Of course, there’s still no way to join non-adjacent tracks anymore. A long time ago (not sure when this was dropped), you could drag CD tracks into any order, select some and join them. And if you ripped the disc at that point, the selected tracks would be merged into a single track. But that hasn’t worked for a very long time.

I’ve long used an app called Join Together via Doug’s AppleScripts

to accomplish this.
I mostly use it to replicate Side 1 and Side 2 from a memory of listening to a vinyl record, sometimes to do like you are suggesting, and add a short intro track to the main song track, such as on Tom Waits’ Nighthawks At The Diner.

Yeah, that’s another feature Apple dropped over the years.

Once upon a time (I don’t remember when), you could do a “Join Tracks” in your library as well as for CD tracks. Then the standard “Convert…” menu item (e.g for converting AAC to MP3 or whatever) would merge the tracks as for the converted item.

But that also went away. Today, if I need to merge something that’s already been ripped, I use Audacity, but it’s not nearly as convenient.

I don’t join tracks (and I use Music very little) so my suggestion may be impossible.

Could you select the tracks you want to join, write them to a CD in the order you want (perhaps being limited to two at a time), then rip the new CD? Certainly the tracks would be adjacent on the new CD. Would that solve the problem? (Of course, the remedy might be worse than the malady. It sounds like a lot of effort.)

That can certainly work, but burning a disc and ripping it back is pretty time consuming.

If the tracks aren’t DRM-protected, it’s easier to use an audio editor.

Yes, I was alluding to the cost in time (and CDs) by “Of course, the remedy might be worse than the malady.”

Thanks for the confirmation that it would actually work. It seemed like it would, but I wasn’t sure. And I foresaw no situation in which I would confirm it by experiment.

I did this a few times, not for joining tracks, but to ensure that I have a DRM-free copy of tracks I bought when Apple was applying it to iTunes purchases. I burned the tracks to CDs and then re-ripped them. I have backup copies of those rips, should they ever be needed (e.g. if I decide I want to buy a non-Apple music player or if Apple ever turns off the DRM server they way Microsoft did for Zune tracks).

To avoid wasting discs, I burned them to CD-RW and then erased them afterward. So wasting a lot more time, but without wasting any media. This was back when CD-R media was expensive enough that it seemed like a good idea.

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