How to Put Music on an iPhone From BearShare
By John Lister
BearShare is a file sharing website that specifically deals with music files that do not infringe copyright. All files are scanned against a music industry database before they can be shared and downloaded. You can transfer some but not all files which you download from BearShare to your iPhone.
BearShare does not work via a website or streaming audio. Instead it is a download service which works on a peer-to-peer basis. This means you use a software application that collects music files in small pieces from other users and combines the pieces on your computer, rather than getting the whole file from a single location. The software is free to download, install and run; you must register a free account to use it. The software works only on Windows PCs, so you can't use BearShare to download directly to an iPhone.
BearShare allows users to share and download files only within a narrow range of specific media file formats. This means you cannot download executable files that could harm your computer. For the most part, files you download from BearShare should be safe, though you can scan them with your chosen security software for added reassurance.
All audio files you download from BearShare should be in either MP3 or Windows Media Audio formats. IPhones can play all MP3 formats and iTunes can convert Windows Media Audio formats to a format suitable for the iPhone. As a result, you shouldn't need any independent conversion software to use audio files from BearShare on iTunes.
Some files on BearShare are available to download only if you have a paid Premium subscription to the site. You can play these files on your computer only while your subscription is active. You can transfer these files to some portable music players, marked with a Windows 7 Logo, but this does not work with the iPhone.
Although iTunes can handle the Windows Media Audio format, it will only work with files that do not have rights management protection. This means any files that can be downloaded from BearShare only with a Premium subscription can't be transferred to an iPhone. You should be able to transfer Windows Media Audio format files that are available to users with a free BearShare account to your iPhone.
Adding to iPhone
To add BearShare music to your iPhone, make a note of the location on your hard drive where you save files downloaded from BearShare. Open iTunes, click "File" and select either "Add File to Library" or "Add Folder to Library." ITunes will add mp3 files without conversion and will automatically convert Windows Media Audio format files to a format suitable for the iPhone. Once you've added the files to your iTunes library, they'll show up on your iPhone the next time you sync it to your computer.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.