Using iTunes music on my website.
February 21, 2009 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Can I use iTunes music on my website if it is not for resale? If so, how do I get it on the website (it has to be in MP3 format).

I'm creating a website and would like to have song playing when the site opens. I have picked the song I want to use, but I am not sure about the legality of using music downloaded from iTunes. The song will not be available for users to download from my website. How do I go about doing this?

Also, the song has to be in MP3 format in order to be compatible. How can I convert my iTunes songs to that format in order to upload to the site?
posted by junipero to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I don't know for sure, but depending on the content of the site you may be able to get away with fair use claims, but I really don't know. However, if your site is not for a particular artist, many people will be annoyed by autoplaying music. Even if it is for a particular artist, many people will be annoyed. I wouldn't include autoplaying music if it wasn't absolutely necessary.
posted by dogwelder at 11:58 AM on February 21, 2009

Best answer: I'm almost certain that you cannot legally play a copyright-protected recording on your website. It is a kind of public performance. It doesn't matter that you bought a copy of the recording, and it doesn't matter that you're not selling the recording.

Also, in all likelihood, you will be making the mp3 file available for download, even if you don't provide a direct link to it.

To convert a protected AAC file into an mp3, the simplest thing to do is to burn the song to an audio CD, and then re-rip it back into iTunes, being certain that you've set your import encoder to mp3.
posted by thinman at 12:12 PM on February 21, 2009

No. To license music to use on your not-for-profit website, go to
posted by annathea at 12:20 PM on February 21, 2009

Usage Rules

(i) Your use of the Products is conditioned upon your prior acceptance of the terms of this Agreement.

(ii) You shall be authorized to use the Products only for personal, noncommercial use.
-iTunes TOS

It looks like iTunes doesn't have a problem with it specifically, as long as it's non-commercial - I'm not sure if that means you can't make money from ads, but that's something you should look into. Your big issue here is Fair Use, which I'm pretty sure this isn't (IANAL). Even Wikipeda only uses 30 second clips. Check out the AC/DC page for an example of this, and here are WP's guidelines.
posted by niles at 12:23 PM on February 21, 2009

Oh, and as far as embedding the music on your website, you'll probably want to use one of the many available free Flash players. JW Media Player is a popular one.
posted by thinman at 12:24 PM on February 21, 2009

(ii) You shall be authorized to use the Products only for personal, noncommercial use.

I'm pretty sure that playing a recording on a public website doesn't constitute "personal" use. In the end, however, it isn't Apple that is going to care about copyright infringement... it's the copyright holder.

But, hey, I'm not a lawyer. I could be mistaken.
posted by thinman at 12:35 PM on February 21, 2009

I'm not sure what you meant by
Also, the song has to be in MP3 format in order to be compatible.
One option you might want to check out is Simfy (the company I work for partners with them...). It's a flash player you can embed on your website, and you can either choose from their music "bank" or upload your own songs.

They've got licensing agreements, plus I think it's technically "streaming radio". Anyway, may be worth taking a look.
posted by polexa at 3:27 AM on February 22, 2009

When it comes to the conversion part of the question, if you bought the file from the iTunes store recently and it's "iTunes Plus", you can convert it to MP3 in iTunes very easily without going through the whole burn to a CD and re-rip rigmarole that you had to do during the DRM days.

I'm not going to get involved in the copyright question. I just wanted to mention that now that there are files without DRM it's pretty simple to convert to MP3 if you need one.
posted by ckolderup at 2:33 PM on March 26, 2009

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