iTunes music purchase without using iTunes software
January 19, 2014 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way to buy music from iTunes without installing the iTunes application?

I received a $50 gift card to iTunes for Christmas. I would like to use it to purchase some music, but I disdain the iTunes music software. Is there any way to accomplish my purchase without installing iTunes?

Secondly, is any of the music Apples sells truly DRM free? If I do have to install iTunes, I would like to immediately uninstall it and close my account after making my purchase and downloading my music. If I uninstall iTunes will I lose my music?
posted by parakeetdog to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can burn a playlist to a disk. At least in OSX.
posted by HuronBob at 11:07 AM on January 19, 2014

Secondly, is any of the music Apples sells truly DRM free?

Apple removed DRM from all of its music five years ago.
posted by kindall at 11:16 AM on January 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

The music is DRM free. You can buy music through your iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone, but if you don't have one of those devices I think you'll need to use iTunes.
posted by backwards guitar at 11:26 AM on January 19, 2014

Easiest way might be to just sell the gift card and spend the money on something else. You'll have to set up an account at the iTunes music store which you might find somewhat annoying as well. As everyone else said the music is just normal MP3s now.
posted by jessamyn at 11:27 AM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

The music files sold on the iTunes store are in AAC format, but do not have copy protection ("DRM") bits on them. You can play the files on AAC-capable devices, which most capable music players should be able to do, or convert them to MP3 with iTunes or other apps.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2014

If I uninstall iTunes will I lose my music?

If you go that route, you should find where the music files are stored on your computer, and then physically move or copy them to another folder, before uninstalling iTunes. Just as a precaution.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:41 AM on January 19, 2014

Do you have a friend with iTunes installed who can simply redeem your gift card, download the songs for you, and hand them to you on a thumb drive?
posted by tyllwin at 12:33 PM on January 19, 2014

iTunes (and Amazon) MP3s may not have DRM, but they do embed personal data about the purchaser in PRIV, COMM, and UFID metadata tags. Desiccate and ID3-TagIT will remove those types of tags, if you're on Windows. I'm not sure what you can do on a Mac.
posted by limeonaire at 12:36 PM on January 19, 2014 [6 favorites]

You can use an iTunes gift card for software through the (standalone) app store, if there is a Mac OS X system in your life. Of course that also requires an Apple ID/account.
posted by spitbull at 1:11 PM on January 19, 2014

You might come out better using a service to swap an iTunes card for a non-iTunes card or cash.

See this CNN article for details about them and how they work.
posted by slavlin at 7:34 PM on January 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agree that by far your best bet is to convert it to cash and buy actual mp3s from a preferable source.
posted by turkeyphant at 9:20 PM on January 19, 2014

Thanks for your help! I might just have a friend purchase the songs for me and then use Desiccate to remove my details from the meta data.
posted by parakeetdog at 6:58 PM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

FYI, if you use Desiccate, make sure to check that the tags were in fact removed; when I ran my whole music collection through it, I found that it missed some tags in some files. Now I clean most new MP3 albums with ID3-TagIT, which can remove (though not read the contents of) any "unsupported" ID3 tags/fields like PRIV frames, as well as embedded album covers (which can apparently also include personal info), all in one program. I also usually give new MP3s a pass with MP3tag and delete any comments (another place they put personal info), fix capitalization and punctuation, remove annoying additions to song titles like "(feat. So-and-so)"...

And all of this is why I mostly just buy and rip physical CDs now. You can always sell them later; if you buy them on Amazon you immediately get a (tainted) MP3 copy to download if you need instant gratification; you have a way to replace the songs if they're deleted...and you mostly don't have to worry about your ripped files having creepy embedded metadata.
posted by limeonaire at 4:47 PM on January 21, 2014

« Older Leipzig for the weekend - make it awesome for us   |   ergonomic lounge chair for tall person in an... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.