Converting Itunes to non-Apple players
December 19, 2006 6:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm new to Ipods. Could someone please explain how I can convert music I've bought on ITunes to mp3s playable on other type of non-Apple devices. When I backup purchased music, it comes out in mp4 format, which isn't transferable or playable in anything but Itunes or Ipods.
posted by quintno to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I think you could probably do it with a combination of downloaded programs to remove the DRM and convert to mp3, but the easy way is to burn an audio CD with your purchased music on using iTunes. Then stick the CD back in and rip it to mp3 like you would a normal music CD. This will give you DRM-free mp3 files. Obviously, however, this method is not ideal if you only have 1 or 2 tracks every now and then to convert rather than a whole album at once.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:03 AM on December 19, 2006

burn them to CD, then rip them out as MP3.

There may be software solutions too, but I don't personally buy DRMed material so I've not had this problem yet.
posted by clord at 6:04 AM on December 19, 2006

DRM Dumpster automates the burn-and-rerip process. Supposedly iMovie has a reencoding feature, but I've never tried it.

Do keep in mind that whichever of these methods you choose, you will be reencoding the audio. The result will be a file that doesn't sound as good as the file you started with, which is why reencoding is considered a Bad Thing by those who are fussy about quality.
posted by majick at 6:32 AM on December 19, 2006

There are various tools that can do this, probably with some hassle:

A general article on the subject.

I believe the chain is to use hymn to remove the DRM and then a tool like this to get to the final mp3.


Basically, when you buy thru itunes you are buying into apple's DRM, and its in apple's interest to make it so you can only play on ipods. Whether or not you agree with that, if you plan on using the itunes store a lot with non-apple players, you are going to face more hassle then either just using an ipod or getting music w/o DRM.
posted by rsanheim at 6:41 AM on December 19, 2006

Jhymn is the main program for stripping iTunes DRM without sacrificing audio quality. Unfortunately, it doesn't work with iTunes 6 yet. If you don't care about sound quality, you can burn and re-rip the songs. If you don't care about murky legality, you could probably find copies of the songs in MP3 format on a BitTorrent directory like
posted by designbot at 6:45 AM on December 19, 2006

Also, since you're new to iPods, recognize that you don't have to buy music from the iTunes store. Services like emusic (which only has indepedent music) sell non-DRM mp3s at a fraction of the cost of tracks from Apple (between 18 and 28 cents a track or something like that).

I've been an iPod user since G2 and have 100s of gigs of tunes. Haven't bought a single track from Apple.
posted by dobbs at 6:47 AM on December 19, 2006

FairGame is a little app that automates the iMovie hack that majick mentioned above.

But I'm with dobbs. I don't buy DRM'd music.
posted by adamrice at 7:08 AM on December 19, 2006

As long as you don't have iTunes 7.0.2, myfairtunes will crack the DRM and re-record with no loss of audio. Anything 7.0.2 and above, though, and you're out of luck - although myfairtunes does get current pretty quickly.

But yeah, there's really no reason to buy DRM'd music if you don't want to.
posted by pdb at 7:15 AM on December 19, 2006

mediacoder is the shit and should do what you want very easily. here are the formats it transfers to and from:

* MP3, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AAC+, AAC+V2, MusePack, WMA, RealAudio
* FLAC, WavPack, Monkey's Audio, OptimFrog, AAC Lossless, WMA Lossless, WAV/PCM
* H.264, Xvid, DivX, MPEG 1/2/4, H.263, Flash Video, 3ivx*, RealVideo*, Windows Media
* AVI, MPEG/VOB, Matroska, MP4, RealMedia*, ASF/WMV, Quicktime*, OGM*
* CD*, VCD*, DVD*, CUE Sheet*

posted by yonation at 7:42 AM on December 19, 2006

plus its opensource which is gr8
posted by yonation at 7:42 AM on December 19, 2006

the programme you want to use to strip the DRM is QTFairUse6. it's - by some distance - the most reliable and user-friendly of the various options out there.

you'll then have a bog-standard MP4 file which you can convert to MP3, if you choose to do so, using hundreds of programmes
posted by ascullion at 8:55 AM on December 19, 2006

You shouldn't convert from one lossy format to another if you can avoid it. You get a reduction in sound quality each time. See if your player can play unDRM'd AACs first. (AAC files are .m4a or .mp4; they are a widely supported standard.)
posted by yesno at 9:37 AM on December 19, 2006

mediacoder is the shit and should do what you want very easily. here are the formats it transfers to and from:

Note that "protected AAC" is not on the list. Don't waste your time downloading this program.
posted by kindall at 4:33 PM on December 19, 2006

rsanheim has it, pretty much. Hymn first to strip the DRM. Before converting it to, say, MP3 (another lossy format, which will always result in a loss in quality), check first to see if your player can handle un-DRMed AAC tracks. If so, just load up the resulting CRAP-less .mp4 or .m4a file and go. If not, there are plenty of tools for converting AAC to MP3, although the one rsanheim suggested is gonna cost you after 30 days. I use Audacity for a lot of audio-related stuff, but Winamp as well as VLC have utilities for batch-converting audio files.
posted by Spike at 2:51 PM on December 20, 2006

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