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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning Apps
First of all, I have been reluctant to document this 'feature' on the internet, because it uses Apple's own software, and they have a way of making such 'features' disappear in future versions. In any event, here goes...

To remove the FairPlay protection from a purchased song, open up iMovie and start a new project. Now click on the Audio button, and drag any protected song from the song list onto the audio portion of the timeline. iMovie will then proceed to convert the song for use in the project. After iMovie has finished converting the song, click on the Photos button and drag a photo onto the movie portion of the timeline. (As of version 5.0, iMovie requires some sort of visuals to be present before exporting the project. Earlier versions did not have this requirement.)

After the photo finishes rendering, go to the File menu and click on Share. Click on the QuickTime tab and under the 'Compress Movie for' drop-down, select Expert Settings and then click the Share button.

A 'Save exported file as' dialog box will pop up. Under the Export drop-down menu, select the Sound to AIFF option, name the file as desired, and save the file to your desired location. After a couple of minutes of converting, you will have a DRM-free AIFF file. Take that file and import it into iTunes converting it to AAC, MP3, of whatever format your heart desires.

As far as sound quality goes, I am sure there is some loss of quality somewhere along the way, having done three conversions. However, I can't hear it, and I am sure it is a lot less than going from digital to analog back to digital again (as is the case with burning to CD and reimporting). Also, I am not sure if this works if you do not have QuickTime Pro, as I do have it.

[robg adds: This trick is hardly a secret at this point -- Chris Breen mentioned it in February 2005 on Playlist, and a Google search for iMovie Tunes DRM returns 158,000 matches on the subject. Somehow, it's not been documented here yet, though, so now it is.]
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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning | 19 comments | Create New Account
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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: frgough on Aug 14, '06 07:45:05AM

Burning and reimporting to and from CD is an all-digital process. The data is only converted to analog when it is played through the speakers.

Another advantage to burning to CD and reimporting is that when the CD mounts after the burn, song title, album and artist information are preserved as long as you don't burn too many tracks at once. This saves you the hassle of having to re-key all that information in.

Note that if you eject the CD and remount it, the song information is NOT preserved, so rip right after you burn.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: peragrin on Aug 14, '06 01:26:11PM

Um not to be mean but CD's are analog. Sure they store the waves as ones and zero's but then so does a record player.

Also converting to cd format always loses information as it is a lossless codec. This iMovie trick probably will result in the same quiality file as if you rip and burn.



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I thought once I was found but it was only a dream



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: Mr. H on Aug 14, '06 01:57:45PM
Come again?

You are very, very wrong. Or, you are joking.

An LP stores music in grooves, which have a continuos (rather than discrete) depth. This groove is tracked by a needle, which converts the depth variations into music; there is a direct correspondence between instantaneous groove depth and instantaneous music waveform amplitude (ignoring signal:noise ratio issues). It is an entirely analogue process.

CD, on the other hand, samples music once every 44,100 times a second, and converts the value of the music at those instances to any one of 65,536 different values. These values can then be represented using 16 bits. If the value of the music waveform is not exactly one of these values, it is rounded accordingly.

In conclusion CDs are digital, LPs are analogue.

Further reading can be found here and here

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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: chyna4xena on Aug 15, '06 03:23:40AM

Two very interesting declarations, peragrin - firstly, that something is 'analog' yet stores data as 'ones and zeroes', and then secondly, that you will 'lose information' by employing a 'lossless' codec.

I suggest you start using Google's 'define:X' searches.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: jeremyp on Aug 15, '06 12:32:19PM

There's nothing in your post that is correct except possibly the last bit about iMovie.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: lukeandrews on Aug 14, '06 07:55:42AM
Audio Hijack also allows you to do the same thing as iMovie. It's not free, but the demo version allows you to record up to 10 minutes of sound and save it in a variety of formats. In fact, it one-ups iMovie because you can save the resulting file immediately into a smaller format than AIFF if you choose.

But I second the first comment: burning to CD and ripping it back loses no quality whatsoever -- there is no analog conversion when you're using the computer's built-in CD player.

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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: eno on Aug 14, '06 08:17:37AM

That's not correct, unless you keep all your music in AIFF format, Apple Lossless, or some other lossless encoding format.

iTMS tracks are encoded using lossy (perceptual) compression. If you burn to CD you're converting to AIFF (non-lossy), but then when you rip them back (presumably to MP3 or AC3) then you're re-encoding the data using lossy compression again, so that's two generations of lossy encoding, resulting in a reduction in sound quality.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: foresmac on Aug 14, '06 08:44:52AM

There is a loss in sound quality, but, as with all types of human perception, some people may notice and other may not. I'd try it with a few tracks and see if you find it acceptable or not. I encoded all my CDs at 128kbps AAC and I consider my self a fairly astute listener, however I rarely notice compression artifacts. I've also made audio CDs from those tracks that others have re-encoded into AAC or mp3 on their own machines and I've never heard anyone complain about sound quality.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: eno on Aug 14, '06 08:11:06AM

Although CDs are digital there may still be some loss involved in a burn/rip cycle. This is because audio CDs are less fussy about data correction than data CDs.

Even a single bad bit can be enough to ruin a data CD, so there is a lot of redundant information encoded on the disc for data CDs.

Audio CDs, on the other hand, are not so sensitive to data errors (think about how badly a disc can be scratched before it becomes unplayable) and do not dedicate as much disc space to redundancy and data correction.

To see this in action for yourself do the following: start with an AIFF file and burn it once to a data CD and once to an audio CD; then copy the AIFF file back from the data CD and rip it from the audio CD. If you perform checksums (for example, with md5) on the data CD and on the AIFF file that you copied from it you'll find that the checksums are identical. If you do the same on the audio CD and the rip from the audio CD you'll most likely see a discrepancy.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: Mr. H on Aug 14, '06 02:07:56PM

Actually, Audio CDs have a ton of error correction on them too. The difference between Audio CDs and Data CDs is that if you are playing an Audio CD, the CD player can't go back and re-read the data if it made a mistake the first time, because there'd be a break in the audio. Unless, of course, you use a fast drive and some buffering, like in high-end Meridian CD players.

Reading from Data CDs, on the other hand, doesn't usually have any real-time constraints, so the drive can go back and re-read data that it got wrong. Computer CD drives usually read Audio CDs in the real-time constrained mode (don't go back and re-read), unless you use a special program, or tick the "use error correction" tick box in iTunes. This usually means that it'll take longer for the CD to be ripped.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: zedwards on Aug 14, '06 09:31:14AM

This is good to know. I have always used HijackIT (along with Audio Hijack, which i bought for something else) and don't really notice a difference using hi-fi headphones...maybe im deaf or something, but it seems to be a good solution. I wonder how the difference is? if it is just one generation loss for each technique or now.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: jbelkin on Aug 14, '06 12:06:49PM

Yea, I suppose if CD-R's were $10 each this "hint" might be worth it but with CD-R's at $.01 or cheaper, this hint is a long way around a short solution plus on a CD-R, you have a backup of that track (plus all the track info). The QT audio encoder is really not that good or its purposely lower res. If you burn to a CD and then reimport as a 320+ VBR AAC or Mp3, it's pretty hard to tell the difference if it's rock or pop ... but then you probably shouldn't be buying jazz or classical at 128kpbs.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: pecosbill on Aug 14, '06 12:43:51PM
There's nothing currently preventing you from burning to a CDRW and ripping back. Net cost: $negligable

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Pecos Bill

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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: zane on Aug 14, '06 05:37:31PM

If only you could do the same with DRM'd video from iTMS. I hate that I can't watch my iTMS downloaded TV shows on my PSP, or VIDEO_TS them for DVD.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: frgough on Aug 15, '06 06:57:10AM

If your Mac is capable of doing s-video out and you have a DVD recorder, try playing it through your dvd recorder and recording to DVD that way.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: zane on Aug 15, '06 03:36:06PM

It does indeed, that's exactly how I was thinking of doing it as a last resort.

I don't have a dedicated DVR, so I'm thinking sending from my Mac's S-Video to the video-pass-through feature on my digital handy cam (have never used it, hope it works!), recording to a MiniDV, then importing it back into iMovie... then finally DVD.

Not an ideal solution (and horribly laborious) but unfortunately we have no better one! :)

Actually, there is another method that uses software to capture the video stream, much like capturing audio with Audio Hijack, but the only two programs I found were PC-only, and shareware (I'm all for free methods when it comes to things like thwarting DRM). And I'm not sure what happens when it comes to capturing & re-syncing the audio in the process either - sounds potentially nightmarish.



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: jt777 on Aug 15, '06 09:54:13AM
Um not to be mean but CD's are analog.

Um, no they aren't.

Sure they store the waves as ones and zero's but then so does a record player.

CDs do. They are digital. Records do not.


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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: pocketkaos on Aug 16, '06 10:34:17AM

How is this different from burning a disk first?

When you burn a disk, it converts the audio track to "redbook" audio, and then you RIP it, which compresses and encodes the data a second time.

Your solution converts it to an uncompressed WAV/AIFF type audio file (same as redbook audio), and then you have to RIP the file as an MP3, AAC, et al. which compresses and encodes it a second time.

How does this help?



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Convert iTMS songs to a DRM-free format without burning
Authored by: pelooyen on Oct 13, '07 03:15:36AM
Actually there is a great little freeware program that does all this for you. So with this app, it IS much simpler than the CDRW solution. Find it at http://seidai.50webs.com/

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