General Question

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Does iTunes music come with DRM licensing?

Asked by FireMadeFlesh (16548points) February 27th, 2010

I have never bought music from the iTunes store before, as I have an aversion to Apple and all their products, and I prefer buying hard copies of CDs to get the higher quality recording.
I have been given an iTunes gift card, so now I have to learn all about it. Will the music I buy be protected in any way? I plan to uninstall the program as soon as I have the music, so will the songs play in Windows Media Player, and will I be able to burn them to CD?

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17 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Yes. But it is easy to defeat – there are many programs designed for just this purpose.

ShiningToast's avatar

Some do and some don’t. Regular iTunes songs ($.99) have DRMs. iTunes plus songs ($1.29) are DRM free.

The DRMed songs will not work in WMP. To get around this, burn them to a cd, poof, DRMs are gone. Uninstall iTunes if you choose, import said cd to WMP.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ShiningToast Thanks. Which option would you recommend? What quality are the files?

ShiningToast's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Not all songs are iTunes plus, you’ll have to see if they have any ones that you like.

I’m pretty sure the quality is all the same, regardless of iTunes Plus or not. I think you’re just paying for the DRM-free-ness. iTunes plus is 256 kb/s, regular is 128 kb/s.

If you don’t mind paying a little extra so you don’t have to burn a cd, then get iTunes plus. It’s really just personal preference. If you have the money, go plus.

jrpowell's avatar

Since March 2009 all music on iTunes has been DRM free. So you just need a player that can play AAC files.

DarkScribe's avatar

They all l have DRM – the ones that you pay more for are less restrictive you can play them without regard to the number of machines. If you use DRM removal software it finds the code on both varieties. DRM doesn’t necessarily have to inhibit playing. Also iTunes in different countries does different things. It depends on a number of issues surrounding local copyright laws. In Australia we cannot buy many songs that are released through iTunes in the US and UK.

ShiningToast's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Listen to @johnpowell. I’m always out of date :p.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@DarkScribe Can you recommend any good DRM removal programs?

@johnpowell I read that it had been removed, but only in select countries. Do you know if it has been removed for Australia? I think I’ve got a converter that will change AAC to mp3 for me, so that part shouldn’t be a problem.

jrpowell's avatar

No more DRM by the end of March

iTunes Plus is Apple’s DRM-free encoding for the iTunes Store; music is encoded using the Advanced Audio Codec format (AAC) at 256Kbps. Beginning today, 8 million of the iTunes Store’s 10 million songs will be offered without DRM; the entire catalog is expected to go DRM-free by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009.

Users who have already purchased music from the iTunes Store protected with Apple’s FairPlay DRM will be able to upgrade their entire library of previously-purchased songs, though an additional fee is required—30 cents per song.


As far as I know it applies in all countries. And you can use iTunes to convert them to mp3 if you want.

DarkScribe's avatar

The best tools for it are Australian developed – the guy doing got threatened with a law suit by Apple a bit before Christmas last year. Not sure whether it is still available. I’ll Google around and get back to you.

ps I just checked the last few downloads from iTunes and they play on non Apple devices without modification, but they still show the DRM code, even if it isn’t actively inhibiting playing. There are still a huge number of songs in the UK/US iTunes stores that are not available in the Australian store. I went to the trouble of re-activating my US account in order to gain access.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Thanks guys, I appreciate it.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes. One of the reasons I do not use iTunes. Pirateable mpeg layer 3 FTW.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

The only use for iTunes is if you have an iTool (iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iDouche etc,).

DarkScribe's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy The only use for iTunes is if you have an iTool (iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iDouche etc,

Why the negative bias? It is works on both PC and Mac – has a lot of very useful features with music, radio, TV, and video. I have just about every possible alternative app with PC and Mac and much prefer iTunes. It works with my Blackberry (with a 32 GB memory card) just as well as it does with my iPod.

gtreyger's avatar

And it is also DRM-free!

jrpowell's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy :: iTunes works really well on a Mac. It isn’t the best on Windows but it isn’t bad.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy As I said, I have an aversion to Apple products, but this was a gift that I plan on putting to good use. And there are far better reasons not to use Apple than just their naming.

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