"Legal" downloadable music pt.2

I delved into the murky waters of downloadable music again today. This time looking for "I Want More" by Faithless. Shock of shocks, itunes actually had it!
Plus they had a neat offer - sign up using PayPal and get 5 free downloads. So I popped the latest iTunes on my PC and set up and account, and downloaded the track for free. Great.

Well, no. You see iTunes downloads files in .m4p format - it's an advanced version of .aac encryption with digital rights management built in. ie. you can't play the music on anything other than the PC you used to download it. ie. it's a crap system. Fair use does mean that if I purchased the music (which I have) then I can play it wherever the hell I like (which I can't). I need the files to be in .mp3 format so I can play them on my various mp3-reading audio systems, like my car radio. But iTunes would rather I didn't do that. They'd rather I installed this PC in my car and play the music like that instead. Or they want me to buy an iPod. Neither of these is going to happen, so I needed to find a way of using my music in the way I wanted.

First of all you need to get the .m4p file into a format that is more useful to you - like an MP3 file. You need to strip the DRM out of it. I eventually discovered iRevolt, originally linked from this forum, and JHymn. These neat little apps incorporates something called FairKeys which allows you to recover your DRM key from Apple. After all - you own it!

Now you've got a .m4a file, you can do what you like with it - in my case convert it to an MP3 file so I can play it where I want. I used dBPowerAmp with their .m4a codec.

And now, sweet bliss, I have the music I paid for, in a format I can use. The mp3 file has the same quality as the downloaded .m4p file, but now I can play it in my car radio. Which, if I'd bought the CD at a store, I'd also be able to do.
To the world of DRM-strippers and music converters : Thank you.
To iTunes : let us use the music we purchased where we want, not where you want.


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