Once upon a time, way back in the day, in an entertainment industry far, far, away from the 21st century, Napster ruled the music world and songs were free for all to, ah, um, uh, well, share. Yeah. That’s it. Share.
Sadly for everyone except the music industry the days of Napster are long gone, to be replaced by DRM– digital rights management music which locked your songs to iTunes and an Apple account. Those days are mostly gone, thanks to iTunes, Amazon, Google, and free streaming music, but some of us are left with an iTunes library with a few thousand DRM songs purchased post-Napster but pre-DRM free.
Apple once had a program to convert the music to a higher bit-rate and remove the DRM– for about 29-cents per song; and with a few thousand iTunes-purchased songs I decided not to worry about it. Now I’m worried about it, so I’d like to remove the DRM from my iTunes music so I can have that clean, fresh feeling of complete ownership of my own song collection. How does one get rid of DRM music?
Well, as it turns out, there are a couple of ways. One is iTunes Match which is $25 a year. That requires a number of hoops to jump through, which then replaces the old DRM songs with DRM-free 256-kbps replacements which you can keep. Rob Pegoraro has some steps to take in USA Today. It’s convoluted, but gets your music collection back into your ownership without restrictions. More on those options in a moment.
What about TV shows and movies? Those have DRM restrictions, too. For those, simply install TunesKit DRM Media Converter on your Mac and let it do all the work.
All the work? Yes. All. The. Work.
TunesKit removes the DRM from iTunes movies and TV show; those M4V videos, and converts them to MP4, M4V, MOV, AVI, and more. It also retains AC3 Dolby 5.1 audio track and closed captions, and can set M4V movies to run on iPad and iPhone or other mobile devices.
What’s not to like? Fire up TunesKit, select the media in the library to convert, and let it do the deed. Easy peasy.
What if you don’t want to jump through Apple’s hoops to get your entire DRM-protected iTunes music library converted to DRM-free? TunesKit has a music converter utility, too. It works much the same way and converted DRM-locked music to MP4, MP3 AAC, and other formats, complete with ID tags and metadata.
There’s even a TunesKit app to remove the DRM from digital books; iBooks and audiobooks.I had a couple of older movies which didn’t convert completely, and some songs I bought in the early days of iTunes and FairPlay and they converted only partially, but some of them converted OK after a repeat session.
How is all this possible?
What’s Going On?
How is it possible that all these media producers can lock DRM into music, TV shows, movies, eBooks and audiobooks, and all it takes is a few clicks to get it unlocked?
Two words. China. OK, that’s two syllables. But you get the idea. If Chinese hackers can break into government and corporate servers and databases, then it’s probably child’s play for the same folks to create an app that benefits users at the expense of corporate media bigwigs.
The website is slick and polished, but you won’t find any of these apps on the Mac App Store. But so far, the two I purchased– for movies and TV shows, and music– work just fine. The company claims 300,000 customers, offers a 60-day money back guarantee, and lifetime upgrades for free.
What’s not to like?
China. That scares me. Where did my credit card information go? Is this even legal? I don’t have answers to all my own questions, so caveat emptor and all that, but don’t you think it’s time everyone dispensed with the DRM plague?