4 Replies Latest reply: Oct 12, 2009 4:56 AM by Tron55555
volkl77 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have about 20 songs in my iTunes that I downloaded from the iTunes store that show up as "protected AAC" files. Is there anyway that I can convert these to MP3? I have over 300 others that I have downloaded from the iTunes store that are not protected so i am a little confused. Thanks

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Mike Johnson12 Level 5 Level 5 (6,395 points)
    Before iTunes+ all tunes from the iTS were DRM encoded as .m4p AAC@128. Now they are .m4a AAC@256.

    For the older tunes you can burn them off as a audio CD through iTunes and you can figure what to do next - or you can repurchase the older DRM tunes for a discount and upgrade the tunes to the new format. As I remember the upgrade price in the USA iTS is .30 cents.

    MJ
  • Tron55555 Level 2 Level 2 (180 points)
    You are never downloading mp3's from iTunes like you might think. There are only two types of files you can download with iTunes, and neither is an .mp3. The two types are protected AAC files (.m4a) and purchased AAC files (.m4p). You may have heard of iTunes Plus. Anytime you download something with a plus sign next to it, you are downloading iTunes Plus (I believe everything on iTunes is iTunes Plus now actually). iTunes Plus files are the .m4p files (the purchased AAC files). However, some of your files may have been downloaded before everything was converted to iTunes Plus on iTunes, in which case they will still be in the .m4a format (protected AAC files). You can upgrade these songs to the superior .m4p (iTunes Plus purchased AAC files) for 30 cents each, or simply leave them be. The .m4p format is supposed to have better audio quality than the .m4a, but I've never even really noticed a difference, so you have to decide if it's worth the $.30 a song to you or not. If you do decide to upgrade the songs, go to iTunes help and you can find out how to do it easy enough. Or, if you are really having trouble finding it, come back here and ask and I'll try to find it for you.

    If you really want to convert the file into .mp3 (which I don't see why you would unless you need to save memory, since .m4a and .m4p formats are both very superior to .mp3 quality from what I understand), then you could download a converter for this (simply Google "m4a to mp3 converter" or something like that), or you may be able to just load them into QuickTime and re-save them as an .mp3 or something like that, but I don't know. Like I said, unless you need to save memory, I would definitely either leave them in the format they are in, or upgrade them from the .m4a to the .m4p with iTunes Plus.

    Hope that helps!
  • Mike Johnson12 Level 5 Level 5 (6,395 points)
    .m4p is protected and .m4a is no protection.

    You can convert .m4a - no DRM protection - files from within iTunes by changing your import settings. The only way to convert an .m4p (DRM protected)file is to burn it as a audio CD into the AIFF format within iTunes.

    The format for both .m4a and .m4p is AAC. An iTunes+ will be at 256 bit rate and the original ones will be a .m4p at 128 bits. The higher the bit rate the better the quality.

    MJ
  • Tron55555 Level 2 Level 2 (180 points)
    I just want to make a correction to my post above. Mike is right. The .m4p type is the protected AAC file and the .m4a type is the iTunes Plus purchased AAC file -- I had them reversed.