Convert iTunes Music M4P to MP3

Before January 2009, Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) is integrated into iTunes, which manages songs purchased from iTunes Store in the m4p file format.

Later, iTunes initiated a shift into selling DRM-free music in most countries, marketed as iTunes Plus. On January 6, 2009, Apple announced that DRM had been removed from 80% of its music catalog in the U.S. Full iTunes Plus availability was achieved in the U.S. on April 7, 2009; however, television episodes, many books, and films are still FairPlay-protected.

Due to DRM, you can only make a maximum of 7 CD copies of any particular playlist containing songs in the m4p file format and only access your purchased songs in the m4p file format on a maximum of 5 computers. Songs in the m4p file format can only be played on a computer with iTunes or an iPhone/iPad/iPod; non-Apple devices do not support FairPlay encoded tracks.

In this post, I’d like to focus on this special file type *.m4p and share with you 4 different ways to convert iTunes music from m4p to mp3, so that you can play your legally purchased iTunes songs without any limitation.

Note: iTunes Music has gone DRM free since April 7, 2009. So please go ahead if you happen to own tracks before that date. Otherwise, you may simply skip this post.

1. Convert M4P to MP3 by burning a CD and ripping it back

  • Insert a CD-R or CD-RW disc into your CD-ROM drive.
  • Burn m4p music to make an Audio CD.
  • Insert the burned disc into your CD-ROM drive again
  • Import the music tracks on the burned disc as MP3 files.

2. Convert M4P to MP3 with TuneClone

For details, please refer to: How to convert M4P to MP3 using TuneClone?

3. Convert M4P to MP3 with iMovie

In the iMovie window, select the Media tab located between Themes and Editing. You will notice that the top right portion of the interface now offers a media browser. Select the Audio tab and locate the playlist which contains purchased music, or search by artist/title.

Convert M4P to MP3 with iMovie

Select the DRM-laden song and drag the file from the media browser into the iMovie timeline where it says Drag audio here to build your project.

In order to export the song, iMovie requires that a visual image be associated with the audio track – iMovie thinks that it is going to be exporting a movie. Simply drag a blank image (or any other image) to the track above the previously imported audio file. Once iMovie has processed the image, select the Share… sub menu item from found inside Share in iMovie’s menu bar.

Convert M4P to MP3 with iMovie

Ensure that Expert Settings is selected in the Compress movie for drop-down menu. Selecting Expert Settings mode will provide the options to export the file as an audio file. Select the Share button.

In the Save as… dialogue, select Sound to AIFF in the Export drop-down menu, Choose an appropriate directory for iMovie to export to, title the file, and select Save. Depending on your machine configuration, iMovie will compress and export the movie project as an audio file in 15-40 seconds.

Convert M4P to MP3 with iMovie

Locate the exported AIFF audio file and drag to your iTunes Library. Right-click on the file and select Convert Selection to MP3. Once completed, Get Info on the new file, edit meta data, add album art, and trash the originally purchased and AIFF audio files from your iTunes library.

4. Convert M4P to MP3 with FairGame

Convert M4P to MP3 with FairGame

FairGame is freeware to convert iTunes music m4p to mp3 on Mac OS X. It will convert the m4p songs to an unprotected format and keep all the original metadata, lyrics and artwork.

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