Digital Rights Management and iTunes

This topic has been mentioned in a few threads for various reasons.

It seems many of us are trying to better organize our digital music libraries on computers.

Although I like iTunes and the iPod interface, I do not like DRM complicating my life for files I have purchased and rightfully own.

Similarly, I am currently frustrated that the Apple "lossless" format is proprietary and therefore cannot be used on my new HiFiMan player as I try to migrate to that player for higher portable fidelity.

So for the first time last night thanks to a suggestion in another thread, I noticed that it is not so complicated to back up a purchased iTunes library by "ripping" to CD.

Then, if I take that ripped music, and RE rip my backup CD - presto - I get unencumbered WAV files on my hard drive?

I suppose that adds a step in the process, but otherwise pretty surprising that DRM is so easily defeated?

Again, I am only doing this with music and files I have purchased and paid for from iTunes.

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
All the more reason to buy physical media. I buy CDs then rip them for use on my music server and iPhone. I can then make a million copies if I want, rip them at whatever rate I want and whatever format. The cost savings is negligible compared to the freedom physical media affords.
Why not use something like dBpoweramp which can convert files from ALAC (Apple "lossless" format)to FLAC? Check out their website:
Ahhh, the downside to the newer versions of i-Tunes. I have worked hard to not upgrade iTunes and with it the more restrictive DRM. Of course by not upgrading, I swear iTunes can never find the album artwork for any CD is rip.

I buy most my CDs on Amazon, used. Typical price is $3 delivered, maybe splurge for $5-6 for a SACD, delivered. Just yesterday I had a short list of 3 new CDs I wanted and all three were available used, all three from different retailers delivered for under $10.

My library has an excellent source of music - both new and old, classical, jazz, blues, rock, pop, you name it.
i burn a couple of copies for the systems around the house. you have it figured out. i too try and buy cds but the nearest store is 70 miles away and some things i want right now!! ha so i accept the slightly diminished itunes sound quality.

Ah - now I get it?

So if I backup to CD-R, it may be a WAV file which I can then re rip anywhere I like, but since it was first downloaded from iTunes, it's not as good as a normal CD?
"I buy most my CDs on Amazon, used. Typical price is $3 delivered, maybe splurge for $5-6 for a SACD, delivered."

As nice as that sounds Amazons mandates $2.49 shipping charge on CD's from their sellers so I find this VERY hard to believe. Don't get me wrong I love Amazon and buy most of my music from them. I guess you could find some CD's for 51 cents but few and far between. IMO.

If you ripped your iTunes DRM tunes to CD you likely will not be able to play it on anything. This has been my experience. It is in the iTunes agreement you checked "I Agree" to before you downloaded them. Sucks, but true. On the bright side they are low quality downloads anyway so just buy the CD if it's any good and move on. My 2 cents.
Actually, Srwooten, there are many CD's available used on Amazon for 1 cent + shipping, so around $3. Lots more available for $2-6 + shipping, so around $4-9 all-inclusive.

I share the MO of purchasing used off of Amazon and then ripping them into FLAC, and it works great for me and I continue to have physical media as a backup.

Many sure, but certainly not a majority or anything close to it. I doubt you get "most" of your CD's for $3 shipped as claimed by Cwlondon. If you do my hat is off to you. Perhaps there is a 1 cent search option I have not tried yet. My typical CD purchase used on Amazon is $7- $10. What would you guess is your average per CD total cost?

I am with you on purchasing through Amazon and then ripping them.
my burned cds from itunes play on my marantz universal, my emotiva erc=1 and my sony universal player and in my car. i don;t think they are "low quality" downloads.
srwooten, you are right, I just went back and checked my receipt from yesterday. Shipping/handling was $2.98 so my average price paid is $4 delivered. I think $4 is still a good price for a CD that I want. I no longer just go out and buy CDs that I am not familiar with. It's too easy to find them at the library or listen to them on-line to determine if I like them - knowing that the online listening does not provide much info. as to the recording quality. But truth be told, if I like the music sometimes I have to live with less than stellar recording quality.

In my area, I have really limited access to used CD stores and those that do exist are usually selling for the $3-$6 range and the selection obviously isn't as good as Amazon.

I have not found any CD's for $0.01 on Amazon, but I am sure a few exist.

I don't mind everyone arguing about price, but as we are on AUDIOgon, can anyone please confirm or deny the following:

1) Backing up an iTunes library to CDs to "re rip" into uncompressed files does or does not circumvent DRM?

2) Back up CDs can or cannot be played back on any CD player?

3) Are backup CDs and/or re ripped WAV files genuine "CD quality" and same in resolution as physical media?

If I can only back up lower resolution files which remain encumbered by DRM, than Apple is the new Microsoft, and iTunes is over for me.
I have purchased highly wanted (by me) CDs on Amazon for the $0.01, so the total is the shipping plus one cent.
Seems the sellers are happy to do it.
The cost of a mailer plus postage is near the $3 for a single CD. The seller only makes money shipping if they can sell two at once to one person.
I am lucky I have local sources of mountains of used Cds for $1 to $3 (average $2) and searching through them always yields a few great finds. (and I only buy perfect unscratched CDs, though i do not care if the case is ruined)
my itunes songs burned to cds play perfectly on emotiva, sony, marantz,philips , and pioneer cd and dvd players. sound quality is very good. itunes may not be the best way to build a music collection but when you want one song or some selection immediatly it works great.

1)not sure
2)no, the cd you burned will not work on "any" player as you put it. It depends on the file type and wether the player can read burned dics
3)the files you re ripped aren't CD quality, they were not to begin with. When purchasing from itunes you are buying below cd quality. You cant magically gain resolution by importing at uncompressed, you are just reimporting the compressed file as uncompressed. Just buy cds and your free to do what you want with them.
The music you buy through itunes has been DRM free for two years. Here is the press release...
Let's see if that link works this time.
The downloads you bought WITH DRM ripped to CD will not play IME. iTunes downloads are NOT CD quality or anything close to it. CD's are 16/44.1k iTunes are low res mp3's (basically). New iTunes downloads ARE DRM free, but still (very)low res and not CD quality.
I understand that you can't turn an MP3 into a WAV file.

But my question also pertained to the Apple "lossless" format. To me, this is not a high quality service from Apple, only yet another DRM scheme which forces the customer to stay within an Apple environment.

Since that Apple format is supposedly "lossless" I was in particular wondering if that algorithm might be decoded when backed up to CD -- and might then be re ripped as normal WAV files.

Otherwise, if most iTunes music is low resolution and the back up files are also restricted by DRM codes, then why couldn't you back them up to any device, instead of being prompted to "rip" them to CD.

Because if the back up CDs dont play in normal devices than it isn't really a CD, it is simply an iTunes file backed up to a compact disc.

Used CDs are making more and more sense to me.

As an aside, I have started to use my Hifiman player with WAV files on my morning commute and the sound is dramatically better than what I was getting from my iPod.

I continue to be surprised that so many people seem willing to compress music, or think that portable players should somehow be exempt from higher fidelity.
Srwooten. MP3 files are also (generally) 16/44.1k (but can in fact be higher). You're confusing sample rates and encoding bit rates. Apple itunes downloads are 256kbps bit rate in an AAC encode (which provides for better resolution than a comparable bit rate MP3) To say they are not CD quality is true (by technicality), but to say they aren't "anything close" or "(very) low res" is just wrong. The days of lossy 128kbs mp3's are long gone.
Well if you consider 256 close to CD qualitiy that is up to you. I do not. Plus 128kbs is the standard iTunes download unless you go iTunes plus. Most of my CD's are 650kbs or higher.
"You're confusing sample rates and encoding bit rates."

You are right, I was :-)
CWlondon -

I've bought several tracks from iTunes in the past. My wife still buys them, but her music sucks so I don't listen to it.

I've burned and ripped purchased tracks several times, and they've always played on every CDP I've ever used - hifi, low fi, and car fi. The problems others have had may be the burn and not the music itself. A lot of hifi players have problems with CDRs burned at high speeds. I've always burned at 6x.

Purchased tracks are 256 kbs, or at least that's what my iTunes library is telling me. Left click on a track and select get info. The summary page tells the bitrate, encoding, etc.

The purchased tracks sound a good bit worse than CDs. mp3 (or whatever Apple calls it) sounds congested, muffled, sharp, and ringing to my ears.

Your best bet would probably be to download db Power amp and have it convert the files to whatever you want. Never had a problem with it. I've mainly converted from FLAC to Apple Lossless.