How to Free Up Your DRM Protected Music
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Digital Rights Management—better known as DRM—is a scourge for anyone who’s bought music online. By preventing the buyer from copying or sharing music, DRM limits what the owner can do with the track they’ve purchased.

Thankfully, there are a few tools that can remove the DRM from the music you’ve downloaded. This frees it from the virtual shackles and lets you use it in any way you please. Here are several different ways to remove DRM from your music files.

1. AppleMacSoft DRM Converter for Mac

AppleMacSoft DRM Converter for Mac remove DRM

In the old days, any music you bought from iTunes used to have DRM attached to it. The DRM was so restrictive that you could only play the music on Apple devices.

Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Today, all songs listed in the iTunes Store are categorized as “iTunes Plus.” That means they’re in the AAC format and don’t have any DRM attached. But what about all of those old songs you downloaded in years gone by?

In theory, Apple will let you redownload a non-DRM version. However, if you’ve long since lost access to the original account, that’s a non-starter. You need a DRM removal app.

One solution is to use AppleMacSoft DRM Converter for Mac. It integrates directly with iTunes and can remove DRM in bulk. You can save your new audio file as an MP3, M4A, M4R, AAC, AC3, AIFF, AU, FLAC, or MKA file, and can even use the tool to remove DRM from your Apple audiobooks.

Download: AppleMacSoft DRM Converter for Mac ($40, free trial available)

2. MuvAudio

MuvAudio remove DRM

Many of the tools that can remove DRM from music take advantage of the “analog hole.” For those who don’t know, the analog hole is the term given to the phenomenon whereby any digital audio or video file can be recaptured in a fairly straightforward way once it becomes perceptible to humans.

But this approach has a downside. By using your system’s soundcard, you can experience a significant loss in quality. MuvAudio is different. It uses a digital conversion process, thus allowing you to retain the audio quality of the original file.

MuvAudio can convert DRM protected file formats that are only readable on certain devices into files that are device-agnostic. The app can read the major formats, as well as some more niche ones like SPX, MPC, APE, OFR, OFS, TTA, and MPE. The seven supported output formats are MP3, M4A, WMA, OGG, FLAC, WV, and WAV.

Some of the app’s other features include the ability to split long audio tracks into shorter files, a way to edit a DRM-protected file’s metadata data before you create the DRM-free version, and a search tool for missing album artwork.

The trial version of the app lets you remove the DRM from 60 songs. If you have more tracks to fix up, you’ll have to pay for the full version.

Download: MuvAudio ($19, free trial available)

3. Audacity

Audacity remove DRM

If you’d prefer to save some money and take the “analog hole” approach to removing DRM from your music files, you only need a simple audio recording app. Both Windows and macOS come with such an app as a native part of the respective operating systems.

However, we’d recommend going one step further and downloading a more powerful tool such as Audacity.

Use Audacity to Remove DRM on Windows

To use Audacity to remove DRM on Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Open Audacity.
  2. In the dropdown menu in the upper left-hand corner, select Windows WASAPI.
  3. Hit the Record button.
  4. Start playing the DRM-protected track.
  5. Click Stop when the track finishes.
  6. Trim the file to remove the silence from the beginning and end of the recording.
  7. Go to File > Export.
  8. Select Export as MP3.
  9. Give the file a name and press Export.

Use Audacity to Remove DRM on MacOS

If you’re using a macOS device, the situation is slightly more complex. Macs do not have a native way to record a computer’s audio output. As such, you’ll need to download and install another third-party app—Soundflower—before you begin.

When you’re ready, use the following step-by-step guide:

  1. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Sound.
  2. Click on the Output tab at the top of the Window.
  3. Select Soundflower (2ch) from the list of options.
  4. Open Audacity and go to the Preferences menu.
  5. Head to Devices > Recording.
  6. Select Soundflower (2ch) in the Device dropdown menu.
  7. Hit the Record button.
  8. Start playing the DRM-protected track.
  9. Click Stop when the track finishes.
  10. Trim the file to remove the silence from the beginning and end of the recording.
  11. Go to File > Export.
  12. Select Export as MP3.
  13. Give the file a name and press Export.

The downside of using Audacity to remove music DRM is two-fold. Firstly, you need to play each DRM-protected track in full. If you have thousands of DRM-protected songs that you’re trying to work through, that might not be practical.

Secondly, you’re making an entirely new file. As such, you’ll lose any metadata from the original file. Again, if you’re working with hundreds of songs, that’s a significant extra workload that you’ll have to take on.

Download: Audacity (Free)
Download: Soundflower (Free)

To learn more about using the app, check out our article detailing how to remove ambient noise using Audacity How to Remove Ambient Noise From Audio Files Using Audacity How to Remove Ambient Noise From Audio Files Using Audacity It's simple to remove background noise in Audacity and give your recordings a much more professional feel. Here's how to do it. Read More .

4. Burn a CD

rip CD to remove DRM

You can also burn DRM-protected music files onto a CD. So, a simple way to bypass DRM is to create a CD of the tracks you want to free up, then immediately rip the CD back into your computer’s music player.

The only requirement is that you use a music player on Windows or Mac that has CD burning capabilities. Most of the best music managers on both platforms have this functionality.

Naturally, your computer also needs to have a CD drive. If it doesn’t, check out the Rioddas External CD Drive on Amazon.

And remember, if you use this technique, you don’t even need to burn a physical CD. You could download an app like TuneClone to create virtual CDs—AKA ISO files—then rip them back onto your machine.

Download: TuneClone ($35, free trial available)

Remove DRM From More Media

Music isn’t the only type of media that’s afflicted by DRM protection. Some audiobooks, movies, TV series, and ebooks are locked behind Digital Rights Management.

But don’t worry. Just like audio files, you can remove the DRM from those types of media too. If you’d like to learn more, check out our article explaining how to remove the DRM on every ebook you own How to Remove the DRM on Every Ebook You Own How to Remove the DRM on Every Ebook You Own No one likes DRM. We all understand why it exists, but that doesn't mean we're ready to embrace it. Therefore, this article explains how to remove the DRM from every eBook you own. Read More .

Explore more about: Digital Rights Management, iTunes, Music Management.

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  1. john evans
    October 12, 2017 at 10:38 am

    what if i have over 2 thousand cds i want to put on my mp3 player?

  2. james
    February 8, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Ripped cd to window media player want to put on my android but its now blocked.any help bypassing this just want to hear my cd on the go.thanks if u can help

  3. Mark D.
    March 29, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    MuvAudio2 gets around the DMCA restrictions by not actually cracking and removing the DRM from .wma files - but instead creating up to 10 virtual sound cards and playing a queue of files through them - recording the output. Reasonable at sub $20.

  4. Bob
    March 4, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    freerip mp3

    google it and use it

  5. Erick
    March 3, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    From what I have found, the DRM is agreed to by the down loader and as such, breaking the DRM encryption would still be breaking the law.

    Saying don't use this program that breaks the DRM is like Pirate Bay saying don't download copyrighted material if you country says it's illegal.

    I am not against such software and feel developers and companies are way to strict. Problem is, we are a supply and demand country and as long as people are willing to pay top dollar for software and pay .99 cents a song, nothing is going to change.

  6. Justin
    March 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    FairUse4WM does it for Windows media (.WMV, .ASF, and .WMA files) and it's free.

  7. Anthony
    March 3, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    You can also use a program such as AnalogWhole. It will record at least WMA files and transfer them to MP3, while keeping the song information from the original file. It will do a selected queue or a folder of choice.

  8. Dan
    March 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    At one point I came across this service - either a bunch of Russians or Chinese, I can't remember -- that would do it for you, I think it was something like $50 per 1000 songs... don't know if they used your media key, etc... or if they had ways of freeing the music. (For all I know, they had a massive catalog of un-DRM'ed music & just copied whatever you had from their unprotected collection.)

    I think I had it bookmarked, I'll look & post back if I find it. Actually, a simple google search would probably be faster. Aside from the copyright violations (if they really are just copying their own copy), it's a brilliant idea for a business model.

    No matter what, the music & movie companies are in for some seismic changes over the next 10 years. Many changes are coming much sooner than that. Sorry Tom Cruise, no more $50M paydays. How does $1.5M sound?

  9. Jack
    March 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Is there some way to burn whatever drm-restricted files you have to an ISO instead of an actual CD and then rip back to mp3? That would be an ideal solution for me, using some artificial drive by PowerISO or Daemon Tools to burn a fake cd to later rip.

    • Simon Slangen
      March 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm

      You could use a virtual cd burner like TuneClone (which is even specifically designed for this DRM removing technique), but none are free, all hovering around 30 or so bucks.

      If you need to free an especially large batch of songs, you might want to spend it at that, but at the current day prices, a spindle of CDRs will most probably be cheaper.

  10. Me
    March 3, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    dvdnextcopyiturns.com/

    You can use it to easily strip the drm from itunes tracks.

  11. Sotiris Z
    March 3, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I've heard of a couple of programs called FairUse4WM and FreeMe2 (but i haven't used any of them yet).They are absolutely free and you can download both of them here:

    undrm.info/remove-DRM-protection/