Monday, February 28, 2005

The iPod Journals: What about protected WMA files?

So today at the Sheaf's arts meeting I picked up the newest album from the Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak, thinking I would pass it on to Ewan, if he didn't have it, and he could review it since he was a fan of the first one. Of course, I was thinking, I could import the disc into iTunes and keep a copy for myself. What I didn't count on was copy protection.

I popped the disc into my drive and popped up iTunes and began listening. I hadn't heard the Kings of Leon before, but I was pretty sure that the pops, whistles and difficult to hear vocals weren't part of the experience. Placing the disc in the home stereo system confirmed by suspisions. Why the heck wouldn't the disc play in iTunes I wondered? Turns out the album is protected by various encryptions that must be downloaded through Windows Media Player in order to play. My subsequent attempt to import the WMA files into iTunes failed. Turns out the whole Microsoft/Apple battle has resulted in making iTunes incapbable of importing protected WMA files, the kind you get on Napster and other online music stores (Apple's iTunes store uses a Apple licsensed AAC-codex). The result. No foreseeable way for me to get Aha Shake Heartbreak onto my iPod.

However, with a little Googling I discovered a way to beat the whole copy protection thing without complex new programs or codec converters.

1) Import the copy protected WMA files into Windows Media Player and then creat your playlist.

2) Burn a copy of the files to CD. The resulting CD will not retain the original copy protection.

3) Pop the CD back into your drive and import the disc using iTunes like you would a normal CD.

4) Pat yourself on the back. You've just beaten Microsoft and Apple with their own system.

6 Comments:

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Ewan said...

You can also just rip the files in wma format in windows media player. Then import them into itunes and they'll convert them for you.

I was listening to that album in the library again today and i've got my review pretty much figured out now.

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger Anders said...

Not on protected WMA files. That was the first thing I tried, the importing with Window's Media Player and importing. Yes, normally iTunes can convert WMA files, but not if they require a special encryption. In fact this CD, I think because it's a review copy, had to download something just to play in Window's Media Player.

But now I've got it beat.

 
At 6:53 PM, Blogger Ewan said...

That is odd. Every cd that's copy controlled or the like has worked using that method for me.

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger Anders said...

Those are "copy controlled" as opposed to "protected." The difference is that copy protection (which is most CDs, and files bought from iTunes, etc.) involves a encryption that when copied, it only plays on a set number of computers (usually 3-5).

"Protected" means that you cannot modify or import the file because it is protected by a license, which the distributor bought.

Small thing, but one of those things that some people find annoying. For iTunes/WMP compatibility the reverse is also true. WMP cannot convert AAC files.

But there are tons of great sites out there to help. The best one I've found so far is: iPodLounge.

 
At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, your post was very helpful. Worked like a charm. I had gotten some free songs from MSN but couldn't import them from WM player.

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks. it worked. i was jumping up and down shouting, "why did i not think of that and you have to work within the system to beat the system. i love it. thanks.

 

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