How to Free Up Your DRM Protected Music

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

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

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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

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:

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

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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:

Go to Apple > System Preferences > Sound.
Click on the Output tab at the top of the Window.
Select Soundflower (2ch) from the list of options.
Open Audacity and go to the Preferences menu.
Head to Devices > Recording.
Select Soundflower (2ch) in the Device dropdown menu.
Hit the Record button.
Start playing the DRM-protected track.
Click Stop when the track finishes.
Trim the file to remove the silence from the beginning and end of the recording.
Go to File > Export.
Select Export as MP3.
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.
4. Burn a CD

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.
Read the full article: How to Free Up Your DRM Protected Music