Windows, iTunes, iPod, and Linux can coexist (part 2)

I’ll start this installment with one paragraph of background.  I do not pirate music.  You Napster kiddies got the Britney Spears you deserved back in the day.  Music has never been better in my life than it is right now, and I strongly believe that’s because good artists are now getting paid (wow, what a concept!)  Also, I’m unashamed to admit that I like iTunes and the iTunes Store.  Its usability beats everything else I’ve used, and the Genius feature added in iTunes 8 has led me to music that I actually like based on my prior tastes.

First, do no [more] harm” (Primum non nocere).  Stop buying DRM-ed (digital rights managed) music now!  There’s no reason to do that anymore.  And a reminder from part 1 – save your DRM rants for somewhere else – I’m not interested.  If you’re like I was, you probably already own some DRM-ed music.  No problem, I’ll help you solve that in a future installment in this series.

The iTunes Store sells both DRM and DRM-Free music.  As far as I know, music is now sold there one way or the other, but not both.  DRM music purchased from the iTunes Store is stored on your hard disk as “.m4p” files, has a 128kbps bit rate, and is not easily portable.  DRM-Free music purchased from the iTunes Store is stored on your hard disk as “.m4a” files, has a 256kbps bit rate, and is easily portable between Windows and Linux.

DRM-Free albums have the “iTunes Plus” designation in the iTunes Store:

DRM-Free album

DRM-Free album

I encourage you to buy full albums as often as possible (support your local artist!), but here’s the “iTunes Plus” DRM-Free song designation:

this song rocks - I recommend the whole album

this song rocks - I recommend the whole album

Compare that with a DRM song. I would buy this album on amazonmp3 if I had it to do over again:

I'm totally not down with DRM

I'm totally not down with Recordcorp's DRM


Part 1 – introduction
Part 2 – stop buying DRM music
Part 3 – initial backup
Part 4 – upgrade to iTunes Plus
Part 5 – burn remaining songs to MP3
Part 6 – rename files
Part 7 – trust but verify
Part 8 – conclusion

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