Upgrading iTunes Purchases—Is It Worth It?

So at MacWorld, Apple announced it is removing DRM from the songs in iTunes, and you can unprotect any previous purchases for a 30-cent charge.  The question is, it it worth it?  Or should you look into a music converter like DVD neXT COPY iTunes (example only –never used it, but seen good reviews), which will convert your DRM-protected songs into a different format without burning them to a CD?

My music library is a mish-mash of formats.  I have a lot of protected media that I purchased from iTunes, and some from CDs I ripped early on before I figured out how to change the settings.  I have an even greater amount of music purchased from Amazon and from CDs after I changed the output to MP3.

To be smart, you need to separate the protected files from the unprotected ones.  In iTunes, you can right-click the row of column headings and add the Kind column.  Then, click on the Kind column to sort all your music by kind.  Create a playlist for your AAC music, select the “Protected AAC” and “Purchased AAC”, and drag them to your AAC playlist.  As you drag to the playlist, your cursor will indicate the number of songs you’ve selected.  In my case, 744.

Multiplying 744 songs by 30 cents each puts the price at a complete upgrade at roughly $233.  The software costs $30, and is completely automated—tell it a playlist, and let it go.  It’s a no brainer for me—the software is much cheaper and much less hassle.  Are my MP3s going to be the most technologically perfect reproduction of live sound?  Nope.  Can I tell the difference?  Nope.  Good enough for the car, airplane or office.  If you care about that, you’re not using MP3 anyway.

Once the music is converted, I can upgrade my iPod to the RockBox firmware, and add some additional features to my iPod, and maybe replace iTunes with Songbird.  Songbird apparently supports protected AAC, but RockBox does not support AAC (protected or otherwise) at all.

Bottom line, before you start paying to remove DRM, do the math and make sure it’s cost effective to do so.

DotNetKicks Image