Convert DRM protected AAC or M4A to MP3

Earlier we covered an M4A to MP3 converter freeware to convert AAC to MP3 format. Though it is a good free software to convert AAC to MP3, M4A to MP3 or MP4 to MP3 formats, it cannot be used to convert DRM protected AAC or M4A music files to mp3.

If you have iTunes, there is an inbuilt option to convert iTunes music to MP3 format. To enable it,

  • Go to Edit >> Preferences.
  • Choose the General tab.
  • Navigate to “When You Insert a CD” and click “Import Settings” button to its right.
  • Choose “MP3 encoder” against the option “Import Using“.
  • You can also choose the desired quality settings.
  • and finally click OK.
Convert DRM protected AAC or M4A to MP3

Once you configure the above Import Settings in iTunes, you can right click on any song listed in iTunes and find the option “Create MP3 Version” to convert iTunes to mp3. However, even this option in iTunes wouldn’t let you convert copy protected M4A or AAC files to MP3.

You can burn a CD in iTunes and re-import the songs in the CD in MP3 format as described below to copy DRM protected M4A or AAC files to MP3

How to burn a CD in iTunes?

  • Create a new playlist by choosing File >> New Playlist or pressing CTRL + N, and give it a unique name.
  • Add all the iTunes tracks that you want to convert to MP3 to the playlist. To do this select each of the tracks by holding down the CTRL key. Then right click and select “Add to Playlist” >> “<Playlistname>” i.e. the name you had given to your playlist in step 1 above.
  • Navigate to your playlist and ensure that all music files have been added. Click on Burn Disc at the bottom of the iTunes window.
burn to CD in itunes
  • Next, choose “Audio CD” as the disc format, specify the desired CD writing speed and the length of gaps between songs. Then click the button “Burn“.
Create audio CD in iTunes

Once iTunes completes burning a CD, you’ll notice your new CD under “Devices“, in the column on the left. iTunes may have automatically taken you there after burning the CD, but if it hasn’t, navigate to it now. You’ll then see “Import Settings” and “Import CD” options on the bottom-right of the screen.

Before importing the audio back into iTunes as MP3, ensure that you have set “MP3 encoder” as the import option in iTunes by navigating to “Edit ” >> “Preferences” >> “General ” >> “Import Settings“.

Then, go ahead and choose “Import CD“. That is all folks!

As soon as it is finished, you would have successfully converted your copy protected iTunes music to mp3.

But remember to not delete M4A files as they are the original tracks acquired by you from iTunes store.The MP3 versions you just created are copies that can be played on your favorite audio player including Windows Media Player 11 in Windows vista or XP and Windows Media Player 12 in Windows 7.

One comment on “Convert DRM protected AAC or M4A to MP3

  1. Awesome! thanks for the tip!

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