iTunes tip

Pre-Christmas morning iTunes tip: Long time readers of the rexblog know I’m a big user of Apple’s iTunes service. However, my “power” usage and the length of time I’ve been using the iTunes store (since the day it was opened), means I know what I’m talking about when I say the following:

Burn a backup CD of tunes you purchase from the iTunes Store!

Okay. You’ve been advised and forewarned. You will thank me one day.

First, let me say it is ridiculous that you have to do this. You purchased the tune. It should be yours to use in any legal way you see fit. And I said legal, as in, legal in the ways that courts have already established are legal for you to use around your house and to shift what you purchase from one format to another for personal usage.

But because of the encyrption (or, DRM – “digital rights management”) of the iTunes store-purchased files, you are forced to go through an easy, but time-wasting and illogical few clicks to rip out the encryption. Again, Apple gives you the tools to convert the file into a non-encrypted file (they call it “Burn Disk,” but it might as well say “Get rid of our Ridiculous Encryption”).

Don’t just back up the encrypted (DRM) version of the tune. By burning a CD, you will get your tunes out of the iTunes store format and into a format you can use without it having to be “authorized” by the Apple store. I (and my testing panel) have learned this the hard way. For some unique reasons, I have had three different computers during the past year. Having children who share some musical tastes also means a couple of other devices use the tunes. I’ve had to de-authorize and re-authorize my Apple store account more than the allowable times.

Another person in my office lost all of her Apple iTunes store purchases when her PowerBook’s hard drive crashed (another rant for another day). Despite the obvioius fact that Apple knows she has purchased these tunes and that her problem was caused by an Apple hardware problem, their response is: You should have backed it up. Huh? To what?

Bottomline: A lot of hassle is saved if you get the music you purchase from the Apple iTunes store into a format you can use in any number of ways that are legal and appropriate without ever having to deal with Apple about that tune ever again.

I’ve come to believe the following: Purchase a physical CD and burn it to your computer. I know that sounds strange coming from someone who never purchases physical CDs. The second best solution is burn to a CD what you own. Third best solution: there are some solutions that will allow you to convert iTunes purchased tunes into MP3 files on your computer (without having to burn them to CD or DVD). I haven’t tried them, but I think I’ll be looking into that solution next week while I’m away from the office.

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