With the announcement yesterday that all music on the iTunes Store will become DRM-free, I decided I wanted to track the progress to see which music files in my library haven’t been updated to 256kbps DRM-free AAC files yet (compared to the old 128kbps DRM’d AAC files). So I created a Smart Playlist to accomplish this!
- Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes (version 8.0.2 as of this writing).
- Go to File –> New Smart Playlist
- Under Match the Following Rule, do the following and then click OK.
- So what is this Smart Playlist doing? When you buy a DRM song from the iTunes Store, the Kind tag is set to “Protected AAC audio file.” So all this playlist does is look for any file who’s Kind tag contains “protected” and is part of the Music playlist (meaning, the music section of your iTunes library).
- Once done, click on that newly created playlist and you will automatically see all music in your iTunes library that is still has DRM. As Apple rolls out the music that is available to be upgraded to DRM-free, you can upgrade your music and this playlist should shrink as a result. The goal of course is to have 0 songs on this playlist real soon (assuming you purchase the upgrades). Supposedly that will happen by the end of March 2009 when all songs become DRM-free on the iTunes Store.
On a sidenote, you can go through the same process to create a playlist that contains all of your iTunes Store music that is DRM-free. Just change (or create a new playlist) that searches for music with the Kind tag containing Purchased. That is all you have to change! The smart playlist will now contain all of your 256kbps AAC files purchased from the iTunes Store.
I did notice that if you changed any of the tags on your iTunes purchases, the iTunes Plus upgrades may not overwrite the old entry in iTunes. You may have to manually delete any duplicates.
Here a couple recent albums I really recommend to all of you. Recently I have only been buying music from iTunes Plus or Amazon.com MP3 Store, so I will include direct links to these albums for your purchase whenever possible so you can enjoy high quality DRM-free music the way it is supposed to be.
- Foo Fighters: Echos, Silence, Patience & Grace – A really good album that is good from start to finish. I find myself listening to it often on the way to/from work, as it is a great cruising in the car album. I think it is their most complete album in the 21st century so far.
DRM Free: CD
- Thrice: The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II Fire & Water – I have a weak spot for concept albums, especially those done really well. Few bands can pull off what Thrice has done here…going from straight out balls to the wall hardcore punk for 6 songs then to some type of watery electronica-type sound for the next 6 songs. Fantastic album.
DRM Free: Amazon MP3 Store
- Jimmy Eat World: Chase This Light – I have only listened to this album once, but it is classic Jimmy Eat World and I cannot recommend it enough. Better then their last album for sure.
DRM Free: Amazon MP3 Store
Just noticed that John Lennon’s music is now on iTunes. Not only that, it is 256kbps DRM-free copies too! iTunes Plus is really making me buy more music.
5 seconds later, I bought the Lennon Legend “greatest hits” album. Now I finally can listen to “Imagine” and his other classics.
So Apple now has high quality DRM-free music on iTunes (for just EMI labels at the moment, but that should change quickly). I went right away to see what songs I had purchased are eligible to be upgraded for $0.30 apiece.
Only 4 songs (and 2 of those are songs Katie bought that I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to) were eligible. So I upgraded those songs and then purchased an album I have wanted, but never got around to buying (Coldplay’s Parachutes). The whole process is painless and now I have an extremely high quality copy that is DRM-free.
I am almost decided that future album purchases will be on iTunes (if the iTunes Plus version of the album is offered). I don’t remember the last time I played a physical CD since I instantly rip CD’s these days and store them afterwards. Why deal with that hassle anymore? As Mark Cuban wrote a few days ago, we aren’t too far away from CD’s becoming extinct.
Now I just have to get an off-site backup strategy together.
Anyone else notice that there has been no iTunes New Music Tuesday today? Meaning no free single of the week and no new albums on the iTunes Music Store?
Makes you really wonder if sometime this week (I’m guessing tomorrow) that DRM-free music is released on iTunes. Apple did say that DRM-free music would be on iTunes by the end of May and the end of May is Thursday. Due to Memorial Day, you can make the case that Wednesday is the new “Tuesday” this week.