Will iTunes give me unprotected versions of songs I've purchased on iTunes?

I have a ton of iTunes songs I purchased back when they all came as protected .m4p format. (yeah, kick me in the ass, get in line.) Now that iTunes sells music in unprotected mode, is there some way I can get iTunes to replace these on my PC with unprotected versions?

Apple offered a method to do that called “iTunes Plus” from 2009 through early 2013. When they released iTunes match they discontinued that service. You have several options now.

  1. Burn to CD and rip (will lose quality)
  2. Subscribe to iTunes match ($25) and match them
  3. There are several software programs that claim to de-drm itunes music, but they’re all pretty old, scammy looking, and non-free. I would pay for iTunes match over any of them.
  4. Just “pirate” them. Morally OK, legally not so much.

OK, I’ve subscribed to iTunes Match. Not sure how to use it to do what I want, though. Help?

Delete your existing copy, redownload from iTunes Match.

Ah, perfect! Worked quickly and did just what I needed! Thanks!

Yeah iTunes match is pretty neat. It will match all your old ripped MP3s with high quality AAC files too.

Go into iTunes preferences. Where is says, “Ask to Import CD,” click “Import Settings.” Change the “Import Using” to “MP3 Encoder.” Hit ok/save, etc… and return to your library. Now, find your song and right-click on it and there should be a menu option that reads "“Create MP3 Version” that will create an unprotected version of the song.

That’s reencoding from a lossy source, same as ripping from a burned CD, so he would lose quality. Also, I don’t think iTunes allows you to do that with DRMed files. It’s been a couple years, but I remember being forced to burn them to CD first.

Well, iTunes has a record of what you’ve purchased, too, and lets you redownload songs previously purchased. So, what if you just delete them from your machine and download them again? Maybe the new version is unprotected? iTunes Match isn’t required for that.

Beats me, I don’t have any DRMed music to test. As I recall, back in the day, they would just send you the DRMed version again.

Isn’t iTunes match a subscription service?
Do you have to pay a recurring fee, or is it just a one time cost of $25?

It’s recurring, but you can quit anytime you like.

It’s $25 for a year, I believe.

But after you use it once, do you then have non-drmed music?

It seems like it’d be kind of lame for the OP to have to keep paying for a service to get his music.

You don’t lose your music once you stop paying, it’s not that kind of subscription. It’s still your music.

All you are subscribing to is cloud storage and integration with Apple products.

Yeah, the approach of deleting the DRM version and then immediately re-downloading it (via Match) works very well. The re-downloaded version is DRM free.

Yeah it’s not Zune or Rhapsody.

Awesome. Good to know.