DVDnextCOPY iTurns Manager: create DRMS free copies of your iTunes songs

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DVDnextCOPY iTurns Manager is a free program that can convert iTunes DRMS protected tracks to normal unprotected MP3s.

It installs a virtual CD-writer driver and takes advantage of the option to burn tracks to CD in iTunes in order to capture and re-encode protected audio files to normal MP3s.

I’ve always had an interest in the various software that can remove DRM protection from MP3s, and with iTunes becoming the biggest music retailer in the US I am sure that a lot of people out there would love to find a solution for stripping DRMS protection from their purchases.

If this applies to you I present the very strangely named yet rather brilliant “DVDnextCOPY iTurns Manager” (and yes it actually is iTurns, not iTunes, no typo there!). I tested this program on DRMS protected MP3s downloaded from the iTunes store and it worked brilliantly. Here’s more info on this program:

  • How it works: it takes advantage of the option in iTunes to burn DRMS protected audio files to CD. It will install a virtual CD-writer driver on your machine that you burn to instead of your actual CD writer, and subsequently captures the data then re-encodes it as a normal MP3 (without the need for an actual physical medium).
  • Tags/metadata: are fully preserved in the resulting MP3, including album art.
  • Requirements: iTunes has to be installed, and it has to cooperate; (i.e. it has to play the DRMS protected songs). You cannot simply remove the DRMS protection of a track that, say, is copied from a friend’s computer as your iTunes will not play those to begin with.
  • Re-encoding: be aware that your music will be re-encoded rather simply being stripped of the DRMS (output file format supported is MP3 only in the free version). The good news is that all information is digitally transferred rather than re-recorded, as the case would be in a straight recording program like Mp3MyMp3. If you like to get as close a copy of the original as possible you can make the re-encoding settings as close to the original audio file as possible.
  • Legality: according to the developer’s site, this program is actually perfectly legal and does not violate copyright law. This is because DVDnextCOPY iTurns Manager does not actually alter or strip the DRMS protected files from their protection, but rather uses them to encode new files. The tracks also need to be legally yours in the first place as confirmed by the fact that your iTunes will actually play them.
  • Difference between the free and paid versions: the paid version offers a range of possible output formats in addition to MP3 (MP4, WMA, OGG), offers various audio CD burn options, direct support from the developer, playlist creation, and a number of other options. Interestingly, it will run even if iTunes is not installed, presumably to allow for the creation of DRMS free files virtually burned from other players not just iTunes, although I am not sure about that point. As far as I am concerned the paid version really does not add that much more value, as there are many excellent freeware software for audio format conversion and burning to CD (e.g. Xrecode, Pepsky, BonkEnc).

The verdict: this program just works! It provides a single-step process that automagically generates DRMS-free copies of your protected tracks in short order, does this fairly quickly and without affecting the audio quality. Kudos to the developers for coming up with such a creative and innovative solution that not only circumvents the DRMS protection but is perfectly legal to boot.

This is good news to me because I never would let myself buy any audio tracks from iTunes as a matter of principle, because of the DRMS protection, and now I feel that I can if I want to (to test this software I downloaded a free single of the day type of thing, which “happily” for my purposes was DRMS protected).

Version Tested: 1.5.4.2

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista. Requires iTunes.

Go to program page to download the latest version (approx 5.7 megs).