Picture of Convert DRMed WMA files to Usable MP3s
Without getting into too much detail (i'll save that for my blog), suffice it to say, I HATE DRM! I have several players, including an HP RX1955 that claims to be Plays4Sure, that will not play DRM-ed files. Two of them will only play mp3s at 128kbps or lower at 44100Hz.

That being Said, I love Real Rhapsody's Rhapsody 2 Go! The ability to stream, download, and carry with me as many music files as I like in a month for 14.99 is awesome, and the speed and quality of the streaming is really exemplary. The only problem is the damn DRM and the related issues of older hardware, compatibility, and backup, as well as the limitations it places on my ownership rights.

Therefore, I'll be outlining here my ( theoretical ;-) of course ) process for creating more usable and morally acceptable forms of these files. The process, if carried out, may be illegal under the seriously screwed up "legalities" of the RIAA. Please utilize this "fair use" information only for informational purposes, and don't blame me if they terminate your service based on speculation.
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Step 1: Find Your Programs

Picture of Find Your Programs
The programs involved are all freeware, and readily available. I will provide links for the non-controversial programs, but I will not provide a link, or tech support for the "questionable" one. My only suggestion is "google".

I suggest the following programs:
1) fairuse4wm.exe - this is the "questionable" program. It finds existing keys on your system and uses them to figure out and decrypt wma and wmv files, removing their DRM. (or something like that... it just works)
2) Jodix Free WMA to MP3 Converter - easy to use, simple, but limited.
3) ID3-TagIT 3 - finish off by tagging your new MP3s
Strood277 years ago
hiya, getting DRM free music is all good, but im stuck about how to get the DRM off Windows Media(TM) Video File (As I want to keep videos I download from channel 4 OnDemand) CHEEERS
gschoppe (author)  Strood277 years ago
from what I've read (never tried it), Fair Use 4 WM should work on wma or wmv, if you have the license key (if it plays in Windows Media Player)... with the newer versions of WM DRM, you need an additional program called mirakagi to extract the keys.
teasert3177 years ago
Melodycan is a smart solution. It can convert up to 15 files at the same time. And there's a support for RealAudio files (for Rhapsody subscribers). They site is more informative now:
zcat8 years ago
Best possible solution; Don't buy DRM-encumbered music in the first place. If the music you want isn't available as a plain ordinary CD that you can rip in iTunes or cdex, learn to live without it. With a bit of luck the MAFIAA will figure out nobody wants this crap, and they'll stop trying to force it on us.
eight zcat7 years ago
ZCAT - "Don't buy DRM-encumbered music in the first place." People buy music ? Pffft.
spinach_dip8 years ago
iTunes will convert wma to mp3 by simply dragging the wma files into the iTunes music window. All ID3 tags are preserved as well. It is a much simpler way to convert your wma to mp3.
gschoppe (author)  spinach_dip8 years ago
three problems with this method... 1. I like the idea of "one job, one app". i.e. if i'm teaching others to convert wma to mp3, I'm not gonna make them use an app that has another purpose to do so... e.g. itunes, winamp, wmp in certain sync modes, and many other programs will do the job, but you shouldn't have to install a big hunkin media player/organizer on your system that tries to make itself default player for everything to do a simple conversion. 2. I really dislike itunes 3. ID3 Tags are stripped by fairuse4wma, unfortunately. so, although the jodix converter keeps your id3s intact as well, there are no id3s to save. the jodix converter just makes a better interface for recreating id3s
An alternative to this is buy them as said then set your computer to record for "Stereo Mix", then download Audacity, play file and record while songs playing. Perfect un-DRM'd goodness.
gschoppe (author)  inevitable_chaos8 years ago
the downside is that has to be realtime... so it you want to carry 5 cds to work, you need to wait 5 cds worth of time + time to split and label the files... also, I think the recording stereo mix method is lossier than reencoding, as the conversion to nonDRM WMA is non lossy.... I, in the past, have used "total recorder"(not free) to do the same thing, but I really prefer the fairuse4wm method
It's more as a last resort thing, yes. I do it as i'm listening to the song for the first time. So none of my song have an protection. I'm having unprotected music baby!
trebuchet038 years ago
Is walmart still doing 96kbps music? They were awhile ago (last I checked) -- so it looked like a competitive price, but the quality couldn't compete (unless you were just using on an mp3 player or smaller sound systems).

I agree -- I really loathe DRM... for that matter, with little exception, I dislike proprietary anything :/
Here's what I do: 1. I go to, buy songs for 88 cents - cheeep! 2. Then I burn them all onto an audio CD. 3. Then I either: a. Use FreeRip to rip them to MP3 files, or b. Import them fron the audio CD into iTunes, and label them by hand (song name, artist) Result: DRM-free songs. Done! Hey, I bought them, I own them, I can and will use them, just like they came on a shrink-wrapped CD.