Porting Musicmatch Library to iTunes – Protected WMA

Q: I have a couple hundred albums in my Musicmatch Library.  I just got a new iPod and when I try to drag files from my “My Music” folder to my ITunes library, I receive an error message saying, “The songs being added are in the protected WMA format and can not be converted to AAC format (required by Apple).  ITunes can only convert unprotected WMA songs.�? How can I get my Musicmatch library into my iPod?

– Scott A. Ortkiese

A: For music that’s in MP3 format, there’s no problem, but if you’re working with protected WMA songs, there’s bad news. As iTunes says, it can only convert unprotected WMA files, those that contain no DRM (digital rights management) information. You might want to check your Musicmatch library to determine how many of your files are in fact protected WMA, and how many are not – you might save yourself a bit of unnecessary frustration.

If you have lots of protected WMA files, there’s a workaround. You probably won’t like it much if you have to convert hundreds of albums: you can always burn these songs onto audio CDs, then import them into iTunes, but you’ll likely lose some quality as the files are decompressed during burning then recompressed when you import them. If you don’t wan’t to waste hundreds of CD-Rs, you could do this process with a handful of CD-RW discs; it’s obviously a time commitment, but would save your library. For obvious reasons, this is one of the biggest problems with on-line music purchases: the different companies (Apple, Microsoft, Real, etc.) won’t agree on a common format, and consumers get burnt. Sorry you have to go through this hassle.

Kirk McElhearn is the author of several books including iPod & iTunes Garage. His blog, Kirkville features articles about the iPod, iTunes, Mac OS X and much more.

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