Want to upgrade your iTunes DRM’d music (m4p,aac) to non-DRM legally? Check out iTunes 8

In iTunes 8, Apple has mentioned in their “What’s New in iTunes 8” that it is possible to upgrade your iTunes music to non-DRM’d for a small fee.  Great!

I purchased quite a bit of music from the iTunes store when I ran WinXP as my primary desktop.  Now I can legally convert them to something that Linux (and my Blackberry Storm) can read!

Let me just pull up iTunes and do that.  Can’t find how do upgrade my iTunes music from within iTunes.  Tried help but that didn’t give me any clue.

After much hunting on the apple.com website, I was able to figure out that while iTunes supports the upgrade, it appears that Apple really doesn’t want you to else they would have made it far less obscure on how to do it.  In Apple’s TechDoc HT1711, you will be directed to go to a special link that will activate the upgrade process in iTunes 8.

Excerpt from the Apple TechDoc:

Can I upgrade previously purchased music to iTunes Plus?

Yes. Any available upgrades will be shown on the Upgrade to iTunes Plus page. You can upgrade all of your items at once by using the Buy All button. This replaces all eligible previous purchases with iTunes Plus versions of the same items. You can also choose to make individual upgrades by clicking the Buy button to the right of each item. Song upgrades are available for 0.30 USD, video upgrades for 0.60 USD, and albums for 30 percent of the album price. The counter to the right of the “Upgrade to iTunes Plus” link in the Quick Links box will indicate when additional eligible content become available.

You can view your eligible iTunes Plus upgrade items by clicking here.

After you re-purchase *cough* upgrade your music, iTunes will download the music files (with the .M4a extension) and replace your old DRM encumbered music (with the .M4P extension).  Note that the non-DRM music files will contain enough information for you to identified easily if you should share your music with your friends.  The music files also contain water marks that will also survive if you should convert the non-DRM music files into mp3, ogg or flac files.  So, share your music at your own risk.

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