Since it was introduced a few years ago, the iTunes Store (known originally as the iTunes Music Store until movies and TV shows were added to the downloadable catalog), has almost completely taken over the digital download marketplace, with an estimated marketshare of roughly 70-80 percent of all digital downloads. It’s so popular that during the first year the TV shows and movies were available for purchase, almost 100,000,000 million have been purchased!
With music, the numbers are staggering. As of the end of July, 2007, more than 3 billion songs have been purchased. The iTunes Store is now the third-largest music retailer, behind WalMart and Best Buy and ahead of such music retail giants as Amazon and Target. Almost 100 million iPods have been sold.
Why, then, do people have a hard time with music purchased from the iTunes Store? The answer is simple: DRM. DRM stands for digital rights management, and is what keeps you from taking a song purchased from the iTunes Store and transferring it to a friend’s Microsoft Zune, for example.
A utility, called DRM Dumpster, exists that offers users a fast and easy way to strip the DRM from songs purchased from the iTunes Store. These songs, sans DRM, can then be used in whatever applications or on any device that supports mp3 (or whatever other format the user selects).
I took a look at it, to see if the product worked as advertised, and if it would every be something I’d consider using, or recommending to friends.
My first impression of the software wasn’t a great one, to be honest. Starting up DRM Dumpster resulted in a lengthy period where I was unable to do anything with the computer because of the spinning beach ball (representing an unresponsive program). I saw iTunes start up and then shut down, and my System Preferences panel do the same. Finally, I was able to use DRM Dumpster.
The Process Of Identifying:
As I went through the process of identifying for DRM Dumpster exactly which songs had been purchased through the iTunes Store, and exactly how I wanted them burned, I realized something: DRM Dumpster is pretty worthless, and not worth the thirty dollar asking price for a simple download (and certainly not the forty dollars asked for the program burned to a CD).
Here’s The Deal:
you can do EVERYTHING that DRM Dumpster offers… and you can do it all from within iTunes! There is no other program needed to remove the DRM from your songs.
Here’s the process:
First, select the songs (from within iTunes), that you have purchased from the iTunes Store. Once you have placed them into a playlist, simply burn that playlist to a CD. Note: you must have iTunes set to burn your music files to an audio CD. If you have it set to burn to a mp3 CD, then you will simply be burning the files to disc, and the DRM will not be removed. After you have burned the CD, simply put it back into the computer, and use iTunes to rip the songs from it to whatever format you want.
It is an insanely simple process, and one that honestly does NOT need a separate program.
So, why should someone use DRM Dumpster? I’m stumped, in all honesty. It seems to me that DRM Dumpster is simply a script (the user notes mention that a scriptable copy of iTunes is required, as well as being required to actually burn the discs), to do in a semi-automated way what could otherwise easily be done by hand. DRM Dumpster doesn’t seem to add any features to make it worthwhile.
One possible feature that would be welcomed would be the ability to put ALL the music purchased from the iTunes Store into one playlist, and then automatically burn audio discs of the correct length, one after another, similar to how a large-scale backup is performed.
Sadly, DRM Dumpster seems to be a program targeted at users who are unaware that a free, already-at-hand solution exists to a very simple problem.
My recommendation? Dump DRM Dumpster and use the thirty dollars to buy a license to Quicktime Pro… or else download thirty more songs from the iTunes Store. You’ll get far more use out of either!