How to Convert Protected and Unprotected M4P to MP3

Updated by Adam Gorden on Jan 8, 2020 2:26 PM.
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m4p to mp3

Before we talk about convert M4P to MP3, we should talk about the differences between protected M4P and unprotected M4P format. The songs in your Music Library look the same and they both play smoothly the same until you decide to stop paying for Apple Music. The downloaded Apple Music songs suddenly become inoperable after you cancel the subscription and you may also realize some of your iTunes songs can't be played in your MP3 player. This has something to do with the history of Apple's music service.

Entering the millennium, Apple released iTunes and began selling music. This is an unprecedented reform in the music industry. If you've ever purchased songs from the iTunes store before 2009, the digital music you bought is in protected M4P format. After 2009, Apple cancels the protection on iTunes songs and ever since you can get unprotected M4P songs from the iTunes store. When Apple Music was launched as the music streaming service in 2015, the protected M4P format was, once again, applied to Apple Music songs.

Now, let's move on to how to convert protected and unprotected M4P to MP3. The 2 processes can be achieved with iTunes. According to what we mentioned above, you can go directly to the guide you need.

1. How to Convert Protected M4P to MP3
2. How to Convert UnProtected M4P to MP3

1. How to Convert Protected M4P to MP3

Best DRM M4P to MP3 Converter You'll Need

To convert the protected M4P songs, namely Apple Music songs and some old iTunes songs, you will need a tool besides iTunes. That is, TunesKit Audio Converter, an all-in-one M4P to MP3 converter for both protected and unprotected m4p files. One more step the protected M4P songs need is to remove the protection. And then you can convert Apple Music M4P to MP3 as you want. TunesKit can do both in one conversion. All you need to do is just a few clicks.

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TunesKit DRM Audio Converter Key Features

  • Convert Apple Music songs to MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, M4A, M4B
  • Losslessly remove DRM from Audible audiobook & iTunes audiobooks
  • Convert DRM M4P to MP3 and other common formats
  • Retain 100% original quality and ID3 tags
  • Convert between DRM-free audio file formats
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Step 1Import Protected M4P Songs to TunesKit

add drm itune m4p songs

Install and launch TunesKit Audio Converter, and then iTunes/Apple Music will be launched automatically. Before the conversion, you need to authorize iTunes to play your songs. After that, you can click the Music Note button (on the center top) to import the songs from your Music Library to the converter. You can also add the songs by drag-and-drop. It supports batch conversion so that you can import multiple tracks to TunesKit to convert once.

Step 2Select MP3 as output format

set output format as mp3

Currently TunesKit Audio Converter supports several output formats, including MP3, AAC, WAV, M4A, M4B, and FLAC. You can simply click the "Format" option and then choose output format as MP3 from the popup window. If you want to customize the music quality, you can change the codec, channel, sample rate, etc. according to your needs.

Step 3Start converting Protected M4P to MP3

convert drm m4p to mp3

Once the output format is set, you can begin converting the DRM-ed M4P to MP3 by clicking the "Convert" button. And when the conversion finishes, you will get the MP3 songs with which you can freely share with others on different devices and platforms.

Video: How to Convert Prtotected M4P to MP3 with TunesKit


2. How to Convert UnProtected M4P to MP3

It's relatively easier to convert unprotected iTunes M4P to MP3. You can simply manage it with Apple Music(Mac)/iTunes(Windows) and need no extra help. Here's how to convert the common M4P files to MP3 using iTunes on PC/Mac.

convert m4p to mp3 with itunes

1) Firstly, open iTunes and click the "File" > "Preferences" > "General Tab".

2) Then click the drop-down list next to "Importing Settings..." Choose "MP3 Encoder" from the "Import Using" pop-up menu.

3) Then click "OK" to save the settings. Select the songs in your library that you want to convert.

4) Choose File > Convert, then Create [format] Version. New song files appear in your library next to the original files.

Note: Two copies of the song will show up in your iTunes library during the conversion, including the original M4P file, and the new MP3 file. You should be able to play both files in iTunes. If you don't want to see both copies of the song in your iTunes library, move the M4P file somewhere else. Try consolidating unwanted M4Ps into another folder, or removing them from the library but keeping the files on your computer for future use. Consider simply deleting the old file, if you don't think you'll need it. Be aware that conversions between compressed files can cause a slight loss in sound quality. Consider keeping the M4P files around until you're sure that the sound is still solid.

More About Apple Music & M4P

M4P is a file extension for a protected audio file encoded with advanced audio codec (AAC). It stands for MPEG 4 Protected audio and could be widely seen in an iTunes and Apple Music purchased song which uses "Fairplay" DRM (also known as digital rights management). When compared with MP3, M4P is always smaller in file size but better in audio quality. Because of DRM, M4P files on iTunes and Apple Music service can only be opened with iTunes app and the computer which is authorized with iTunes or Apple account. Generally, an iTunes account can be authorized on up to five computers only in order to play the M4P songs normally. Apple Music, as one of the largest music-streaming services in the world, has more than 56 million subscribers so far. Combined with three major parts, including Music, Beats 1 Radio, and Connect, Apple Music brings users a vast library of music, provides music recommendations based on users' own taste, and allows artists and fans to communicate easily. It comes with a 3-month free trial and subscriptions start at $9.99 per month or $14.99 for family plan. However, due to DRM, subscribers don't own the Apple Music streams at all. Once cancel the subscription, users will lose access to the music files previously downloaded.

The Bottom Line

Acutally, you can also use TunesKit Audio Converter to convert unprotected M4P songs to MP3. TunesKit can handle kinds of iTunes audio files, protected and unprotected. For example, Apple Music songs, iTunes M4A and M4B audiobooks. Besides that, it can also work with Audible AA and AAX audiobooks. You don't need to worry about the output quality as it will preserve the CD quality and original ID3 tags as well.

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