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iPod, iTunes and DRM

Posted in Thu, 19 Oct 2006 04:03:00 GMT

I've been a happy iPod user for some time now, however I've only ever used my single iPod with a single iTunes install. I recently reinstalled my OS after wiping the hard drive for a clean start. To my surprise a fresh install of iTunes with the same iPod serial number would not import songs from my iPod into the iTunes library. iTunes had the gall to ask me if I wanted it to erase all the music on my iPod and replace it with the (empty) contents in its library. Essentially my iPod was orphaned. I've never thought about Apple DRM issues before but I'm no longer as excited about the iPod and iTunes as I was before.

One of my friends had run into the same issue and now stores his iTunes library files on an external disk. He told me I could just install my iTunes library files to the right location and reinstall iTunes which should fix the problem. Thankfully I had backed up my iTunes files and was able to copy the files into the right location. Reinstalling iTunes let it find my old music files and connect to my iPod correctly. While I'm glad I had the files, I don't think they should be necessary. I can see Apple's perspective about not wanting people to trade music but not being able to load your own iPod's music on to a fresh install of iTunes configured with the same serial number is kind of ludicrous.

So always remember to back up your iTunes music files. I still like the iPod's click wheel and the iTunes interface, but I'm now thinking of migrating to non-DRM solutions like Ogg and Ogg players. Anyone know of good Ogg/MP3 players?, iTunes and DRM digg:iPod, iTunes and DRM reddit:iPod, iTunes and DRM spurl:iPod, iTunes and DRM wists:iPod, iTunes and DRM simpy:iPod, iTunes and DRM newsvine:iPod, iTunes and DRM blinklist:iPod, iTunes and DRM furl:iPod, iTunes and DRM fark:iPod, iTunes and DRM blogmarks:iPod, iTunes and DRM Y!:iPod, iTunes and DRM smarking:iPod, iTunes and DRM magnolia:iPod, iTunes and DRM segnalo:iPod, iTunes and DRM



  1. Thomas Wittek said about 7 hours later:

    For Ogg players you might take a look at Cowon, iRiver and Samsung. They have some really nice players, that support Ogg Vorbis.

  2. nothingmuch said about 8 hours later:

    Several things:

    1. You can run Rockbox on your ipod (and ipodlinux, but that’s not as advanced), and even dual or triple boot it. Rockbox supports more formats than the ipod’s native software, including ogg vorbis.

    2. You can import all your songs from the ipod by just using the terminal. Poke around the ipod’s volume structure and you’ll find a directory of scrambled songs (distributed like a hash table, to discourage mining, i guess).

    Copy these, and then place them under the itunes library folder, and with “keep music library organized” enabled simply drag that folder into itunes and it will sort out all the song files into artist/album hierarchies.

    Hope this helps

  3. John Wang said about 11 hours later:

    Thanks for replies Thomas and nothingmuch. I’m interested in checking out Rockbox and playing with direct copying of the files now.

    I’ve also noticed a number of CPAN modules related the iPod and iTunes library formats including: DBD::iPod (uses Mac::iPod::GNUpod), iPodDB, Mac::iPod::DB, and Mac::iPod::GNUpod.

    Does anyone have experience with these and know if they are any good?

  4. Mr Johnson said about 1 month later:

    Hey, just unprotect your songs before importing to the iTunes library. It’s too easy – <a href=””>check this!

  5. freakcode said 6 months later:

    Heh… then you realize its just Hype!

  6. berkus said 10 months later:

    You can use Amarok on linux, which supports iTunes and rockbox formats for copying your music around, and has a much simpler and user-friendly interface than iTunes (ha!).

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