DRM Smart Playlist in iTunes

With the announcement yesterday that all music on the iTunes Store will become DRM-free, I decided I wanted to track the progress to see which music files in my library haven’t been updated to 256kbps DRM-free AAC files yet (compared to the old 128kbps DRM’d AAC files). So I created a Smart Playlist to accomplish this!

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes (version 8.0.2 as of this writing).
  2. Go to File –> New Smart Playlist
  3. Under Match the Following Rule, do the following and then click OK.
    Screenshot of DRM Smart Playlist window
  4. So what is this Smart Playlist doing? When you buy a DRM song from the iTunes Store, the Kind tag is set to “Protected AAC audio file.” So all this playlist does is look for any file who’s Kind tag contains “protected” and is part of the Music playlist (meaning, the music section of your iTunes library).
  5. Once done, click on that newly created playlist and you will automatically see all music in your iTunes library that is still has DRM. As Apple rolls out the music that is available to be upgraded to DRM-free, you can upgrade your music and this playlist should shrink as a result. The goal of course is to have 0 songs on this playlist real soon (assuming you purchase the upgrades). Supposedly that will happen by the end of March 2009 when all songs become DRM-free on the iTunes Store.

On a sidenote, you can go through the same process to create a playlist that contains all of your iTunes Store music that is DRM-free. Just change (or create a new playlist) that searches for music with the Kind tag containing Purchased. That is all you have to change! The smart playlist will now contain all of your 256kbps AAC files purchased from the iTunes Store.

I did notice that if you changed any of the tags on your iTunes purchases, the iTunes Plus upgrades may not overwrite the old entry in iTunes. You may have to manually delete any duplicates.

2 thoughts on “DRM Smart Playlist in iTunes

  1. Nice tip. I was trying to figure out how to create a DRM playlist and through the magic of Google, found this post. Worked great and I’m watching my “DRM” playlist shrink as I type this while I’m doing an Upgrade to iTunes Plus on my library in the background.

    Looks like I’ll only have about 23 DRM’d songs left when it’s complete.

  2. Will replacing my old files with DRM-free files cause changes I’ve made to songs’ info. (e.g., year, genre, etc.) to disappear? Also, will my playlists using the older versions be destroyed? In other words, will those songs disappear from any and all playlists in which they currently appear?

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