M4P VS. M4A: The Similarities & The Differences
M4P – MPEG 4 protected audio, is a protected AAC file extension, generally used by Apple iTunes purchased songs with DRM (digital rights management), while M4A is an audio extension for unprotected AAC file. That’s to say, both M4P and M4A are AAC files, but M4P is DRM protected while M4A is DRM-free.
Aside from your old songs bought from iTunes Store before April 2009, all Apple Music files are in protected M4P format. Due to M4P files cannot be played and transferred to any other unauthorized computers, any MP3 players but only your iPods touch, iPhones and iPad (most 5 devices), many people want to convert the protected M4P to M4A.
Below we show you two ways to convert M4P to M4A.
Method 1: Convert Apple Music M4P to M4A with Apple Music Converter
Coming with the release of Apple Music, Apple Music Converter makes a hit in the market. This program can easily convert Apple Music M4P songs to M4A, MP3, AC3, AIFF, FLAC and various unprotected audio files. Whether you have the old iTunes M4P songs or the Apple Music M4P songs, this program and change M4P to M4A quickly. Aside from Apple Music, it can convert audiobooks AA, AAX, M4B to plain M4A or MP3, too. Plus, it is able to extract audios from iTunes movies, music videos and TV shows.
This program is available on both on Windows and Mac. Just free download the trial version below.
Step 1. Download and Install M4P to M4A Converter
After downloading the program, install and launch it on your computer. M4P to M4A converter has the similar interface as iTunes, and it will automatically launch iTunes and load all Apple Music songs, albums and playlists you have added to iTunes library.
Step 2. Select M4P Files and Choose Output Format
Click the music playlist in the left side and select songs that you want to convert. Then, choose M4A as output format. Set profile, output path, name format as you like. Tips: Apple Music Converter allows you to convert iTunes M4P files to common audio formats: MP3, M4A, AC3, AAC, AIFF, AU, FLAC, M4R, and MKA.
Step 3. Convert M4P to M4A
Now, press the “Convert” button to begin converting M4P to M4A. After the conversion process, you will get the M4A output and then play it on other music players.
Method 2. Convert M4P to M4A with iTunes Match
Once the iTunes Music Store launched we saw the introduction of “Protected” AAC files (.m4p). These are the files types that were originally sold on the iTunes Store that had DRM (Digital Rights Management) copy protection in them.
In 2007, Apple introduces “iTunes Plus”. iTunes Plus refers to songs and some music videos* in high-quality AAC format that doesn’t have Digital Rights Management (DRM). The file extension associated with songs purchased from iTunes Plus is .m4a.
In 2009, Apple finally allowed you to upgrade the protected AAC (.m4p) to iTunes Plus in DRM-free M4A format. An individual track upgrade costs 30 cents, or you can choose to upgrade your entire purchased protected music. However, this option quietly disappeared when Apple announced a suite of iCloud-linked music services in 2011.
In 2013, Apple introduces iTunes Match. iTunes Match scans your iTunes music library. Once the scanning is complete your music is available to you on any iOS device. You no longer have to sync the music files from your Mac to your phone. And you don’t even need to keep local copies of the files on your Mac if you don’t want to.
It costs $25 a year. But for the $25 you get another bonus. Since all the music in Match is iTunes Plus (DRM free) you can convert your m4p files to m4a by simply forcing a re-download of the files. Once you do that you can upload them to Amazon Prime, copy them to your Android tablet, etc.
If you subscribe to iTunes Match, you can download your previously purchased music (M4P files) again in the iTunes Plus format (M4A). To do so:
1.You need to delete the original DRM song from your library first. Doing this enables you to download the song again in the iTunes Plus format from iTunes in the Cloud.
2.Click the Purchased tab in the iTunes Store.
4.Locate the artist of the song you want to upgrade.
5.Click the iCloud Download icon next to the song you want to upgrade.
Compare method 1 and method 2, you’ll find that method 1 is far easier than method 2. Apple Music Converter can not only remove DRM from the old iTunes songs but Apple Music files and Audible AA/AAX files. Though it is not a freeware, it is cost-effective. Download it and change the annoying M4P to M4A now.