‘PyMusique’ lets users buy songs without DRM from Apple’s iTunes Music Store

Donna Wentworth writes over on Corante, “Jon Johansen [has] been working on what he calls PyMusique, the ‘fair’ interface to the iTunes Music Store. Explains Jon (via email):”

PyMusique is an interface to the iTunes Music Store that lets you preview songs, sign up for an account and buy songs. It is somewhat interesting from a DMCA/EUCD perspective. The iTunes Music Store actually sells songs without DRM. While iTunes adds DRM to your purchases, PyMusique does not. Another difference is that signing up for an account using PyMusique does not require you to sign/click away any of your rights.

“But here’s the question: How “interesting” is it? Does it stay in the free and clear, or does it brush up against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD)?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s very interesting that, according to Johansen’s email, that Apple’s iTunes Music Store actually sells songs without DRM and that it’s the iTunes application that adds DRM to your purchases where PyMusique does not. We’ll leave the rest of it to the lawyers, as one would have to bet that Apple finds this application more than just “somewhat interesting,” since Apple’s iTunes Music Store Terms of Service clearly states, “You will not access the Service by any means other than through software that is provided by Apple for accessing the Service.”

More about “DVD Jon” here.

We’re looking for more information regarding this application, which seems to have Linux and Windows versions only at this time. Early reports we’ve seen indicate that songs purchased from Apple’s iTunes Music Store (iTMS) via this application have no DRM present (the resulting files are .m4a, not .m4p) – as if you had used iTunes to rip a CD to 128kbps AAC vs. buying it from iTMS via iTunes. If anyone has any info or has tried PyMusique, please let us know via our “Contact” page or by using the “Reader Feedback” section below this article. Thank you.


  1. There are two good things about this.

    1 – DRM-free Music
    2 – You can re-download music you’ve already bought (in case your HDD craps out, for example)

    There are also two bad things about it.

    1 – DRM-free music (the labels and RIAA are going to be all over this like white on rice)
    2 – It’s not available on the Mac.

    I also like how he uses the word ‘fair’. To me, he’s just using it to try to make an excuse for what he’s doing – very much like file swappers (who say ‘sharing’ rather than the reality, stealing (not counting non-copyrighted works, of course)).

    I hope Apple gets this shut down soon – and I also hope that the RIAA/labels can get their heads out of their A$$es and wake up and let us have legal, DRM-free, music. If they did that, I’d bet that music sales would skyrocket.

  2. Given that Apple were the first company to get equitable and coherent digital rights for the consumer, it is difficult to see any benefit to Johansen’s work other than for the criminal/anarchist pirate community. However, MDN’s notes actually contain the answer – namely that this new code effectively supports Linux, a platform ignored by both iTunes and the WMA community thus disenfranchising a statistically insignificant geek community.

    Additionally, this approach will presumably provide support for all AAC-compatible devices including the Panasonic device announced yesterday.

    It will only be a matter of time before Apple announces iTunes 4.8, and it is now inevitable that Apple will take the opportunity to include some form of handshaking code that forces iTMS to validate that it is selling to a recognised iTunes client. However, this development also hastens the path to Apple licensing Fairplay to other player devices including Roku, Sonos and others and for that we should surely be thankful.

  3. To LOL,

    I’m referring to all parties. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> The digital music arena will always be a constant war between labels and consumers.

  4. This is interesting, but only a little. DRM-less distribution of iTMS downloads is already easy. Yes, you lose a little sound quality in the process but for most people who want to get free music, that isn’t a problem. And you still have to buy the track in the first place! Even if you use PyMusique, will the file still be identified as an iTMS download? If it is, you can’t put it on KaZaA without the RIAA lawyers knowing where you got it.

    Nevertheless, I’ll bet that the Cease-and-Desist orders have already been issued and that iTunes programmers will be putting in some overtime this weekend.

  5. macnut222:

    I can’t work out whether you’re serious – we have DRM free music now on CDs and the result has been disasterous for the record industry since the onset of Kazaa, Napster et al.

    Do you live in some fairytale world where people won’t – if given the opportunity or the incentive – behave in an illegal way?

  6. This is a blow against Apple. It was only a few weeks ago that Steve Jobs was supposedly informing the record companies about Napster being ‘hacked.’ That was not a hack but this is.

    In the iTunes Music Store the record companies provide the music and Apple provides the copy protection. If the copy protection can be bypassed the record companies will blame Apple for not doing enough to stop this. When these Apple-encoded DRM-free files become available on file sharing networks the record companies will be fuming and who knows what they will demand then.

    You can be sure of one thing: Apple will bury PyMusique any way it can as soon as it can. Its reputation depends on it.

  7. I wonder if this application is “criminal” al all. You buy the music, pay for it, download it and that’s it. No DRM is being removed as there isn’t any yet.

    Sure, that is not the idea of the ITMS and the Music industry, but is there a law, that you MUST use iTunes to buy the music from the iTMS?

    This guy is pretty clever, but I do not believe anyway that PyMusique will have a long life…

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