How to Convert Unprotected WMA Files Into MP3 Files

Four Methods:Removing DRM From WMA FilesConverting With iTunes (Windows Only)Converting Without iTunes (Mac OS X and Windows)Converting in Linux

WMA audio files are a proprietary format for Windows Media Player. If you want to be able to listen to your music in devices that don't support WMA files, you will need to convert them to MP3. If your WMA files have DRM protection, you will need to remove that first. After removing DRM, you can convert the files using iTunes for Windows or a different utility. If you're a Linux user, you can do conversions directly from the terminal.

Method 1
Removing DRM From WMA Files

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    Open Windows Media Player. You can strip the DRM (digital rights management) from the WMA files by burning them to an audio CD and then ripping them to your computer. You will lose a little bit of quality.
    • You can convert losslessly by using a DRM removal program, but these typically are fairly expensive.
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    Switch to Library view. You can press Ctrl+1 to do this quickly.
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    Click the "Burn" tab on the right side of the window.
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    Drag the songs or playlist you want to burn into the "Burn" tab.
    • You can only burn about 74 minutes of music at a time (80 on some CDs)
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    Insert a blank CD-R into your disc drive.
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    Click the "Start burn" button. Wait for the burn process to complete.
    • Note: If Windows Media Player does not allow you to burn the CD because you have already reached the burn limit for the DRM-protected files, you will need to use another audio burning program.
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    Reinsert the burned CD. Chances are that it ejected after burning. Insert it back into your computer.
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    Click the "Rip CD" button that appears in Windows Media Player.
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    Wait for the ripping process to complete. The files that are ripped will be unprotected WMA files.
    • You can skip the converting to MP3 process and just rip directly to MP3. Click Tools and select Options. Click the Rip Music tab and set the "Format" drop-down menu to MP3. Any ripped music will be automatically converted to MP3.

Method 2
Converting With iTunes (Windows Only)

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    Open iTunes in Windows. This method only works on Windows versions of iTunes, because it requires Windows Media Player 9 or newer installed.
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    Click the Edit menu and select Preferences.
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    Open the .General tab and click Import Settings....
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    In the "Import Using" drop-down menu, select "MP3 Encoder". Click OK to return to iTunes.
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    Add any WMA files that you wish to convert to your iTunes library. Click File, then select Add to Library. Click Convert when asked if you want to convert the files. The conversion process will create a new file, and both the original WMA and the converted MP3 will appear in your library.
    • You can also add and convert songs by dragging and dropping them into your iTunes Library window.
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    Convert existing songs. If your library already has WMA files in it, right-click on the file or files you want to convert. Select "Create MP3 version". The file will be converted, leaving your original WMA file and adding the newly-created MP3 file in your library.

Method 3
Converting Without iTunes (Mac OS X and Windows)

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    Download conversion software. There is no native support for the WMA file format in Mac OS X. The iTunes method above will not work on Mac because Windows Media Player is not present. This means that you will need to download a third-party program from the internet to do the conversion. There are several free options available.
    • Adapter is one of the more popular freeware options, and is what this guide is based on. It is available for free for PC and Mac.
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    Add files to the Adapter window. You can either drag-and-drop your WMA files into the Adapter window, or you can click the "Browse" button to search your computer for them.
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    Click the "Select Output Format" drop-down menu. This is located at the bottom of the window.
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    Select "Audio" → "MP3 Audio" from the menu.
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    Click the Gear icon to select a destination. Click the "Same as Source" menu and select where you'd like to save your converted files. You can either save them to a custom directory or import them directly into iTunes.
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    Click "Convert". The conversion process will begin. The time will vary depending on how many files you are converting.

Method 4
Converting in Linux

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    Install the necessary software. You will need MPlayer (an open source media player), LAME (an open source MP3 encoder), and the Win32 codecs which unlock the WMA format. In the console use the following commands to install the programs:
    • sudo aptitude install mplayer
    • sudo aptitude install lame
    • sudo aptitude install ubuntu-restricted-extras
    • Replace the Ubuntu commands with whatever distribution you are running.
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    Convert a single WMA file. Run the following command to convert one file at a time. Replace song.wma and song.mp3 with the name of the file that you want to convert:
    • mplayer -vo null -vc dummy -af resample=44100 -ao pcm:waveheader song.wma;lame -m s -V 3 audiodump.wav;mv audiodump.mp3 song.mp3;rm audiodump.wav
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    Convert all your WMA files. If you want to convert every WMA file on your hard drive to MP3, use the following commands. You can adjust the quality of the encoding by changing the “resample=#”:

    #!/bin/bash
    for file in "$@"; do mplayer \
    -vo null \
    -vc dummy \
    -af resample=44100 \
    -ao pcm:file="${file%%.[Ww][Mm][Aa]}.wav" \
    "$file"
    lame -V9 "${file%%.[Ww][Mm][Aa]}.wav" "${file%%.[Ww][Mm][Aa]}.mp3"
    rm -f "${file%%.[Ww][Mm][Aa]}.wav"
    done

Article Info

Categories: Media Conversion