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iTunes Plus [Jun. 1st, 2007|07:15 pm]
In case you hadn't heard, Apple have finally released iTunes Plus, which is what they've called the DRM free, higher bitrate files from EMI artists. I have a feeling it's just US iTunes for now, but as that's the one I use, it's not a problem for me :)

I gave iTunes Plus a quick whirl today. After an iTunes upgrade, there was a new entry on the store homepage for iTunes Plus. Clicking this took me to a new portal, which told me that none of my existing music could be upgraded, and then told me about the music that could be bought as iTunes Plus files.

After a quick browse, I selected a couple of albums. One was $8, the other $10, so that's under a tenner for two DRM free albums, not bad. They downloaded pretty quickly (though they are twice the size of DRM'd iTunes files), and played in iTunes as normal.

However, I don't normally use iTunes for listening to my music. So, a quick scp later, and they were somewhere that linux could see. They all had .m4a extensions, which is a good sign (.m4p is the drm'd extension). I fired them up in xmms (using the faad plugin), and they played just fine. xmms even managed to play a whole album without crashing, which is pretty good for it when playing aac files :)

Finally, I tried copying them over to my Nokia N95. This plays drm free aac files just fine (and even has the album art from aac files that'd been de-drm'd from iTunes using qtfairuse). Unfortunately, they didn't work on the phone. When you try to get the metadata, it just says unknown for everything, and it won't play them (just skips over them in the playlist, and marks them with a big red x). Pesky :(

I've given nokia a call, and they've said they'll look into it (but being a weekend, they expect it'll be mid week before they get back to me). For now, I can't decide if I can be bothered to stuff them all through the command line faad re-encoder to get them to work, or just wait for an answer from Nokia. Ho hum.

In conclusion - iTunes Plus is really good, N95 aac support less so :/

[User Picture]From: crazyhackerdude
2007-06-02 06:51 pm (UTC)

Nokia & aac

I worked on the musicplayer sw that ended up in N95. I think aac is just a container format, so apple may be using something in the container that is not one of the things nokia has a codec for on the device.
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From: gagravarr
2007-06-02 11:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Nokia & aac

Both qtfairuse de-protected AAC files, and iTunes Plus AAC files look the same to faad2. It displays pretty much the same metadata for the files, plays the files just the same etc. For both, it identifies them as "MP4 - 2 channels @ 44100 Hz". There can't see much difference between them, except for the bitrate (128 vs 256).

Bit of a pain the N95 barfs on them, but hopefully it'll be a quick fix for Nokia
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-06-07 07:30 am (UTC)

Re: Nokia & aac

RealPlayer on the phone plays them if you open them using a filebrowser - so the phone can clearly handle them.

Also, using iTunes Advanced menu to convert them to AAC (=same format) makes them play fine in the N95 music player.

So it seems Apple had added something to the metadata that confuses the Nokia Player - whether this is Nokia's or Apple's fault is hard to know, but I've read that TiVo also have problems playing the Itunes+ files.
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