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What is an M4P Audio File? How to Play and Convert It

M4P audio file explained

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:18 am

Have you come across an M4P audio file and are wondering what it is?

If you’re familiar with the M4A audio file, then you’ll easily understand the M4P audio file format.

This is because M4P is the protected version of an M4A file. The P stands for Protected.

M4P on iTunes

You’ll find M4P files on iTunes. It’s an audio file encoded with AAC (Advanced Audio Codec).

As mentioned earlier, it comes with copy protection. You can’t copy an M4P file because it’s protected with Apple’s proprietary DRM technology called Apple Fairplay DRM.

So, always remember that an M4P audio file is the protected version of the M4A file. In other words an encrypted version of MPEG-4 audio.

But then let it be known that music tracks sold at the iTunes Store no longer come with the .m4p extension.

The DRM protection for songs on the iTunes Store started in 2003. It was discontinued in 2009.

So, you can consider the M4P format obsolete.

That doesn’t mean that they aren’t any M4P music tracks around. Those who bought music tracks between 2003 and 2009 are still saddled with M4P files.

Apple didn’t automatically convert these protected files to m4A.

M4P on Apple Music

Although the M4P audio file has been discontinued at iTunes, it’s available on Apple Music since 2015.

Both have a bitrate of 256kbps and employ the AAC codec. You can also play both the M4P formats over an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Although M4P files on iTunes are largely similar to those on Apple Music, there is some difference you should take note of.

Difference Between iTunes M4P and Apple Music M4P

M4P over iTunes is not available after March 2009.

M4P has been available over Apple Music since July 2015.

M4P over iTunes can’t be played on Android phones.

Apple Music M4P files can be played on Android phones with the Apple Music app.

M4P over Apple Music can’t be played on iPod Shuffle/Nano/Classic.

Both the M4P formats can’t be played on Android tablets and MP3 players.

You can burn an iTunes M4P to CD. With the Apple Music version, you can’t.

You own an M4P track you bought from iTunes.

You don’t have ownership of Apple Music M4P tracks. When your subscription expires, you no longer have access to it.

How to Play M4P Files on Windows

As mentioned, M4P is proprietary to Apple. It can only be accessed through iTunes with the account you use to purchase a music track.

You can’t play

In order to play it in Windows, you would have to convert it to a popular format like MP3 or WAV.

How to Convert M4P to MP3

Chances are you would want to convert M4P to MP3 so that it’s compatible across many devices.

There are 3 ways you can do it.

Use a Screen Recorder

A screen recorder captures every movement on the computer screen.

This would include audio.

All you have to do is play your M4P over iTunes and record the track with your screen recorder.

Then you can split audio and video with a video editor.

For example, in Camtasia, after splitting video and audio, you can export the latter in a popular format like WAV or MP3.

Music Recorder

If you don’t want to go through the long route of using a screen recorder, you may use a music or audio recorder.

Such a program records a protected M4P audio file and allows you to download it as MP3.

An example of an audio recorder is the Leawo Music Recorder.

Use an M4P Converter

There are many M4P converters out there that convert M4P to MP3.

They do this by first removing the copy-protection and then converting it to the popular audio format you desire.

Leawo Prof DRM

Leawo Prof. DRM removes M4P copy protection and converts it to MP3.

TuneFab Apple Music Converter

The program opens iTunes and synchronizes with your iTunes Library. Next, the tracks will be transferred to the converter.

DRM is removed and your music tracks will be converted to MP3.

Easy M4P Converter

Easy M4P Converter works very much like the above 2 programs.

DRM is removed and your M4P audio file is converted to such popular formats as MP3, WAV, M4A, AU, MKA, FLAC, M4R, AAC, AC3, and AIFF.

These DRM-removal programs should be used to convert M4P files for personal listening and not for commercial purposes.

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