The revelation that Apple
watermarks the new DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks it now sells has sent some into a tizzy (even though Apple has always done this with the content it sells). Personally, I couldn’t care less. Should one of my iTunes Plus tracks make its way into the wild the worst that could conceivably happen is that someone might find out that I have a name and a particular email address. Last time I looked, Google provided much the same service. (Inconceivably, the RIAA could swoop down in black helicopters and send me off to Pirate camp and, frankly, hooks, wooden legs, and eye-patches match nothing in my wardrobe.)
Still, people will worry about the darndest things. If you’re among that number and a Mac user, there’s a solution. Rogue Amoeba’s $32 audio editor,
Fission, can strip out the identifying information in an iTunes Plus track without changing the file’s audio.
One of Fission’s unique features is that it can edit audio files losslessly. Unlike some other audio editors, it doesn’t re-encode files when it saves them. Everything is done in the native audio format unless you specifically tell the program to save it as another format. It’s this feature that allows you to strip this information without affecting the audio quality of the original file.
This wasn’t an intentional feature of the program. Rather, Fission recognizes and maintains standard AAC metadata. This identifying information—the purchasers name and Apple ID—isn’t standard. So when you open one of these files in Fission, choose File -> Save Audio, and, in the resulting Save dialog box, enable the Save AAC (Original Format, Lossless) option, and click Save, this information doesn’t make the cut and is stripped out.
Note that Fission doesn’t currently support editing multiple files. If you’re determined to remove this information, you’ll have to do it on a file-by-file basis.