iTunes corrupting mp3s?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by oogabooha, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. oogabooha macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    I've had this problem with iTunes for a while, but it keeps on coming back just after I think I fixed it. What iTunes does is (almost instantly or over time) corrupts my mp3s, making the file sizes bigger for some reason, and this causes iTunes to not finish the tracks and jump around in the last 10 seconds or so (sometimes as long as an entire track). I called up Apple, and they've never heard this problem before. It's not like the mp3s are corrupted before this happens, because the songs are either CDs I've ripped by myself (and have worked in the past), or they're free from the artist (which would make no sense for an artist to corrupt their own mp3s). I've tried playing the corrupted mp3s in other players, and they still don't work. The only solution seems to be reimporting the tracks, but even then they sometimes get corrupted as soon as I put them in (like, I'll skip to the end once and it works, but once I add the artwork/info, it corrupts again).

    It seems to spread like a virus as soon as one album is infected, and I really need help/a solution. This is frustrating beyond belief.

    I also have the current version of iTunes, so updating won't help (and never has in the past).
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    iTunes doesn't corrupt files, and the size of a file has nothing to do with it being able to play properly. If the files don't play on other apps, they're likely damaged, but iTunes didn't cause it. Are you ripping CDs with iTunes, or with another app? What settings are you using?

    Also, there is nothing that could cause the damage or corruption of one .mp3 to spread to another.
  3. oogabooha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    ...but then why is this happening? I'm using iTunes to rip the discs, with audio settings of error-correction, 320kbps mp3s. However, this happens even for albums that I downloaded (from the bands who release them), which leaves out the error in the ripping of the files. The files have played fine before, so I'm just confused as to why it's doing this.

    Thanks for the response!
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    What did they play on? iTunes, or another app?
  5. oogabooha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    It played fine on both iTunes and Enqueue, but as soon as I added the artwork it stopped working? It's odd...
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Adding artwork would certainly account for the file size increasing, but it shouldn't have any effect on file integrity.
  7. dirt farmer macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2005
    Download the free and excellent MP3 Scan + Repair

    It will not only repair those mp3's, it will tell you what the problem is.
  8. oogabooha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    Thank you for the link, although it didn't really work...I'm still having the problem, and it is so frustrating because the tracks don't finish properly because they seem to be finishing, and then jump further back in the song and go until the ending cuts it off abruptly. When I play them in iTunes, it doesn't even play the "end", as it just skips to the next track...

    I was also looking in my trash at an album that took a few tries to get "working", and there are literally 9 MP3s (for every time I replaced the album), with 3 having the same file size (and they bounce around from 4.1MB to 5MB to 3.5MB). These are all MP3s that I downloaded from the band from their site, so it's not like they would be any different.
  9. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    One kind of file that iTunes doesn't like is mp3 files with variable bitrate created with certain tools; select "Info" to see what encoder was used. Just converting them to 256 KBit AAC (to avoid quality loss) will fix the problem - if that is the problem.
  10. ader42 macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    I know this is an old thread but anyhow.

    I experience the same thing. I have some mp3s. They play fine in Quicktime Player. I copy them into iTunes and some of them sometimes get corrupted, song track length is wrong, appears to end then start again then skips etc. The copy in the itunes media folder will not now play fine in Quicktime Player and itunes won't create an AAC version : I get an unknown error -50. the thing is, it's not always the same track that corrupts so I know the tracks are not corrupt before it gets to itunes. I'm on iTunes 10.5 gonna update now but not holding my breath.
  11. ader42 macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2012
    Well I upgraded to iTunes to 10.6.3 and I'm on OSX 10.6.8

    I still have the same issue, but it seems to usually occur only when I try to update/correct the mp3 file's tags and/or add artwork. I think adding the artwork may be the main culprit. I've tried both dragging the jpg file to the art box and copying the image from the clipboard to no avail. The same artwork works on some mp3 files but not others.

    I'm on the verge of ditching itunes as I have a very large music collection and can't be having this hassle for thousands of tracks.
  12. rnspaight, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012

    rnspaight macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    I just upgraded to a Retina MBP and this has started happening to me. Not a problem on the old mid-2009 MBP, so it's clearly not happening on all hardware.

    It *definitely* happens when adding cover art. I *think* adding cover art one song at a time is safe, but adding it to multiple files at a time definitely causes the song file to become corrupt. The symptoms are that it skips over the last 10-40 seconds of the song and also skips around within the song. The song does not play properly in VLC, so it's the file itself that's damaged and not the iTunes metadata.

    My workaround is to use Tagr to apply cover art. This is a pain, but beats corrupt song files.

    I don't know if just changing tags (not cover art) would cause this, I might experiment a bit tonight.

    There is a thread on this problem in the Apple forums:

    Definitely a bad bug that needs to get fixed pronto.
  13. Peter Robin macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2012
    Near London UK
    iTunes corrupting .mp3s

    When I use iTunes to sync with my iPad, Apple TV or iPhone it tells me that there are issue with a number of the tracks. All the affected tracks are .mp3 files. These are indicated in iTunes wth an exclamation mark (!). I can restore the corrupted files by reloading them from source from my backup hard drive. However, after a short but unpredictible period of time they start corrupting again.

    I have a MacPro running 10.7.5.

    I have suffered from this problem for a while now. :( I am relieved to see that I am not the only one, based on the number of correspondents to this thread. However I would like to understand and eliminate the root cause. Have any contributors made real progress in fixing this problem?
  14. ololol macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2012
    I've had this problem since around January this year as well. This doesn't happen often to me though.

    Sometimes, when I update my tags (ie fixing the artists name or the songs name etc) or when I add the cover to it, or it I add the song/s to my iTunes library it makes a random song either longer or shorter and the cover that's add to it doesn't show up properly (and becomes part black).

    It's been a real pain for me so I've always had to make a copy of the mp3 before I make any changes to the original one. Then I check if the lengths and file sizes are the same and when I update it I check if the file is corrupted by listening to the beginning of the song and the end of it too. It's a real pain for me and it never happened before this year.

    I thought I was the only one that it happened to until now.
  15. AlphaVoyager macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    I've had the exact same problem but it happens even with lossless mp4 files. It typically happens with song files that are very short (say under 30 seconds) and the file is corrupted by adding album art. I've even gone to the Genius Bar about the problem and I brought the before/after versions of the files (thanks to Time Machine) but they hadn't a clue.

    Like others, the corruption comes in the form of the song cutting out and then itunes skips to the next song.

    One guess: the artwork file is larger than the mp3/aac itself and that somehow causes itunes to muck up the file when art is added. And, it seems to happen when the art is added to a bunch of tracks at once.

    I have at least found one way to determine if the file has been corrupted by adding artwork without playing it: look at the file itself in icon form. The normal files will show mini versions of their artwork whereas the corrupted files will have no artwork.

    P.S. I had hoped that this problem went away with more recent versions of itunes, but it happened again today on itunes 10.7. I ripped the tracks with AccurateRip as AIFF files. I converted the AIFF files to apple lossless and then I added art to the whole album. Sure enough: two of the tracks became corrupted in the process even though the AIFF tracks were flawlessly ripped by AccurateRip.
  16. oogabooha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2010
    I want to bump this because it is now 2014 and I have not found a solution for this problem. It really upsets me that Apple would let something this stupid happen! And every time I've tried bringing it to the apple store in the past few years, they always just tell me that my files were already corrupted (to which I say "no, they weren't!" and then try to show them it corrupting them to no avail). They insist that there's nothing wrong, but this thread says otherwise.

    It doesn't happen as frequently, but it still happens.
  17. Md37 macrumors newbie

    Mar 31, 2017
    I am bumping this because this just started happening to me two days ago. Never had a problem with itunes before, but now, it seems that any mp3 music files are doing exactly what is explained in the first post. Using itunes with windows 10, but never had any problems before.
  18. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Back up you music folder ASAP
    iTunes just updated to version 12.6.
    Your update may have failed oddly.
    I'd rip it out (booting from another drive), and get the other files too. user/library/itunes, all etc
    Then reinstall, from a freshly downloaded copy:

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17 January 9, 2012