Mac iTunes deleting music, no warning, no trashing, just disappears mid-playback

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Absent, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. Absent macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2010
    This is infuriating me.

    To set the stage: songs that have been on my computer for years; new songs/albums just added to library; everything of the particular artist is deleted; nearly duplicate itunes libraries on mac and windows, windows itunes is working fine;

    So this is the rundown.

    A song is playing, with all songs of a particular artist in the queue. I click to play another song. It starts playing but an exclamation mark pops up next to a different song to indicate the file is missing. I open the itunes media/music folder and sure enough that artist's entire folder is missing, yet the current song is still playing. Trying to play any/every song from that artist follows with the "file can't be found." Even restarting the currently playing song leads to this.

    I also notice it when importing songs, be it downloads from amazon or elsewhere, or even from my windows itunes library from the home sharing import button. One album can exist in the mac itunes library, but as soon as I import another album everything disappears, including what had been there previously and that which I had just tried importing. Every time the current song playing continues to play, despite disappearing from the itunes media/music folder.

    This seems random, but once it starts with a particular artist, it keeps happening, *almost* repeatedly. It seems like certain songs may be like a trigger that causes it. Previously, playing one particular song, and only that song, would poof the particular artist's catalogue. I just reripped that song and everything was fine. Now it seems like any random artist and any of that artists songs.

    Deleting everything and reimporting leads to the same problem all over again. These songs have been playing in itunes, ipod, iphone, and earlier itunes fine. I think the last reversion of itunes 9 may have been when I first started seeing this, and its only getting worse, fast.

    On windows, itunes is acting its normal self.. All albums coexist with each other, no songs disappear without warning, playing a certain song doesn't cause all songs to disappear without warning.

    I haven't seen anything like this before and I can't find any recounts. It really reminds me of the iphoto '11 debacle. Oh, and &#%#$**@#%#$%^&*$^&*%

    Any explanation to this insanity?
  2. SHADO macrumors 6502a


    Aug 14, 2008
    I would try 4 things:
    1. Make sure both checkboxes next to "Keep iTunes Media folder organized" and "Copy files to iTunes folder when adding to library" are check in iTunes prefs-->Advanced
    2. If that doesn't work, re-install iTunes
    3. Repair disk permissions using Disk Utility
    4. If none of these work, try using DiskWarrior or Drive Genius to defrag your HD
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Doing this will result in duplicate files every time songs are removed and reimported. I never have these checked.
    This should be a last resort, and likely won't fix the problem.
    This might have some effect.
    Defragging the drive will do absolutely nothing to fix the OP's problem

    Instead, try creating a new iTunes library and import all the music into that library. You can also try deleting the iTunes preference file, located here:
  4. dknightd macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2004
    sounds to me like your disk may be failing. Back it it up now. But don't overwrite a previous backup you might have.
  5. Absent thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've been playing around with this and I'm starting to believe it has to do with itunes managing id3 tags, most specifically the "album artist" line. While trying to inspect the songs that seem to cause the glitch, I see that it appears to only happen when I add a song or album that has a different "album artist" field than what currently resides in that artists songs.

    Like this: Current songs in library of that artist have a blank "album artist" field, and when I try to add songs that are tagged with -anything- in "album artist" already it fails to make some kind of conversion and just deletes everything. Its only been .mp3s so far, but doesn't matter what they're encoded with. It happens in the opposite order also.

    I do use "keep library organized" and "copy to itunes folder" otherwise there wouldn't be any songs at all in the itunes media/music folder. I also do use album list view and prefer not to use the album artist field for sorting (View>Column Browser>(Uncheck) Use Album Artist) but that last point doesn't seem to change this behavior at all.

    I bet this has to do with the recent addition of the album list view. I had problems with that from the beginning that stemmed from incorrect display or processing of the "album artist" field. Some songs would appear appart from the rest, even when they had identical tags. If you changed the album artist field by even a letter, and then back again, it fixed it. Pretty obvious, I think, there are some very serious bugs in this, considering that its failing to the point that it erases music inexplicably without warning.

    So hopefully I've figured it out enough that I can at least use itunes. Pretty ridiculous work-around; import to windows itunes, change the tags (just delete everything from "album artist" and make sure tags are identical) and then import back to my mac with homesharing.

    I'd like to know now if this is reproducible for anyone else, and what specific configuration causes it. I manage music the same way on my mac and pc, and its only mac where this is happening. The opposite of what you'd expect from all the mac propaganda...
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Just remember that iTunes uses the "Album" and "Album Artist" fields to determine what should be grouped together as one album. Also, the "Sort Album" and "Sort Album Artist" fields determine sorting. If those fields match for all songs in the album, they'll be grouped together.
  7. Absent thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've discovered more.

    I run OSX off an SSD and have an HDD for file storage. My itunes music is all on the HDD with the itunes program installed on the SSD.

    I found a folder on the system SSD where all the music was being moved to

    SSD/Music_1/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music

    This is at the root of the drive, right next to the Library and System folders, and definitely not in the Users/Music/iTunes folder that does also exist but only contains the Album Artwork folder. Its got about a dozen other artists I haven't played or looked at in months, as well as the ones that I was just dealing with disappearing.

    I'm still sure its a product of itunes incorrectly handling song tags, or being "confused" by them, but it was just happening with an artist whose only difference between files being the capitalization of one letter in the "Artist" field. Again, files that have been in the library, unaffected for almost a year until now. And that one album with one letter of a different capitalization made everything of that artist be lost.

    So now it looks like itunes isn't deleting the files, its just moving them to an incorrect location and losing track of them.
  8. vervetrade macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2010
    I am having the same issue

    Storing my content on an external USB drive, and the iTunes library file on the internal. With your help I found my missing content at my root drive. Every effort to put them where they belong fails. It keeps deleting the entire Artist folder. Have you found a way to keep this from happening yet? It's driving me absolutely crazy.
  9. Absent thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've been too busy to deal with any of it since. I haven't found anything besides importing from the Windows computer. Pretty sure its just a bug so my bet is it won't get fixed until enough bug reports are submitted about it. I've meant to but haven't had a chance. Also meant to start a thread on the Apple support forums and see if anyone there has any different ideas.

    If you do any of that, I'd like to know what you find out.
  10. Absent thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Easier way to fix this:

    When the file shows up missing in itunes choose to locate the file and navigate to the Music_1 file mentioned earlier at the root of the system drive and find the file.

    iTunes will then ask if you want to use that location to find other missing files in your library, choose yes and it should find the rest.

    Now edit all of the metadata for each of the artists that went missing, paying attention to exactly match spelling, capitalization, etc in the artist, album artist, etc fields. Personally, I remove album artist entirely because it has only caused problems for me, and with the music I listen to its never relevant or useful.

    After editing the metadata to match, select those songs in itunes whose file is still located in the Music_1 folder (Right click, Get Info, Summary tab in iTunes to double check, or just look at the Music_1 folder in finder)

    Right click and select Consolidate files...

    That should be it, and if all is well you can delete the copy out of the Music_1 folder. If they go missing again, you missed something in the metadata. If they still go missing, something about a particular file is causing it, inexplicable by me. I've experienced this myself and the only solution when nothing else works is to download or create a new file and just get rid of the one causing problems.

    I'm still experiencing the problem with new stuff I import. I submitted a report, but we'll see what good that'll do. Still curious if anyone else is even getting hit with this.
  11. BigWally macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2011
    Riverside, RI
    Zumocast is causing this problem!!!

    Hi everybody....... I was having the same problem that the OP described and it was driving me CRAZY!!!! After pulling my hair out for a few hours I found out that the problem appears to be caused by Zumocast. As soon as I shut down Zumcast and added these songs back to my iTunes library everything worked.

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