iTunes Won’t Play a Song or Add MP3? Here’s a Simple Fix

Aug 17, 2010 - 14 Comments

itunes wont play song

I recently encountered a strange bug where iTunes refused to add a song to it’s playlist and wouldn’t play the original source MP3 file either. Interestingly enough, the mp3 file played fine with Quick Look and even was able to play within the Finder preview, but no matter what I did I could not add or import the mp3 file to my iTunes playlist.

Fix for iTunes not playing/adding songs and MP3s

I came up with a fix that involves opening the song with QuickTime Player and then re-saving it as an iTunes compatible format to play as usual, here are the steps:

  • Launch QuickTime Player
  • Drag or Open the MP3 file into QuickTime Player
  • From the File menu select “Save As”
  • Select “iPhone” as the Format
  • Click “Save” and let the mp3 file convert to an .m4v iPhone movie file

fix itunes not adding mp3

  • Locate the newly created .m4v file and rename the .m4v extension to .m4a to ensure iTunes treats it as audio, and drag that file into iTunes
  • Play the song in iTunes as usual

If you want, you can take this a step further and then select the song and convert it to AAC or MP3 with iTunes from the “Advanced” menu. Likewise you can use a third party utility like All2Mp3 and convert the song to MP3 that way as well.

If all else fails, you might want to learn to repair MP3 files, it’s not complicated and it will fix most other problems.

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Posted by: William Pearson in iTunes, Mac OS X, Troubleshooting

14 Comments

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  1. Arnan says:

    But the resulting m4v file is often treated as an video file. You’d want to rename the file to m4a at least to make iTunes treat it as an audio file.

  2. conyo says:

    Es un buen tip.

    Pero vamos, iTunes esta hecho para tocar files mp3. que arreglen el bug!!

  3. [...] a program like this is helpful when iTunes won’t play a song, it’s usually because the format is incompatible with iTunes or because the file is [...]

  4. [...] software you can try some other methods. I’ve found creative workarounds in the past when iTunes won’t play a song that involves importing the file into QuickTime and exporting it as a movie track before [...]

  5. slappy says:

    um… only works if you have quicktime pro…

  6. Mitch says:

    Man thanks so much bro, this worked for me and i have tryed some other bs, thanks for the advice man, it really helped, i will refer my friends to you if they have the same problem. Thanks again bro ur a saviour – Mitch

  7. Kinsey says:

    Thank you so much! I have tried so many things to get my MP3’s to play and this worked (and was ten times easier and free) Thank you!
    -Kinsey

  8. eekii says:

    it works, but i lose a lot of quality the bitrate drops from 320kbps to 128kbps.

  9. Vanessa says:

    Thanks a lot! This really works! I had trouble playing a certain .mp3 in iTunes and this was simple and fast!

  10. Khodi says:

    No one realizes that this is not a fix but simply a way to perform a lossy transcode? The audio quality is horribly degraded. You can’t take a compressed audio file and further compress it. For people who care about audio fidelity this is a cardinal sin.

    My ears are cringing.

  11. long dong says:

    The only problem is it lowers the bit rate to 128kbps which sucks.

  12. [...] mentioned this briefly when describing a problem when iTunes won’t play a song but it would play in Quick Look, and realized that many people might now know that Quick Look can [...]

  13. Peter White says:

    Just google search Step by Step Guide on How to Solve “can’t add music to iTunes” Problem?

    you will find a simple solution on “iTunes won’t add music” issue which helps to import all kinds of music like FLAC, OGG, WMA, CAF, MP2, SHN, QCP, MPC, PCM, APE, AMR, AWB, AC3, AUD, RA and etc to iTunes!

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