View Full Version : iTunes can't find songs?

03-11-2003, 12:27 PM
iTunes just randomly deletes around 10-20 songs out of 1750 every week or so. iBook G3 600 running 10.2.4 with iTunes 3.0.1. All my songs are stored in the music folder, and, since I alphabetized my mp3 collection by artist, it's not that big of a deal to double click on the missing song (with the black exclamation point next to it) and "show" iTunes that I do in fact have it, but it's still a little bit of a pain. Anyone else have this problem or a solution?

03-11-2003, 01:58 PM
I think my sister had a similar problem, with songs still being on her hard drive but no longer being in her iTunes library. I've had iTunes manage my music library automatically (Apple's sorting method happens to be the same as the one I used back in my SoundJam days), and never had problems.

03-11-2003, 02:42 PM
I think I should clairify: iTunes doesn't actually delete the songs; they're still listed in my library and playlists. But, if I try to play them or when my iPod updates, it shows the little grey circle with an exclamation point in it next to it and says "The song '...' could not be used because the original file could not be found. Would you like to locate it? Cancel/Yes." Or, when my iPod updates, it says "Some of the songs in the iTunes music library were not copied to the iPod '...' because they could not be found (Do not warn me again checkbox). Ok."

Baron Bosse
03-11-2003, 03:28 PM
I have the EXACT same problem, and it's been bugging me for months. I thought it could be related to me having moved my music library to /Users/Shared/Music (to allow other users access), but I've never been able to solve it. And now I see there's someone else having the same thing happen, with the files in the original place.

I hope someone hears our plea for help :-)

03-11-2003, 03:44 PM
same here.

03-11-2003, 11:06 PM
To get all of your songs to match the library click on the advanced menu and select consolidate library. The reason for the black tab is you have mp3's in multiple spots (external drives or different folders) that haven't been added to your main library. If you always want to add songs automatically to your library, go to itunes preferences>advanced and check the Copy files to itunes Music folder when adding to library.

03-15-2003, 05:51 AM
dear macster this is happening to files that were made by iTunes3 and are in the right place for them, one day iTunes find them and the next it doesn't. + there is a problem in the qualety of the songs which brings me to ask if there is any other program avalible (freeware) like winamp etc, the windows media player can't play mp3 and the realone dosen't have playlist and other cool stuff like itunes.

03-15-2003, 08:34 AM
Paragon is right. This is some kind of bug which randomly causes iTunes (3 and predecessors) to lose its internal link to the song files for no reason that I've ever been able to reproduce. It isn't particularly serious, since it doesn't actually whack the songs, just an irritation and - at least in my case - doesn't happen very often. There is another (probably related) bug which occasionally causes the "show the original song file" command - or whatever it's called in English - to fail to return a result even though you're asking it to find the song currently playing.

As for the sound quality problem someone mentioned, I can't hear it. And, at any rate, unless you have pretty good speakers you're not likely to hear it either. All of which is a way of saying that iTunes is good enough for me. If it's not good enough for you, Audion, from Panic Software, is a splendid app, probably the best there is in absolute terms for listening to music - not just mp3s - on your Mac. I don't use it because it costs something or other (not much) and because it is understandly less well integrated with the rest of the system. It does though offer a range of "power-type" features that iTunes does not, and I believe too that that the newest versions now intregrate the iPod.

03-15-2003, 08:34 AM
Originally posted by paragon
dear macster this is happening to files that were made by iTunes3 and are in the right place for them, one day iTunes find them and the next it doesn't. + there is a problem in the qualety of the songs which brings me to ask if there is any other program avalible (freeware) like winamp etc, the windows media player can't play mp3 and the realone dosen't have playlist and other cool stuff like itunes.

Just a couple of questions, then maybe I can help. Did you previously use iTunes2? Are you using any external drives? When itunes can't find a song, where does it think the song file is? (CMD-I shows location) and (CMD-R will bring up the folder the MP3 is in). As far as quality do you have importing set to (192 kbps)?

03-15-2003, 08:41 AM
Could it be that the id tags are messed up. I don't have the problem you're seeing. Maybe you could check the songs that are behaving badly and see what version id tag it is using.

03-15-2003, 09:08 AM
Well, it probably is the ID tags. The point is that something is messing up links that previously worked correctly (yesterday, say), which is what I think Paragon was getting at. I mentioned that it's not a problem that causes me to lose sleep, so I've never made any real effort to reproduce it, but I have sometimes thought that it may be file system associated in that it does seem more likely to occur when I perform operations that move songs around - loading new groups of songs, cleaning up album names and so on (doesn't happen, by the way, to the songs I've just worked on). Oh, and it happens to single songs, not to folder types of groups, albums, artists, etc. Further, I don't think I've ever seen it happen to just one song - in the sense that if one goes missing you're about certain to find a handful of others gone as well. No obvious relation between them, however.

On somebody's sound issue: It's a good idea to take a look at the equalizer when something doesn't sound right. Incoming music - I suppose from other iTunes collections - sometimes resets it to improper levels. Since people occasionally jack the gain all the way up to get more noise out of their little speakers, you can get some pretty nasty bass rumble and such going until you get the decibel level back to something reasonable, for instance.

03-15-2003, 09:18 AM
Oh, a last thing. This problem is common enough that I remember seeing a script posted somewhere - MacUpdate, I think - which was intended to strip the missing links and their little gray exclamation points out of playlists! Kind of silly really, that way you don't even know what you've lost, but it's still sitting there on your hard disk eating up space.

You could use the "consolidate" function to pick them back up, but it also consolidates other sound files on your disk - game sounds and so on. Stripping them back out is a pain.

03-15-2003, 09:30 AM
Under the advanced menu in iTunes there is a Convert ID3 Tags... selection. Try converting the IDtags

My songs are using ID3 tag v2.2 and am having no problems.

It might be that the bad tags are from MP3's downloaded off the internet.


Baron Bosse
03-15-2003, 10:44 AM
If it's a problem related to ID3 tags, it'd be strange, because it doesn't seem to correlate in any way to what type of files it is (LAME or Fraunhofer, bitrate, ID3 tag version, wether I've encoded them myself or not, etc). Seemingly totally random songs just go missing all of a sudden. And I've never had the same song dissappear twice (that I can recall).

03-15-2003, 10:50 AM
Originally posted by Baron Bosse
...And I've never had the same song dissappear twice (that I can recall).

Excellent point Baron. Since all I did in the past was find them again after they disappeared, I should be having the same problem over and over with the same songs - which is not the case.

Baron Bosse
03-16-2003, 08:06 AM
It's quite mysterious.

And also, it's not happnening on a regular basis. Sometimes it happens almost every day, while at other times it may be weeks between occurances. It all seems totally random.

03-16-2003, 09:39 AM
Have you ever consolidated the library?

03-16-2003, 12:05 PM
all my files were made by itunes 2 or 3 and I have an ibook so no external drives. the sound that I am talking about have nothing to do with equlizers or my spikers, when I play the same song on realone it sounds great.

03-17-2003, 09:16 PM

Not sure why your sound is bad. As far as finding songs consolidating the library should take care of that. The only downside to consolidating the library is duplicate mp3's and extra sound files might be added to your library, which can be deleted.

If you have itunes scripts installed, it has a script that lists all the songs and artists in your library. You can compare this to what songs are in your itunes music folder to see what needs to be added.



03-18-2003, 02:32 PM
finding the file is as easy as finding a clit in the dark it is also just as uncomfterble :o)
what I mean is that because the way iTunes arainge the files it is really easy to find it back but it is just not very comfy, they should fix it, now it is a fry murket and open season on os x so more and more programes will show up, apple has to stay on top of things, that is what I think, they can't afored to have "bags" or what ever like this. all in all it is the best program, though I do have some wishs like to be able to chainge skin and cool stuff like that.

03-18-2003, 02:34 PM
I ment :)

Baron Bosse
03-18-2003, 08:52 PM
macster: I have tried to remove my entire library, and remake it by dropping the music map on it, adding every song in there at once. I have also tried to cconsolidate the library, but that only removed the songs completely. It's like iTunes just ignores the files like they weren't mp3 files at all, even though they obviously are.

03-20-2003, 10:33 AM
I wanna know why the windows media playr for mac os x can't play mp3 and why isn't there a playlist like there is in the version for windows?

Baron Bosse
03-27-2003, 11:02 AM
Does it really matter? WMP and all of the windows media formats truly suck anyway, so why use any of it? I would prefer not to touch it with a 50' pole.

08-06-2003, 09:35 AM
And it is driving me slowly nuts!

Out of my library of 1150 songs itunes can't find 10-20 of them at any given time. I can manually "find" the songs through itunes but this is a pain for so many songs so frequently.

-I have never moved or touched my itunes library.
-This doesn't happen to songs that have end up in the "compilations" folder- I checked that.
-95% of my music isn't downloaded- it was ripped in to itunes 3 or 4 from the CDs. Thus, most of the "missing" songs are from CDs.
-I had this problem in itunes 3 and still have it in 4
-I have in prefs both 'keep itunes music organized" and "copy files to itunes music..." selected.
-I sync with my ipod and it neither seems to help the problem or make it worse.

Someone suggested "consolidating the library"- is that safe to do? The only music I have on my ibook is in itunes. Will it help?

Also, is there a way to "rebuild" the itunes library, like rebuilding the database in entourage?

my hunch is that this is a bug- i submitted feedback to apple about it and i think everyone else should do the same. I haven't tried calling apple care- since i paid for it that is what i'll do next.

04-18-2007, 10:37 AM
Are there any resolutions for this? I have 115GB of music in almost 9000 tracks, and have them stored on a SMB-mounted share as I don't have room on my powerbook drive. Right now probably 30% of my tracks are showing up as "not there" with the exclamation mark, despite the fact that if I double click on one, it plays just fine and is not in fact missing.

I've tried consolidating my library, but can't consolidate it on my local drive due to a lack of space. Consolidating on another remote drive didn't solve the problem. If anything it's worse now. There's no way I'm going to reimport my whole library as I've rated EVERY SINGLE FILE and am not going to go through that again.

I've searched dougscripts.com and haven't found anything (yet) that will fix this problem.

- Andrew.

04-26-2007, 09:19 PM
Hi aclarke- I hear you! I have the same problem. Except 97% of my songs wont play (I DON'T get the ! mark) I cant even figure out what is different between the songs that play and the ones that wont.

I have searched dougscripts too- and I thought AddLib might help but it didnt do anything that I can see- and I had it running all night!

I'm at my wits end. (and yes my files are stored externally as well)

05-25-2007, 06:51 AM
I remember this happening before and found the fix. Now it is happening again and I can't remember the fix.

05-28-2007, 10:51 AM
Various file searches will find songs that have the gray ! beside them, and then it's easy to drag them BACK into iTunes. Why can't it do that for you? Even limewire users find songs iTunes claims aren't on my computer. BTW, I use a Windows machine, too, and that's the one we're talking about, since this problem, based on posts, is a cross-platform one.

saturnine prdxns
06-22-2007, 07:55 PM
the easiest way i've found to recover all itunes tracks is simply to select all tracks, and delete, and move to the trash.
you probably want to be sure to empty the trash before doing so so as to make sure you aren't putting random stuff into your itunes.
once all your tracks are safely deleted from itunes, open your trash. simply select all tracks, drag and drop back to itunes.
i had this happen just today after a dejavu back-up that occured last night. i have roughly 40gbs of music and nearly half of the tracks "could not be located".
i knew i wasn't going to spend the rest of my life relocating each track by hand!
also... i tried the "bring out yer dead" script which is useful if you're only missing a couple of tracks, but then... if you're only missing a couple of tracks, you don't need a script.
which is my complaint about "boyd". useful in the most retarded way.
anywho... hope this helps anyone that runs into this issue again.


12-11-2007, 11:28 PM
I have the same problem. saturnine, I like your tip except I lose my Play Counts which are quite valuable to me. Reinstating them is as much work as manually locating each track.

12-15-2007, 11:51 PM
I've never had to post to the forums here because I have always found a solution to my problems! I'm having the same probems everyone on this thread is having. The only difference is that I'm finding the missing songs in my compilations folder when the songs aren't in any compilations on my itunes!....Say i have a U2 album in my itunes folder....track 3 & 7 are missing from the "joshua tree" but ARE in the compilations folder in another folder titled "joshua tree"....really confusing. I have to grab those 2 songs, and put them into the U2 "joshua tree" folder....like they were relocated when I imported the CD....just using U2 to make a point here...

iTunes is randomly putting some songs from some albums and sometimes ENTIRE albums into my compilations folder!...at this point, I assume I have to manually put everything back into it's respective folder....which is a pain when you have 90 gigs of music!

any suggestions?

12-16-2007, 10:50 PM
if you are using windows, find this file:

iTunes Music Library.xml, I found mine in: C:\Documents and Settings\***\My Documents\My Music\iTunes

it could be named something else I guess ... so if you can't find this file, search for any XML and look through the ones belonging to iTunes.

if it's huge you'll need a unix program like less to go through it or some other editor that doesn't try to load it all into memory to view it ...

search through this file and you'll eventually come across the path after a tag like this: <key>Location</key>

in my case, I had re-mapped a drive using a different letter than the one contained in this file. I switched the drive back to the old letter and things were fine.



12-19-2007, 10:57 AM
Sorry. Should have stated...G4 tower, dual 500, OSX10.4.11, whatever the newest version of itunes is today.

03-30-2008, 11:58 AM
Gyaworski (geoff),

I had to register on this message board just to give you props. You are the man!

I read this whole message string and was just about to give up when right at the end you had posted the perfect fix to my problem. That's probably why there aren't many posts after yours. You solved the riddle.

I guess by plugging in various external data storage devices, the external hard drive that I keep all my music in got assigned a different letter than when I originall set up iTunes.

Anyhow, for those of you using Windows, check out this link if you need to figure out how to change a drive letter: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307844

Thanks again Geoff. You just save me hours and hours of dreadful reconfiguring.

- Aaron

05-27-2008, 08:08 PM
ok. so i followed a variation of one of the suggestions (saturnine). i selected everything in my itunes library and deleted them. when prompted whether to delete or keep the actual files , i KEPT the actual files. when the library was empty, i went to file->add to library and selected my iTunes music folder. the whole process took about 15 minutes - i have about 20gb of songs - and iTunes also went ahead and retrieved all the album artwork. seems to be working fine now.

i dont know how this will affect my "purchased music" stuff and whether iTunes will remember that I actually bought songs that might still have the path missing in that particular folder. But my main library is now all synced up with none of the annoying grey ! marks.

05-11-2010, 02:08 PM
I was having the same problem as a lot of the people here and i found the cause of the problem!
(or at least this was the cause for me)

The problem began when I moved my whole itunes library from a PC to a new MacBook. I was very careful about moving all the library files etc and was pleased to find that everything worked well, that was until random songs were unlinked. After getting bored of relinking seemingly random songs every now and then, i decided that there must be a cause, and here it is:

Macs have restricted file name lengths!!

Windows file names can be basically as long as you want, so when the music was imported originally it had full filename lengths. After moving the files to my MacBook, the filenames were chopped in length.
It was only songs that had long names that needed relinking.

Can anyone think of a possible solution to this?
I'd imagine that it would involve editing the XML file and/or Library file(s) (in which case we're all stuffed)

Does this 'cause' apply to anyone else? It's definitely my problem.



07-03-2010, 04:31 PM

I have been having this same problem very recently. And it does seem to occur to tracks with long path/filenames. In my case over 100 tracks are affected.

This happened to me overnight. I'm not sure what triggered it. My iTunes library and media tracks are stored on a USB hard drive connected to an XP server. I have iTunes 9.1 on OSX.4.11 and iTunes 9.? on XPSP3 accessing the same library.

I can individually locate the files affected, however it is very time consuming for the number of tracks affected, and I have no idea whether the same problem will occur again sooner or later.


02-23-2011, 06:39 AM
mcharvey10. I am having the same problem, except my problem is that my XP PC died and I bought a new windows laptop. But when I downloaded the itunes data from my external HD to my new itunes file, the itunes library appeared, but no sound. I think I may have solved the problem after reading all of the above. I deleted all the library contents in itunes and then copied the itunes music file back into itunes and it seems to be working.

03-18-2011, 10:49 AM
In 3 months with the wonderful world of Apple (many years a windows user) - I seem to have problem after problem.

Certainly a very poor experience so far.

I have a brand spanking new iMac. Due to numerous difficulties I decided to reinstall the OS. Mac OS X 10.6. this was reinstalled to a 'clean drive'.

I have a Synology server setup with all my music files on it. Before the reinstall - itunes worked fine.

Now - having pointed the library to the Synology - iTunes refuses to display any tracks in the music library at all.

It does, however, show the diskstation in the shared folder.

At a loss - again.

No doubt - more 'fiddling' required.

Apologies for sounding irritated.

Just very, very disappointed with the much vaunted 'World of Apple'

03-23-2011, 12:42 PM
I suffer the same issue.

What I have done is to create two smart playlists: one where album is Unknown, and the other where Artist is Unknown.

Generally this enables me to find the offending tracks and fix them. However, I find I need to re-add them to playlists... So I don't remove the broken link until I have done that as well.

The pattern is random. I've consolidated years ago, etc, etc, etc.... Seems to be a gremlin.

03-23-2011, 01:03 PM
I've been using iTunes in windows for many years. Fundamentally it is a flakey piece of software.

I got my music back into iTunes by importing all my music from my external drive (this is where the iTunes libray is pointed to). This works, but is a very clunky way of doing things.

My backups before reinstalling the iMac have failed miserably to deal with my playlists - I will need to do them again. Ho hum - the wonderful World of Mac :o.



03-24-2011, 08:41 AM
Try this link: http://www.ilounge.com/index.php, where you might find "Transferring your iTunes Library" and "How iTunes Manages Content Media". One very essential rule is not to touch (alter their name) iTunes library's files, other ways the exclamation point appears!
In case the have canceled the article above, notify me your e-mails, so I can send it to you. (I don't know how to submit it here! Any suggestion?)
Good luck!