the mp3s breathe shitty.
September 2, 2009 7:55 PM   Subscribe

okay, how did I screw up all my mp3's?

I recently backed up the hard drive on my iBook G4. 1.2 ghz. 1meg ram. I go to pull all my mp3's back over to my iBook after installing a new hard drive and there's lots of problems.

First, all of a sudden there's a lot of duplicate tracks where there weren't any before. And on some of the tracks that have duplicates the songs won't play all the way.

For example, I have the song "Ocean Breathes Salty" by Modest Mouse. When I try to play this song, it'll play to about 3 seconds in and then stop. Ditto for it's duplicate track.

I've checked the files in preview, and in preview, there's a skip and a pause in playing at the same point as in iTunes.


After that skip and pause the song will keep playing. So I'm guessing that certain of my mp3's were corrupted when I backed them up somehow. Does this sound like what's going on? What can I do to fix the problem?

I'm running Tiger 10.4.11. I'm running iTunes 8.
posted by tylerfulltilt to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If preview can play the files and Itunes cannot, and you are finding duplicated copies of the files, that is two points of evidence saying the mp3s are less likely the problem, and Itunes is more likely your issue here.
posted by idiopath at 8:08 PM on September 2, 2009

Sounds like the XML file that keeps track of all the metadata and file locations is 10 kinds of fubar.

What I would do is, with iTunes closed, physically move all the mp3s out of the "Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/" directory onto my desktop. Then delete the "Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml" file. Or the whole directory, if you want to get medieval -- iTunes will recreate it. Then I would start up iTunes and freshly import all the mp3 files (add to library...).

Be aware that some metadata is not stored in ID3 tags, and you will lose it. In particular, ratings. If you've done a lot of ratings, this approach might not be acceptable. I am not sure of any good way to repair this manually, maybe someone else can offer a suggestion.

As for the songs that cut off, check if this is set: Right click on the song, select "get info". Click on the "Options" tab. Is "end time" checked and set to something funky?
posted by cj_ at 9:21 PM on September 2, 2009

(Oh, the big fat disclaimer I should've added: Back up everything before you do this, I am not liable if it gets messed up even worse)
posted by cj_ at 9:22 PM on September 2, 2009

iTunes has a built-in duplicate-finding tool, if that's any help. It only goes by artist and track name, so you have to make sure it's not a live version or something like that.

Also, delete the binary iTunes library file but not the XML file before following cj_'s advice. iTunes can rebuild the binary file from that, and you don't lose as much metadata. I'm not certain it's all preserved, however.
posted by yesno at 10:19 PM on September 2, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, that's a good idea to start with the binary (it's just called "Music/iTunes/iTunes Library"). If the problem exists in the XML, it'll just get propagated, but perhaps only the binary is corrupted.

Another thing that occurred to me that might be useful, if in fact your problem is corrupted mp3 files: You can check if two files are identical using the command-line MD5 hashing tool. Open Applications/Utilities/ and check md5 hashes of files like so:

$ md5 "Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Artist/Album/Song Name.mp3"

(you need the quotes because of spaces in the file path)

It'll spit out a 32-character hex string that's unique to that file. If you run that command on a copy you know is good, they should match. If they do not, this is a case of corrupted data. A good start would be to compare the MD5 hash of a file not playing correctly and the backup version of it. Out of curiosity, why did you replace the hard drive? If you did so because it was failing, it's entirely possible the data you backed up didn't make it in tact.
posted by cj_ at 10:54 PM on September 2, 2009

right click and open with>Quicktime Player and see if it persists. If it does - copy it onto a flash drive in try it on a friends computer.
posted by glenno86 at 9:05 AM on September 3, 2009

Response by poster: cj_had it I think. I did the md5 hash check on a few of the mp3's and it looks they were corrupted during backup. I replaced the hard drive in this laptop because it failed. So it looks like your guess was right.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 4:40 PM on September 5, 2009

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