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Songs Disappearing from iTunes

248664 Views 551 Replies Latest reply: Apr 20, 2014 9:12 AM by keith 53 RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • LinUK Calculating status...
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    Sep 16, 2013 3:48 PM (in response to LinUK)

    I foolishly went back in to my itunes, and about a third of the five thousand songs now have an exclamation file next to them.  I have clicked on the find file option, but it can't be found.  I have searched, and there is no sign of the ones I tried, anywhere on my computer.  These tracks are all from CDs I purchased (and now don't have)


    This problem seems to have been going on a few years, judging by the google results.  I think it's time to move on to a different way of listening to my music, Apple is history for me now.   My next phone will not be Apple, and there's not much point having ipods/classics etc if my music keeps disappearing.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,960 points)
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    Sep 16, 2013 4:10 PM (in response to LinUK)

    You should still have the CDs that you ripped music from.

    You should have a backup of your library, media and other personal data.


    Assuming any of this media is still on any of your devices see Recover your iTunes library from your iPod or iOS device.



  • LinUK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 16, 2013 4:34 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    I have some of the CDs, but like most people, once I put these into itunes, I got rid of many of them.  I do have a back up from a few weeks ago.  I just uninstalled itunes and rebooted the pc.  I then downloaded itunes, and all my music appeared in it again, again with lots of  ! next to the songs.  I have never known music go in automtically before, I have always had to use the back up.  How do I get rid of all these darn songs that aren't actually there, and use my back up? 


    Years of it working fine, and now it is absolute rubbish.  Sorry to sound so angry, but it has taken me years to build up this library and for some reason today, itunes decided to get rid of many of my songs. I have deleted nothing, but they are quite definitely not on my computer any more.  If I try to play one song, suddenly the ! start appearing on lots of songs I haven't even tried to play! 

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,960 points)
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    Sep 16, 2013 5:11 PM (in response to LinUK)

    The exclamation mark shows when a track isn't where it is expected to be, either because it has been moved or deleted. One possibility is that iTunes has mistakenly moved some tracks from the old layout (artist folders in <Media Folder>) to the new layout (artist folders in <Media Folder>/Music), or vice versa, in error. If that were the case however the files should be somewhere. I've also seen a post from one user who found that their missing media was still there but hidden. I can't think of an obvious mechanism for this to occur however, nor is there any indication if it was caused by iTunes or something else. Over on Windows I have a script for fixing broken links if the files can be found, but I don't yet know how to replicate this in OS X.



  • LinUK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 16, 2013 11:36 PM (in response to turingtest2)

    Thanks for the reply.  I have very little on my computer, it only has photos, music and my emails on, so finding things is pretty easy. This music was disappearing before my eyes.  I truly had just played one of the songs minutes before, then when I went to play again, it was gone.  As I clicked on it, the ! appeared on lots of songs.  There is no rhyme nor reason for it, on  some it is one track from a CD, on others it is nearly all, it is madness. I am using windows.


    I have uninstalled itunes and removed all the music in the itunes folder.  For some reason, that folder with music remained when I uninstalled itunes. Just for info it is windows 8 (hate it!) and a Toshiba satellite. I have searched all over, no sign of music anywhere else.  As I say, there is very little on my laptop, so it is easy to find stuff.


    I guess I join the list of what appears to be thousands where their music just disappears.

  • Petederby Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 12:20 AM (in response to LinUK)

    There is nothing more frustrating than someone who is clearly IT savvy, telling you how simple it is to retrieve something that should never have been lost in the first place.


    I just want to plug and play, not become an amateur IT geek searching my computer to try and locate files that the programme has moved or deleted.


    ITunes is a nightmare, I have given up trying to fathom out why it randomly moves or deletes stuff?  I purchased a third party software to copy my itunes library off my I-pad (which was only intact because I refused to follow the advice of Apple Support who said all songs would automatically get uploaded back into I-Tunes off the I-pad!). 


    With this software I repopulated I-tunes and all was fine for a while - now they are all gone again.  I don't care anymore - I just use Spotify and will go back to I-Tunes as and when this stops happening.


    It used to be great  - maybe it will be again at some point.

  • LinUK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 1:09 AM (in response to Petederby)

    I hear you loud and clear!  My daughter refuses to update itunes, and she never has a problem.  I update, and suffer the pain.  I am no computer geek, but can find my way around a computer.  I removed every trace of itunes, and I am now putting it all back on from an old back up (not the last one, I thought I'd go back a bit).  We shouldn't have to do this, I have wasted hours of my life on this.  I will definitely be switching to some other thing, but no idea what is out there, I have used itunes for so long.  But come renewal, my iphone goes and things are getting changed drastically.  Life is too short to be spent trying to sort out Apple's mess.

  • Ukhutula Calculating status...
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    Sep 17, 2013 2:11 AM (in response to LinUK)

    Have the same issue and frustration. Apple must know by now that there is something wrong, but will not admit it nor issue a fix. I was a keen Apple supporter, but after losing so many CDs of great music I am also moving when my current iPhone contract is over and when my laptop is due for replacement. Apple was frequenty used as a case study of a great customer-focused and innovative company. Recently I was at a workshop on Business Process Excellence and Apple was a case study again, but this time as a company that had lost its way and was now embroiled in internal politics - the customer has been moved to the irrelevant bucket again.


    Coming back to the topic at hand. I have used various posts and instructions over the past 6 months to find the 'hidden" files in OS X - they are gone. I have turned off every possible way that Apple that can access my library (including turning off Genius, stopping iTunes manage my library etc.) but my library continues to disappear. Yesterday I lost another 47 songs. The "reburn your CDs" solution is not a fix - I've done this and the same CDs were deleted again. This "solution" is equivalent to telling a person whose micro-wave oven doesn't work properly to just reload another batch of the same food and try again. The issue is in iTunes.


    Fix the cause Apple!  My apologies to all for my frustration, but when a company you've respected and defended for so many years lets you down ...

  • DR76 Calculating status...
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    Sep 17, 2013 2:12 AM (in response to Ukhutula)

    @Ukhutula Something else to consider is whether or not you're experiencing hard drive failure. Particulary if you've disabled all automatic music management in iTunes and are still seeing songs go missing. Are you able to eliminate that as a suspect?

    I ask because that was my experience but I wouldn't rush to replace a hard drive unless you've run some diagnostics on it and identified issues.


    OS X 10.8.4

    iTunes 11.0.4

  • LinUK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 2:22 AM (in response to Petederby)

    Pete, I will look into Spotify. No idea what it is though!  I have put itunes back on my laptop and the back up music, and it is there again . . . but for how long?!

  • Ukhutula Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 2:24 AM (in response to DR76)

    @DR76. Thanks! That was one of the things I was advised was the cause of the problem as well. So I took my newly purchased Retina MacBook Pro back to my local Apple store who gave it a clean bill of health. So we come back to iTunes - have a look at and other posts. This is happening everyday to thousands and thousands of Apple customers

  • DR76 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 2:50 AM (in response to Ukhutula)

    @Ukhutula Unfortunately that's the extent of my experience with this issue. Considering you've ruled out hardware, it's got to be software related. Wishing you the best with finding a solution or alternative music manager.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,960 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 3:48 AM (in response to DR76)

    I'd agree that turing off the option to Keep iTunes Media folder organized is likely to be a good idea if this has happened, since that should be the only feature that tells iTunes it should move anything. What would be useful however is to find a concrete reproduceable situation in which the tracks are restored to a known path, then disappear again when played. This might help to pinpoint the circumstances in which it happens. Not having seen if for myself it is hard to guess what is going on, or why it only seems to affect some people.


    One possible area I can see for confusion is that Windows can present the same file on multiple paths, via mapped network drives, symbolic links and junctions. This is an issue for a deduping routine that I wrote that expects two tracks with different file paths to be independent objects, but deleting one caused the other to disappear. I don't have access to the iTunes code, but as far as I know it should be using a file move command to move things around inside the media folder, if & when it determines that they need moving, and should only delete any folders emptied as a result of a file move.


    I can see how this sort of thing might break links if there are duplicate entries in the library pointing to the same set of files, then the location is updated for one entry, breaking the other, but I still can't think of a mechanism that would discard files at random.



  • QuoteNotes Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 7:08 AM (in response to turingtest2)

    You've been very helpful on this thread, TT, but I think the issue is, Apple's customers shouldn't be the ones having to jump through hoops to solve a problem involving THEIR software. It's like having a radio that keeps changing stations and the manufacturer expects YOU to disassemble it and rewire the connections. I have a large library that includes 6,000 songs I downloaded from iTunes, along with thousands I've ripped from CDs. After spending weeks trying to remedy this problem, one fix morphed into another different kind of problem. It makes me wonder if some rogue code has gotten into their product.


    I have abandoned my iPod and I plan to do the same for my iPhone and iPad mini when the time comes.

  • turingtest2 Level 8 Level 8 (43,960 points)
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    Sep 17, 2013 7:47 AM (in response to QuoteNotes)

    Anyone with this issue can send comments and suggestions to iTunes Feedback or sign up for a free Apple Developer Connection account and make use of Apple's Bug Reporter site. The problem is getting a precise handle on exactly what happens and when. If you can show that you make it happen repeatedly for a given set of conditions then there is something to report. Otherwise it is extremely difficult to get someone else to accept that the software is faulty when it, presumably, passes the in-house tests.



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