MP3s Played in iTunes Skip After 30 Seconds

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I’ve been having an odd problem in iTunes lately, and I haven’t been able to figure out how to fix it. I’ve also seen that this has been a problem for other users, as seen on Apple’s support forums. (Here’s one thread describing the problem.)

When I play certain MP3 files, they play for exactly 30 seconds, then skip. This happens to almost all MP3 files I’ve gotten lately, and the one thing they have in common is that they are encoded with LAME 3.99; older MP3s encoded with earlier versions of LAME don’t skip, and I have a handful of MP3s encoded with LAME 3.99 that don’t skip as well.


These are all purchased MP3 files, from classical music sites; one of the files is shown in the screenshot above.

If I try and play these files on my other Mac, they don’t skip; if I send them to someone else, they don’t skip. So there seems to be something going on which is a combination of my main iTunes library, and the LAME 3.99 encoding.

Some Apple forum posters suggest dragging the files to the Finder, then re-adding them to iTunes; if I do that, the first file may play correctly, and sometimes a couple more on on album, but not all of them. And it’s not clear that this solves the problem completely anyway.

Has anyone seen this? Any suggestions to resolve the issue? I’m stumped by this one.

Update: I think I found a solution. Since this was only occurring on one of my Macs, I figured it was a combination of two problems: the MP3 files, and my iTunes library. So I rebuilt my iTunes library (I describe that here; interestingly, it also helped me find the solution to another issue), and, for now, the tracks are playing correctly.

3 replies
  1. Mark Percival says:

    I’ve struck this issue just a couple of times on albums purchased from Hyperion and other similar sites. Not consistently though, so that makes the cause of the issue hard to trace. I’ve emailed the purchase sites about the issue and tried re downloading the albums album from my purchased list. No joy and no solution. Please let me know if you or someone figures it out. By the way, I read your blogs and columns frequently. They are great. One of your latest put me onto the Perahia boxed set. Great value and looking forward to its arrival.

    • Kirk McElhearn says:

      See my update above. I think I found a solution. I’m not sure what the cause of the problem is though.

  2. Ben says:

    No problems on my Windows 7 setup running Win7 x64 & iTunes 11.2.2. Files I’ve transcoded from FLAC with LAME 3.99r ( iTunes shows as LAME3.99). Are the files you had issues with using VBR or CBR encoding? I tried files using each and both played fine.


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