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iTunes 4.5 Special Report

iTunes 4.5 Special Report

Originally posted Friday, May 21st

Covering these, and other topics:

Compatibility problems with iTunes-recorded CDs (in set-top, portable CD/DVD players)

Several readers have had problems playing iTunes-burned CDs in set-top and portable CD/DVD players. Many have found that CDs burned in iTunes that do not work in set-top CD/DVD players can be redeemed by mere duplication with another recording tool, like Toast.

MacFixIt reader Reggie Barton writes "My experience is that music CDs burnt with iTunes work in every player I've put them in with the exception of my dad's ford pick up! I've also found that simply burning a duplicate with Roxio's Toast makes a playable CD for his truck... It's very odd. I have a G4 QuickSilver with a SuperDrive (Phillips). I experience this issue no matter what brand of media I'm burning on."

Certain drive models more susceptible? It seems that some drives are more prone to producing incompatible audio CDs than others.

Dennis Taylor writes "The most interesting thing is the fact that at work I have access to several Macs. I can make a CD from my Dual 1GHZ QS G4 (Pioneer drive) the CD plays in my car no problem. I also have access (my current work horse) is a Dual 2GHZ G5, this also burns audio CDs that will work in my car (again it has a Pioneer superdrive). I am beginning to wonder if the model of drive has anything to do with it. Even the older G4s that have a 'Lite-On' CD burner under the system profiler work in my car. I had contacted Apple about this and they say that I should reinstall the system to see if it fixes it. (keep in mind I have already created a new user, reinstalled the system, and already wiped the entire machine and reinstalled everything) this does not work."

Steps of precaution Meanwhile there are a number of measures users can take to increase chances of broad compatibility from iTunes-burned CDs. First, use high-quality media. Brands vary, but there seem to be more problems with generic, "store-brand" media" and less problems with media from Sony, Memorex and Maxell.

Further, several readers have had success with setting iTunes to burn at 1x speed and not running any other applications while burning a CD.

More on media brands A MacFixIt reader writes "I've been using Sony data discs exclusively for several years. They are easy to find and there's always deals to be had. Since I've had the G4 (11/03), I've had many discs with intermittent problems. A friend suggested using Sony Audio CD's and BINGO! I've had total success in all the players I've tried."

More on reducing burn speed Another reader writes "I had so many problems that turned up the day I installed the very first instance of OSX. So I set my burn speed in iTunes to 8x back in 2002 (an insult to my Lacie that would happily cruise at 40x). I'm using a G3 iMac DV+ running OSX 10.3.3, itunes 4.5, Lacie external CDRW and any old media I can buy in the supermarket for cheap and I now have no problems whatsoever.

Party Mix, Shopping cart problems and interface modifiers: Simple fixes

There are a few problems in iTunes 4.5 caused (in some cases) by Unsanity's ShapeShifter interface modification tool. These include shopping cart and Party Mix issues. Unsanity says its haxie is not the only culprit in this situation, and offering a fix that does not require disabling ShapeShifter.

Unsanity's Jason Harris writes: "The issue is that iTunes 4.5 is using iTunes 4.2 resources because ShapeShifter had cached them for speedy access.

"The fix is simply to reapply your theme using the ShapeShifter preference pane and relaunch iTunes.

"I don't think that ShapeShifter is the only issue here - I think that Apple's servers were also getting hammered. People who have never installed ShapeShifter were getting the same errors. But using the cached resources can't be a good thing, so I suggest that all ShapeShifter users follow the above procedure. Apologies to all for any inconvenience this has caused, and please rest assured that we'll be resolving this in a future release of ShapeShifter."

Scripts not working; ShapeShifter A MacFixIt reader writes "I have 8 scripts in ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts/ they worked perfect with iTunes 4.2 but since I updated to iTunes 4.5 the Scriptmenu is missing."

The same reader writes that disabling ShapeShifter re-enabled the Scripts menu. "I just found the problem. It's ShapeShifter, I applied the normal Aqua Theme, then I deleted this folder ~/Library/Caches/ShapeShifter/ then you can apply your theme again. Now my Script menu finally works again."

If you are still experiencing problems with ShapeShifter, you may want to try reverting to the Aqua theme, restarting or logging out and back in, then re-selecting the theme.

If you problems persist, try excluding iTunes from the ShapeShifter themed list.

Store-bought audio CD causing crashes

We've received a handful of reports indicating problems with store-bought audio CDs and the new version of iTunes.

MacFixIt reader Darren Gibbs writes "I've installed the new version (as well as QT 6.5.1) on my TiBook (667MHz) and a friend's PowerBook (Pismo). In both cases, inserting Audio CDs caused problems. OS X saw the CD and mounted it, iTunes launched and accessed CDDB to get the track names. However when attempting to a track on the CD, iTunes froze. Force Quitting iTunes and re-launching it didn't help. Restarting the PowerBook and trying to preview tracks from the Finder resulted in similar behavior. The Finder froze immediately after clicking on the CD's icon and before displaying a list of tracks. Force Quitting the Finder twice caused a kernel panic. I've since tried 2 more CDs and so a total of 3 out of 5 caused the freezing behavior. Working CDs will work every time, non-working CDs don't work every time. All of them were manufactured in the 80s so I don't think it's a copy protection issue."

{MacFixIt_StoryBox}

Reversion to iTunes version 4.2 for volume, other problems

For users who continue to experience problems with purchased music tracks after following the instructions for installing all required new updates in order, or are dissatisfied with the new volume controls, MacFixIt reader Wayne has a simple process for reverting to version 4.2 of iTunes:

"I did a 'test' upgrade to 4.5, and of course found that my daughters and I cannot share our libraries. So, I renamed the iTunes application to iTunes 4.5, and copied a 4.2 version from my daughters iBook. iTunes 4.5 seems to have only renamed by 4.2 library to "iTunes 4 Music Library (old)", I moved the 4.5 library to a tmp directory, and renamed the "old" one back to "iTunes 4 Music Library".

"Starting iTunes (4.2) confirmed that I had successfully restored it. Several of the free songs I downloaded after my upgrade were easily added back using the 'Edit/Add to Library...' menu options."

Authentication, and tracks not playing in other iLife apps

Some users are unable to play purchased music files (and in some cases other, unprotected MP3 files) through other iLife applications (iPhoto, iMovie, etc.) after updating to iTunes 4.5. Contrary to some other circulating reports however, playing iTunes purchased file in other applications after the update is possible (see "Solutions" below). In fact, Apple's intent was to disallow other third party applications (not its own) from accessing iTunes libraries.

One reader's situation "iPhoto keeps asking to authorize this computer when trying to play purchased music on the slideshow feature. It opens iTunes and then asks for a password and then nothing happens."

And another "I tried a slide show in iPhoto using music purchased previous to iTunes 4.5 and was unable to play with a message stating that the computer was not authorized and then could not get through to ITMS to authorize."

Obviously, Apple has updated the authentication mechanism in iTunes 4.5, crippling other iLife applications in some cases.

Solutions

Installing applications in the correct order to play purchased music MacFixit reader Trevor Curtis was able to play purchased files from iTunes 4.5 in iMovie 4.0.1 only after installing the latest versions of iTunes, QuickTime, and iMovie in a specific order:

  1. iTunes 4.5
  2. QuickTime 6.5.1
  3. iMovie 4.0.1

As noted by Apple Knowledge Base article #107969, "after upgrading to iTunes 4.5, you will need QuickTime 6.5.1 to use iTunes Music Store content outside of iTunes. QuickTime 6.5.1, in turn, requires the versions of iLife applications listed below, or later: iDVD 4.0.1; iMovie 4.0.1; iPhoto 4.0.1; iTunes 4.5

For some readers, deleting of ".plist" files for specific Apple-supplied components was required for proper playback of protected files. One reader writes "I removed the QuickTime and iTunes .plist files and the iMovie project folder. That solved the problem of importing DRM music into iMovie. If you have QuickTime Pro, make sure you note your serial number before removing the plist."

.plist files are located in ~/Library/Preferences. The specific files mentioned in this workaround are:

  • com.apple.iTunes.plist
  • com.apple.quicktime.plugin.preferences.plist

Re-importing from CDs Another solution that seems to work for music that is not purchased from the iTunes music stores is to delete the unplayable files and re-import them from original CDs.

Christopher Ehren writes "Almost none of my purchase music will play. I double-click a track and nothing. I have confirmed that the files exist in the proper directories. I had the same trouble with a few tracks that I had imported myself from CDs, but after reimporting from the original CDs, (a major pain) they're fine."

Older version of QuickTime Some users report that if they are using an older version of Quicktime (5.x), iTunes music will play in iMovies, but without sound.

Play songs first in iTunes for other iApps to access them It seems that some users have had success first playing the purchased tracks in iTunes before attempting to use them in other iApps.

We're not sure what exactly is triggered by initializing the song in iTunes, but the solution has nevertheless worked for a number of readers.

Richard Huyck writes "I 'purchased"'(Pepsi promotion) eight songs tonight. None of the new songs were able to be selected as a song for an iPhoto slide show.

"To get them to work, I first had to play them in iTunes, and then I was able to get them to work with the slide show with out any problems. All of the other users (wife and daughters) on this machine had to do the same thing."

A word about the new DRM and Apple's legal rights

Sharp eyes may have noticed that Apple added a specific clause to its iTunes music store license agreement (which users prompted to agree to again after the iTunes 4.5 update):

"You agree that you will not attempt to, or encourage or assist any other person to, circumvent or modify any security technology or software that is part of the Service or used to administer the Usage Rules."

As such, Apple will likely have greater leverage enforcing its DRM-stripping against tools like PlayFair that are created to crack to the new copy protection mechanism.

iPod-stored tracks cannot use some iTunes 4.5 features

Some new features in iTunes 4.5, such as the "Party Shuffle" random playlist function do not work with tracks that are stored on the iPod:

Andreas Pardeike writes "Do I really have to copy songs to my Mac to include them in the new features? I guess that leaves people like me who don't do full sync out of the extra features."

Problems loading large libraries

Several readers have had problems sharing large libraries from within iTunes 4.5.

John Oswald writes "Sharing large libraries is indeed a problem. I am sitting here watching two Macs trying to load a 50 GB plus library and they just can't get there. This same library loaded in just a few seconds yesterday before updating thee computers in question to iTunes 4.5."

Some users find that a specific number of files triggers the problem, and creating playlists just under the limit allow sharing:

Dave Nanian writes "I've had the same experience as Ron Morris regarding large libraries. I've found that a library with up to 28900 tracks will load fine in iTunes 4.5 using playlist sharing. Any more than that causes an infinite "loading" spinning beach ball.

"The only way I've been able to work around this problem is to create a playlist limited to 28899 tracks, and share that."

The most successful fix, submitted by Hans Havermann, involves selecting only a playlist (with few songs) for sharing at first, and then resetting iTunes' preferences to share the entire, large library:

"Only share a playlist at first. After the connected Mac sees this, re-preference the host to share the entire library."

Volume control changes

There are systemic volume changes since upgrading to iTunes 4.5; most readers are under the impression that music volumes are lower since upgrading to iTunes 4.5. However, the issue is actually that Apple has changed the scale of iTunes' volume slider. Posts by a member of the iTunes team in a thread on Apple's Discussions forums explain the change:

"The volume slider in iTunes is now logarithmic, like most stereo volume knobs. This makes it have a more useful range, but you might need to adjust the position to get the volume you are used to...Human hearing is logarithmic, which is why stereos have log volume.

"We got complaints that iTunes didn't have log volume, which means that when you adjust the slider, you can move it a lot at one end and it doesn't sound much different, while at the other end moving it a little makes a big difference.

"With log volume, moving the slider an equal amount changes the volume by the same amount throughout the entire range of the slider...The maximum volume did not change, i.e. the max is still 100% like it was before."

The advantage of iTunes' new volume scale is that you have finer control at lower volumes than before. It makes it much easier to fine-tune the volume late at night when quieter levels are necessary.

However, if you still do not like the new volume controls, you may want to try the utility iVolume, which many readers opine to work better than iTunes' built-in "Sound Check." option. Note, however, that due to Apple's new protection scheme, this utility will not work with AAC (iTunes music-store purchased) audio files.

iTunes Music Store Shopping Cart Issues

iTunes "free song of the day" problem MacFixIt reader Sam reports that there is a charge appearing next to one of the iTunes Music Store's free songs of the day, and that he is unable to remove the item from his shopping cart:

"About 10:30 PM Monday evening, 10 May, I went to download the latest iTunes free download (Simon Stinger's "French Connection" from the "Some Kinda Voodoo" album). The song was placed in my shopping cart, but with an attached price of $7.92. I'm unable to delete the song from the cart. The entry appears as one line for the album with a triangle on the left side; clicking the triangle discloses the song on a second line, much like the list view mode in the Finder. I've sent email to Apple about this as I'm neither able to delete the entry from my shopping cart nor re-add the (now listed as Free) song (I get an error about the song already being in my cart). Note that initially the song was not listed as "free" in the music store even though there was a link to it from the 'free song of the day' on the front page of the store."

The reader, Sam, has since resolved the issue with Apple's help:

"Regarding my previous note about the 'free download stuck in my iTMS shopping cart with a price of $7.92' issue, an exchange with iTunes Music Store support caused them to remove the bogus item from my cart and now all is well. Looks like the state of the cart is stored on an iTunes Music Store server, nothing I could do on my PowerBook about it."

So if you are having a similar problem, make sure to contact the iTunes Music Store support center immediately.

Resources
  • Compatibility problems wit...
  • Party Mix, Shopping cart p...
  • Store-bought audio CDs cau...
  • Reversion to iTunes versio...
  • Authentication, and tracks...
  • A word about the new DRM and Apple's legal rights
  • iPod-stored tracks cannot ...
  • Problems loading large lib...
  • Volume control changes
  • iTunes Music Store Shoppin...
  • Compatibility problems with iTunes-recorded CDs (in set-top, portable CD/DVD players)
  • Party Mix, Shopping cart problems and interface modifiers: Simple fixes
  • Store-bought audio CD causing crashes
  • Reversion to iTunes version 4.2 for volume, other problems
  • Authentication, and tracks not playing in other iLife apps
  • #107969
  • A word about the new DRM and Apple's legal rights
  • iPod-stored tracks cannot use some iTunes 4.5 features
  • Problems loading large libraries
  • Volume control changes
  • thread
  • iVolume
  • iTunes Music Store Shopping Cart Issues
  • support center
  • More from Late-Breakers