Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Why Can't I Play My Music From iTunes With Other MP3 Devices?

I use my old phone to play MP3's inside the car, and usually stream this to my car's stereo system using bluetooth FM transmitter. No problem playing back the tracks which I have downloaded from the internet using an MP3 downloader from an android device. I am not really a fan of iTunes when it comes to music, and I usually play MP3's with Windows Media Player in a computer.

My wife is a fan of Michael Bubble and asked me to transfer her favourite music in her iPhone. Of course I used iTunes to rip and transfer, which was succesful and quite quick. I tried the music from the Mac and liked it. From then I used to like the Bubble music and copied the files into a memory stick which then I could  playback at the car's stereo using  the bluetooth FM transmitter with USB and memory card slot. The FM transmitter is about 4 years old and I know it can take WMV and MP3 music formats. For some reasons, the transfered music files from the USB stick do not play at all, it can not even detect any file!  I tried to insert it into the " i Want It " iPhone dock that has an MP3 USB function, but just the same, the files were not detected and do not play at all.

The Suspects

My usual suspect when this happens is, corrupt data. The most sensible thing to do with this problem is to erase the data and start to copy the files again from the computer. Making sure they are all copied, I tried to open and play the files using the computer's iTunes and Windows Media Player programs, and they are playing very well from the copied files on the USB !  But to my dismay, the files on the USB stick were not detected and still do not play with the car's MP3 FM transmitter and the the same with the  iPhone dock!

Next suspect is the file format. I took a closer look at iTunes (  I clicked  iTunes, Preferences, Import Settings) and it says that it encodes AAC as a default when ripping CD's.

File format incompatibility is further confirmed when I have investigated one of the files.  The file format of the ripped CD is on MP4 or M4a.

The Solution

Gone back to the iTunes preferences, I've chosen MP3 as the default encoder for CD ripping or importing setting.

The I went back to the iTunes music files, right clicked (for MAC users point to the file then press ctrl + click the mouse) and highlighted the tracks I wanted and clicked Create MP3 Version. 

Conversion in progress...

The second file of the same number and file name is the created MP3 versions. To copy those into the USB stick is to open then into a new window and show them in the finder in Mac  or open them in windows explorer in Windows.

The MP3 files shown in finder are now ready and can be transfered to the USB stick or any MP3 player. The files now play perfectly  in the car and the iPhone dock using the USB stick!

Not all MP3 players are compatible with M4a music formats, the resulting file when AAC is used as a default converter or encoder for ripping CD's. AAC is the default encoder for iTunes and I recommend changing it into MP3 encoder as all of the portable music devices, apple products included, are MP3 file compatible!

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