Help - iTunes: converted MP3 album, track lengths cut off



Active member
Nov 16, 2006
Directly Above the Center of the Earth
So, I'm having a rather strange issue, that I can't seem to make heads or tails of. I'll try to explain as clearly as I can, it'll be a long read. I'm on Win7 (for another week or so) and iTunes

I download albums from...various "sources," and they usually come in 320k MP3 format. When I import into iTunes, because I can't tell the difference, I convert them to 128k AAC for smaller filesizes. I import them into a "TEMP" playlist, then I convert, delete the original source files, and go put the new converted files into whatever playlist(s) I want them. This is how I've been doing it since 2006, and it's never been an issue. Until about a week ago.

That's when my wife asked me to find a particular album for her. I found it, imported, converted, put it on her iPod. She tells me all the songs cut off before the end. I investigate. I found something very strange:

  1. The first track was, I don't remember but let's say 2:34 in length. It converted just fine, and played to the end.
  2. The second track was SHORTER than 2:34 in length. It, and all other tracks SHORTER than 2:34 in length, converted just fine and played to the end.
  3. The THIRD track, and several others, were exactly 2:34 in length. They all cut off before the end.
  4. I investigated the original source tracks. All the ones that cut off were LONGER than 2:34 in the original source.
  5. When I played the original source tracks, they played up until 2:34 and then skipped to the end. They would briefly display, for example "5:08" (or however long the track was SUPPOSED to be), then increment the playcount, and start the next track.
...everything LONGER than the first track, was cut off at the length OF the first track. The source files skipped to the end, and the converted files were truncated at that point. 'Ah-hah!,' I thought, this looks familiar. This is what happens when the "stop at" time is set in the track "options." It's how you extract the "secret" song at the end of CDs that they put after 10 minutes of silence. But, that was not, in fact, the issue; the "stop at" option was not selected for any of the tracks, and even selecting it and setting it to the full track length, did not let them play to the end.

So I gave up. I figured, they must just be corrupted files, I find another source and try again. Only the exact same thing happens. Okay, maybe these two are actually the same source; they are the same format after all, so maybe one is just a "repackaging" of the other. I don't see a third MP3 source for the album, so I find it in FLAC, convert to WAV using foobar (since FLAC won't import into iTunes) and then import the WAV files into iTunes and convert again. (Yes, I know I can go straight to AAC from inside foobar, but when I do that, the files show as "127k AAC" when imported instead of 128 and that bugs me, so I do it the long way instead and do the final conversion from inside iTunes.) Everything worked fine, and I thought that was the end of it.

But it was not the end of it. I've just imported another album, and the same thing is happening. All the tracks that are LONGER than the FIRST track, are cut off/skip to the end, at the time OF the first track's length. I did some more investigating, all using the original source files:

1: The tracks play to the end in VLC Media Player. The weirdness only happens in iTunes.
2: If I skip to a point between the "cutoff" point and the actual end of the song, it skips to the end immediately.
3: It happens whether I COPY the files to the playlist directly from my "download" folder, or manually MOVE them into "iTunes Media" first and import from there.
4: It happens whether I select all the files and dump them in the playlist all at once, or drag-drop them one at a time
5: If I delete the first track after importing all of them, songs still cut off at the length of that deleted track, not the "new" first track in the playlist.
6: Likewise, reordering the tracks in the playlist, does not alter the point where they cut off.
7: Finally, if I import a different song first, songs cut off at the end-point of that first-imported song. This allows a workaround where I can import the longest song first, followed by all the rest. It works, but it's not ideal.

I'm stumped. Any ideas?


Staff member
Apr 26, 2006
iTunes has had a history of cutting off long songs since 2016. They have not resolved it as far as I can find. I don't think I have run into it yet.

The only fix I can find is using a new library, and I am not sure that will work. If you want to try it, you can create a new library, import the tracks, verify they are not cut off, convert and save. Verify the new songs are not cutoff. Then try to import the converted tracks into your original library to see if they are cutoff or not.

I won't even go into the degradation of the quality going between MP3 and AAC. Unfortunately since they are 320kbps MP3 they won't play on an iPod properly so some conversion is needed. Even 192 MP3 should be good and could be done outside of iTunes and possibly iTunes would play the whole thing.