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iTunes 12.9

May 13 2019 - 4:57 pm

iTunes 12.9.5.5

Apple has included iTunes 12.9.5.5 with the macOS 10.14.5 update. The previous version of iTunes was 12.9.4.94. The new version is only available when the operating system is updated and there is no stand-alone installer.

There doesn't appear to be too much different. However, as in iOS 12.3, there are some minor changes to Apple Music's For You page. For example, the 4x4 "because you like/listen" blocks of album recommendations have been replaced with 4 Genre groups of 12 albums and playlists. [Update: this was rolled out to all users.]

This is probably the last version of iTunes that Apple releases before the macOS 10.15 beta is released to developers in June at WWDC; it is presumed that a new Music.app will debut then as well.

May 1 2019 - 9:30 am

Applying Artwork in iTunes Corrupts Some MP3 Files

Over the past few months—I want to say since Mojave's release last year—I have gotten a few reports from users of my artwork scripts regarding a bizarre corruption issue when applying artwork to some types of MP3s.

Essentially, when artwork is applied to the MP3, its file "echoes" the last few seconds of audio data which increases the size of the file. Here is a screenshot sent to me by Correspondent Brandon Pfeiffer, showing the phenomenon in an audio editor (I think it's Fission; no matter, really):

Each "echo" represents a single attempt to add artwork. The new size is reflected in the Size and Time for the file in iTunes as well.

I have not been able to replicate this myself so it has been very difficult to figure out what's going on. However, Brandon did some experimenting and discovered some details. First, it's probably not an issue with the AppleScripts, since Brandon was also able to see this issue when he "manually" applied artwork via a track's Info panel.

Some other observations:

  • The source of the MP3s did not seem to make a difference (home rips, Amazon downloads, etcetera)
  • The image file being applied may be a factor, its size, type, and so on. However, Brandon could not find a consistent factor in this regard.
  • Changing the ID3 version in iTunes had no effect.
  • Re-converting a corrupted MP3 to MP3 in iTunes restored the file to its un-corrupted length. (Subsequently adding artwork to such a file, however, eventually corrupted it again.)
  • The new file encoded by iTunes did not appear to have the issue at first (the song duration did not change); however, closer inspection using an audio editor (or even just playing via QuickLook in Finder) revealed that the duration had in fact changed, but was yet to be reflected in iTunes.
  • Re-encoding the corrupted file using FFmpeg produced several of the following errors: “Header missing - Error while decoding stream #0:0: Invalid data found when processing input”
  • Re-encoding the original downloaded source MP3 using FFmpeg did not produce any errors.

Sure beats me. I'll have more follow-up as it develops.

[Update: Several Correspondents have emailed to confirm that they have seen this behavior after manually editing artwork; AppleScript was not a factor.]

April 8 2019 - 8:15 am

Metadata Not Sticking to MP3s? Might Be AirPlay and AppleTV

Over the past few months, probably since the release of Mojave and iTunes 12.9, I've occasionally received queries from Correspondents concerning a problem with changing the tags of MP3 tracks. The changes wouldn't be written to the MP3 files' metadata or would revert back to what they had been before the change. It affects MP3s only, not M4As.

I was not seeing this myself nor was I able to replicate it, but, as I say, I was asked if I knew about it a few times.

This post at Apple Support Communities appears to have discovered a factor involved: AirPlaying to AppleTV. When AirPlay to AppleTV is turned off tags would be written correctly to the associated MP3 files.

I'm wondering if this could be related to another MP3 issue I have heard about recently. And this is weird. Whenever a script of mine is used that applies artwork data to an MP3, the file is mangled in such a way that the last several seconds of audio is copied and added to the end of the audio file (I said it was weird). I could not replicate this either.

March 25 2019 - 7:30 pm

iTunes 12.9.4.94

Apple has updated macOS to 10.14.4. When you update you'll get an update to iTunes, version 12.9.4.94.

The previous version was 12.9.2.5.

I don't know exactly what's changed, probably mostly under-the-hood stuff.

December 6 2018 - 9:44 pm

Mojave Update Updates iTunes

The latest macOS 10.14.2 Mojave update also evidently updates iTunes to version 12.9.2.5 and I have questions.

The previous version of iTunes was 12.9.0.164. Was there ever a 12.9.1.x release? I never had it.

Speaking of version 12.9.0.164: it was originally part of one of the Mojave betas and then installed by the final release of Mojave 10.14. Is there no stand-alone installer for this version?

Is there a stand-alone installer for version 12.9.2.5?

Is this how we are to get iTunes updates now? Via operating system updates? If so, why? And isn't it rather extraordinary?

UPDATE (December 8, 2018, 1:02PM): This Apple doc declares "iTunes comes bundled with macOS. To get the latest version of iTunes, update the software on your Mac". And "If you can’t update to macOS 10.14 Mojave, you might still be able to get some updates for iTunes (up to iTunes 12.8)." (h/t Peter Cook.)

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