Another weirdness in Music

I discovered something else weird about Music the other day. I have an album that I bought several years ago, probably on CD and ripped to the computer, since I don’t see it in the iTunes store.

I usually listen to music on my computer, but the other day I listened to this album on my phone, and heard a track I’d never heard before. When I looked on the computer, there was one track on the album with zero plays. When I try to play that one track, Music tells me that my computer is unauthorised to play that track, despite the rest of the album working just fine. If I enter my Apple ID (I only have one), it doesn’t help. It says that the computer was previously authorised, and has been reauthorised, but trying to play it brings back the first dialog.

I don’t suppose that there is a fix for this, but it’s annoying to realise that I’ve been listening to an incomplete album all these years!

I’ve seen this with a couple of albums myself. One was Anchorman soundtrack, which I loaded into iTunes in 2005 and I’m pretty sure it was by CD. In 2019 another song showed up. I don’t subscribe to any of the Apple music services.


You can always check by doing a “get info” on the track. If you bought it from Apple, the file type will be “Purchased AAC audio file” or “Protected AAC audio file” (the latter for older downloads and/or files from streaming that have DRM restrictions). If you see some other type, then it came from somewhere else.

For files from the iTunes store, the Info box will also tell you when you purchased it and what account was used to purchase it. For any DRM-protected files, the Mac will need to be authorized for that account. Use the account presented by the file’s info for authentication.

If that doesn’t work, try logging into the iTunes Store and browse your account’s purchase history. You might see something there that explains the behavior.

1 Like

I see. If I do a Get Info, all the other tracks are “Purchased AAC audio file”, but the one in question says “AAC audio file”. The good ones show as purchased by me, giving my name and the old email address I used to set up my Apple ID, while the bad one lists the same email address, but not my name. Curious!

If it’s requesting authorization, that would normally mean that you bought it from iTunes before they stopped including DRM. Apple has never applied “authorization” to tracks one ripped themselves, except through some glitch or bug that I’ve never heard of.

If you’re certain you ripped it from a CD, my suggestion is to find the original CD in your collection and rip that track again. If it indeed did come from the iTunes Store, there are a handful of apps floating around that will strip DRM from old iTunes tracks. I don’t have a specific one in mind to recommend, though, as I haven’t needed such an app in several years.

The other option, if it came from the iTunes Store and you have a CD burner (not so common anymore), you can try burning the track to CD then re-ripping it from that. It may not work—it’s been long enough since I’ve had to deal with that in my collection that I don’t know whether it will allow burning an unauthorized track—but it might be worth trying.

1 Like

Very strange. This would imply that the problem one was ripped, not purchased. But as @Quantumpanda wrote, ripped tracks don’t ever require authorization.

But stranger still, the info for a ripped track doesn’t list an e-mail address. It will indicate the software that ripped the track, but no contact information.

For example, here’s a purchased track:

Note the presence of the “purchased by”, “purchase date” and “copyright” metadata, which is not present in a ripped file, for example:

Notice how this file has an “encoded with” field (indicating what software I used to rip this file), but does not have the three fields I mentioned above.

I wonder what Apple Music subscription tracks (e.g. those cached as a result of streaming) show up as. I have been assuming they appear as “Protected AAC” files, but maybe not.

Do you have an Apple Music subscription (maybe just a trial subscription) on your phone (which can play the track)? If so, then maybe the track arrived via that vector and isn’t playable on your Mac because it isn’t subscribed?

1 Like

Here’s one of mine (I cut off the bottom of the window, which just showed the location and a copyright notice):

It’s clear now that I had purchased this album on the iTunes store. Here are two of the track info screens, first a good one, then the bad one:

Both show the same email address, which is the one I originally used for my Apple ID. That email address went away several years ago, and I updated the email for the Apple ID, but that is unlikely to be the issue, since the offending track had apparently never been played on the computer. I have never had a subscription to Apple Music or anything beyond iCloud+.

Can you re-download the ‘bad’ track from the iTunes Store?

No, the album is no longer available, apparently. Clicking “Show in iTunes Store” leads me to a totally different song.

1 Like

Renaming an Apple ID or changing its e-mail address shouldn’t create a problem for authentication. Even if the downloaded track shows the old name (it will be the name that was active when it was downloaded), you should be able to authenticate using the current name/e-mail for that account.

At least this is the case for my content and my wife’s content - we each changed our Apple ID e-mail addresses over the years.

You should still be able to re-download purchases, even if they’re no longer available for purchase. From the Music app (I’m using the one on macOS Ventura):

  • Click on “iTunes Store” in the left-side margin
  • Click on “Purchased” in the right-side margin.
    • If it fails to retrieve your history, click “Account”, then provide your Apple ID and password. Then go back and try again.
  • From that screen, you should have access to all your purchases. You should be able to view everything or only those that don’t exist in your local library. From there, you should be able to play the tracks that are in your library and download those that are not.

Check if the problem song is visible there. See if you can play it from there. See if it works afterward. Or failing that, delete it from your local library (I’d make a local copy, just to be safe) and see if you can re-download it from there.

1 Like

Success at last! It showed up in Purchased, but wouldn’t play (same cycle of unauthorised, authorise and repeat), so I removed the download and redownloaded it, and it plays. It now has a different entry in the “purchased by” field, listing just my name, no email address, so I guess it’s worked out whatever issues it had with an inconsistency in both email address and full name (the old one apparently had my middle initial, the new one doesn’t).

Thanks for all the pointers!


I wish to know how you managed to change your Apple ID associated to previous purchases. I mistakenly used an internet supplier email address as my Apple ID when making my early purchases. Since I left that supplier, I don’t have that email, and I cannot authorize the old purchases on my new computer.

It’s been a long time since I did it, but changing the email address was simple enough. Changing the user name to the new email address took a bit more work. Basically, log into the Apple account and add the new email, then remove the old email. It really wouldn’t matter too much if I hadn’t removed the old one, as any email sent there would bounce, as it was no longer valid. All from memory. Of course, the Take Control book would have more detail. I’m travelling now, so can’t check it easily right now.

1 Like

As @john_brownie wrote, you just need to add a new e-mail address to an existing Apple ID. You should be able to log on and authorize purchases with either one.

These steps should work:

  1. Log on to
  2. Click on your icon in the upper-right corner and select “Manage Apple ID”. You will be brought to
  3. Click on Email & Phone Numbers
  4. You should be able to add/remove addresses and phone numbers

If you delete the e-mail address that is your Apple ID, you will be asked to enter an address to become your new ID. It can be either an existing address on your account or a new address (in which case, it will be added to your account after it is confirmed).

23 years ago when I had to create an Apple ID account for the iTunes Store, I used my AOL address. Later after joining Dot Mac and getting that address as an Apple ID, I wanted to merge them into one address. Unfortunately nobody at Apple knows how to merge two database entries into one (something just about any teenager can do nowadays) so I figured I’d add the Dot Mac email to the AOL Apple ID and the AOL email to the Dot Mac Apple ID but was told I wasn’t allowed to do that! So don’t try adding any email address that is already added to an Apple ID to an Apple ID anywhere else.

1 Like

Another thing I noticed with Music for MacOS is that they seem to have abandoned any update code for the Wish List. I can put a song or album on a Wish List, and I can Purchase it, but it will frequently stay on the wish list. And the “x” next to the listing is supposed to cross it off the List, does nothing.

It doesn’t help that on iOS the Music and iTunes (where you buy music) are 2 different apps. I just want to delete a Wish List song I decide not to buy

Sadly, this has never been possible with Apple IDs. I suspect it’s because they’re too bound up in the security underpinnings of the ecosystem to treat like simple database entries.

It’s got more to do with legal issues than with technical ones. If you could merge Apple IDs, you could transfer purchases en masse to someone else, and inheriting purchases would be trivial (at least for a single heir – just consolidate the departed’s Apple ID with your own). My guess is that Apple’s agreements with content providers include making it impossible to consolidate Apple IDs, since the providers require that “purchases” must be non-transferable.


1 Like

Also a good point—I’ve thought less about that sort of thing since moving everything to streaming.