Music can no longer open ripped files

I’m not sure how long ago this happened or what triggered it, but any files in Music that were ripped from a CD are now grayed out and won’t play. Any file that was a download plays just fine. I’m using the iMac these CDs were ripped to (I think). It’s on the latest version of Sonoma. I bought more iCloud storage and enabled Sync Library sometime in the last year. Unchecking Sync Library disappears all the grayed out items. Checking it again brings up a dialog asking to merge cloud music. Allowing that brings back the grayed out items, still grayed out and not playable. I could rip the CDs again, but it seems likely the files are still on my SSD or iCloud, although what I find under Music libraries and iTunes libraries (which seem identical) hasn’t worked, including the items labelled Previous Libraries. When I find the grayed items there they are still grayed out. Any suggestions welcome on retrieving these files. Thanks.

My understanding of greyed out (grayed out) files is that Music no longer knows where the actual ripped file is. Is it possible the files are in /~/Music/iTunes/iTunesMedia/Music which is the old location?
The new place for storing ripped songs is /~/Music/Music/Media/Music (this is a preference in Music / Settings / Files ). There is also a toggle to “Copy Files When Adding to Library”, which also existed in iTunes.

If your ripped songs are still on your Mac, you can tell Music where they are by selecting a track and choosing “Get Info” (Command I), and working through the prompts. If you have a lot of files, this can be tedious, but I don’t know a better way to “ungrey” a file. If you don’t care about maintaining the meta data like “last played”, “play count” etc., you can add them all at once, and then delete the greyed-out duplicate file.


Definitely sounds like the Music database no longer knows where the files are. As @seth wrote, a Get-info will tell you where Music thinks they are supposed to be. If the files exist in a different location, see if you can just move them to that location.

If the files don’t exist, well, there’s your problem - restore them from a backup (I hope you have one).

The preference is for where Music will rip/copy new files. But the media files don’t have to be in any particular location, as long as the Music database is pointing at that location. My music is all under an .../iTunes Music (not even “iTunes Media”) folder, which has been copied/migrated over the last 20 years (and my app preference still points to that location). Music seems just fine with it.

Thanks for suggesting Get Info. The files were in the current /~/Music/Music folder when I browsed the Library. Get Info on any individual track in Music gave the file location as Cloud with cloud status Waiting. I am still puzzled as to what got uploaded to iCloud: the tracks or the track table of contents that appears when you open Music. I don’t have many ripped CDs. I ripped again the three commercial CDs that had been ripped before, and once they had uploaded to iCloud they merged with the grayed out tracks that were there before. My problem was two CDs my brother had digitized from LPs no longer available. These are voice recordings made by our grandfather. It was no problem to rip them again, but they didn’t merge with the existing grayed out tracks in Music, creating a duplicate album instead. It appears that the actual music files in the Library did merge, but the link to the old album remained broken. The trouble is the individual tracks weren’t titled on the CDs, just numbered. I had typed in the titles track by track before and was hoping not to have to repeat the process (28 tracks!). I’m making it a little easier by copy/paste, but it’s still tedious. The titles won’t select from the list of songs, so I have to choose track on old album, Get Info, select title and copy, click OK, open unnamed track on the new album, choose track, Get Info, then paste into title, click OK. Seems like there should be an easier way, but I haven’t found it. Anyway, thanks to both of you for your help.

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Do you have iTunes Match enabled?

Match is intended to let you access your music on all your devices, with having to explicitly sync them.

The way it works is that an algorithm compares your tracks against tracks from the iTunes Store. If there’s a match, your file is replaced with the one from the Store. If there’s no match, the file is uploaded to an Apple server, so it can be streamed/distributed to your other devices.

That is, when it works. The reason I don’t use it (and the reason I don’t recommend anyone else use it) is that the algorithm doesn’t always work right. People have found tracks replaced with not-quite-exact matches (e.g. a mix from a different album, or a live recording from a different show). And there have been reports of complete mix-ups, where a file is replaced with something completely different.

If you’re using Match, then your files may have been deleted with the expectation that they will be replaced with tracks downloaded from the iTunes Store. But if there’s some problem with credentials or billing accounts, maybe a bug is causing the files to be deleted but not downloaded.

At least that’s an idea. If you are using Match, make sure Music is logged in to the iTunes Store using the same account that has your Match subscription. If you’re not using Match, then it will obviously be something else, but I can’t think of another idea at the moment. seems to have particular trouble with matching things in a way that iTunes never did. I had to turn off “Fetch album art automatically” because it was replacing correct art with art from other albums (sometimes completely unrelated albums—different artists, even different genres, some with no apparent connection to what it got attached to). There’s no way in Hades I will turn on iTunes Match. I’m not about to lose any significant portion of my 300GB+ collection (about half of which I ripped myself from CD over the course of several years) to a faulty algorithm.


If I ever enabled Match it was an accident. I don’t rule it out because I just ended a free trial of online Apple Music streaming. That free trial of streaming may have been what caused my problem in the first place. As soon as I ended the streaming service most of the tracks disappeared from my iPhone, including a bunch that had resided on the phone separately for a long time. Everything seems intact on the iMac; what’s left on the iPhone is weird (one song track from an album plus a complete Mahler symphony). I plan to follow Apple’s instructions for linking devices to Music in the cloud without a subscription but won’t have time to do it for a few days.

I had a really bad experience going from iTunes to Apple Music with all possible errors such as faulty album covers, missing files and duplicates. I have no idea why, but my iTunes library originated from when iTunes was introduced so I think that could be a reason. I did not have the patience to wait for potential bug fixes to take care of the issue and I finally made a reset of everything and imported my old ripped files again. Really annoying to loose all playlists etc. but everything seems to work since then.

I put many, many hours into ripping my CDs into iTunes. A lot of it is classical, so the track info pulled in from the database was almost always lousy, and fixing all of the track info added substantially to what was already a time-consuming task. I will never willingly entrust it solely to the Music app. I have several backups of the library and can access it from at least six older Macs. I use Cesium on my mobile devices, because it can display the information so much better.


Yes, but that information is normally stored in the files, not in the database. The exception is album covers collected by iTunes/Apple Music, those seem to be stored in the library database. If you have added data to your own files it should be in the files. So there is no need to worry about data that you have typed into the id-tags of the files. At least not for old mp3 files… I have not ripped many CDs the last years so if it works differently today I have to apologise for not knowing.