MP3 and MP2 Files and iTunes 4.9

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If you download an MP3 or an MP2 file from the Internet and save it to your hard drive, after playing it in the browser window via the Quicktime plugin, it may have a Type of MPEG and Creator of TVOD. When iTunes 4.9 (possibly 4.8, too) comes across these files, it sees them as "Quicktime movie files" instead of MPEG audio files. iTunes won't stream these files to an Airport Express any more. Some people have reported that they also can't be put on an iPod, and that they can't be converted to other file types, like AAC. There's nothing actually wrong with the files, however, just the wrong type and creator codes.

The Fix

To fix this problem, you need to change the type and creator of those files to something that iTunes sees as an audio file. When you use iTunes to encode an MP3, it uses MPG3 and hook as type and creator. While I wasn't able to find the actual type code for MP2 files, I just guessed that it might be MPG2.

In looking through my music, I discovered a small number of these files in my collection, so I whipped up a quick AppleScript to fix the type and creator for these files. You can customize it based on the notes in the script.

on open badfiles
  repeat with i in badfiles
    set the item_info to info for i
    --Change "mp3" to "mp2" in the following line for MP2 files:
    if (name extension of item_info is "mp3") and (folder of item_info is false) then
       tell application "Finder"
         --Change "MPG3" to "MPG2" in the following line for MP2 files:
         set file type of i to "MPG3"
         set creator type of i to "hook"
       end tell
    end if
  end repeat
end open

Copy this script into the Script Editor application in your Apple Script folder and save it as an application. Now, start iTunes if it's not already open. Make sure the "Kind" column is visible in your Library and search for "Quicktime movie file". Now for the tedious part: highlight each song and choose "Show Song File" from the "File" menu. Drag each of those files onto the application you saved with the Script editor. The type and creator should change. if iTunes doesn't automatically change the "Kind" column to "MPEG audio file", just select the song and hit the play button. As soon as it starts playing, the "Kind" column will update.

If you don't want to play through the songs, you can also do "Get Info" on the first Quicktime movie file and just keep hitting "Next" until all the songs have been updated.

Avoiding This Problem

You can avoid this problem with MP3 files by not allowing the browser plugin to load the MP3 file. Instead, control-click on the link to the MP3 and choose the option that allows you to download the file directly to the disk. In Safari, it's "Download Linked File". If you use Camino, choose "Download Link Target...". The browser won't add the extra "MPEG" and "TVOD" codes to the file.

Charlie Minow
February 9, 2020 - 5:09 PM MST

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