Technology

iTunes Plus is a Negative on the N95?

iTunes Plus was just made available to the public, and I straight away jumped in and bought some music from iTunes – the first time in over a year (yay DRM-free music).

It of course plays perfectly in iTunes & perfectly on my iPod… but – wait a second! My Nokia N95 won’t play it, with an error message of “File is Corrupted. Operation Cancelled”.

According to the Nokia website the N95 has the following music capabilities:
“Digital music player – supports MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+/WMA/M4A with playlists and equalizer.”

Anyone got any ideas? I’ll post here if I discover anything more. So what has Apple done to these files? DRM-free but you can’t play them with anything except an Apple device?

Update 1: I have now tested some iTunes Plus tracks on a Nokia E65, a Motorola V3xx and a Sony Ericsson M600i and now Xbox 360.

The E65 failed with the same message as the N95, the V3xx claimed “file type not recognised” when I send one to it via Bluetooth, the M600i gets an “Error” when you try and play them and the Xbox 360 lets you see/browse them, but will refuse to play them.

Update 2: I’ve posted in the comments a way to make the files play without losing quality. Apple have definately caused an issue with the way they put these files together, so I hope an official fix comes out soon.

Update 3: Commenter Nick Burch has heard back from Nokia, and their response isn’t what we’ve hoped for.

Update 4: Commenter Joshua King has just posted a (free!) tool to fix the iTunes Plus files without having to re-encode. It is a Java executable, so should work for both Windows and Mac users.

You can get it and all the details on how it works from his site. Great job Joshua and thanks!

Update 5: Commenter Joshua King has just released a version of his tool that runs directly on your S60 v2 or v3 phone. I prefer to fix it in one place and never have to worry about it, but if you like the idea of managing this on your phone go check his post on this here.

Update 6: It looks like Nokia have updated their Nokia Multimedia Transfer application for Mac OSX to support iTunes Plus files. I haven’t tested it yet, but I’m hoping it “fixes” the files like Joshua’s tool, but during the transfer to the phone instead. I’ll update here once I’ve had a play.

Regards,
Shane.

10 thoughts on “iTunes Plus is a Negative on the N95?”

  1. 👿 I am getting sick of this. I experience the same. I even paid for my iTunes music, but i can’t play it anywhere but in my Apple… Apple should change this. How difficult is it to ad some digital rights management-stuuf to a song so i can use it on my N95. I paid fort the music!! Apple change this please!

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  2. I’ve spoken to the Nokia UK support team, and they seem to think that the N95 ought to be able to play iTunes Plus files. They’ve escallated the support request, and they think the problem will get bounced over to Finland early next week. Hopefully we’ll have a fix in a week or so :/

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  3. Nick,Really appreciate that – thanks! I’ve got a support request into Apple as well (seeing it doesn’t work on other non-Nokia devices too) so hopefully we’ll get an answer soon.Regards,Shane.

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  4. Update: I’ve just tried renaming the file(s) from .M4A to various extensions (AAC, MPG etc), and when it is labelled .MPG it allows it to play fine in RealPlayer on the N95.So my guess is Apple have done something funky with these files that’s breaking the AAC standard, but if you really want to play them now rename them to *.mpg until Apple (or Nokia etc) fix it.Regards,Shane.

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  5. There is now a tool from Joshua King that fixes the file(s) without re-encoding. See “Update 4” above.Regards,Shane.I also found over at macosxhints.com <a href="http://www.macosxhints.com/comment.php?mode=view&cid=87524“ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>this post which gives you the steps to use Quicktime Pro to do a passthrough re-encode. This in essence doesn’t change the actual audio content – just the container it sits in so the audio quality is identical. I’ve tested this and it works perfectly, so Apple have definately stuffed up with their new iTunes Plus, whether it is because of adding your name and email address inside the file or something else I don’t know.Steps to do it:1. Open the file in Quicktime Pro, and choose “export” from the “File” menu.2. In the dialogue that appears, choose “Movie to MPEG-4” in the “Export” drop-down menu.3. Click the “options…” button.4. Choose “MP4 (ISMA)” from the “file format” drop-down menu at the top of the window.5. Click on the “Audio” tab.6. Choose “Pass through” from the “Audio format” drop-down menu.7. Click on the “streaming” tab.8. Click on the “enable streaming” check box.9. Click “OK”10. Change the extension of the file name to be saved from .mp4 to .m4a11. Choose a destination folder for the file to be saved to. (don’t choose the same folder as the original, unless you’ve changed the name of the file or backed-up the original).12. Click save.13. There is also an AppleScript that can be run to copy the original metadata in the files back, download from here: http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/dl.php?sc=copytinforackstotracksRegards,Shane.

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  6. Bah.Just heard back from Nokia support. Apparently, iTunes Plus files use some wierd AAC codec which isn’t supported on the phone, and nokia have no plans to support :(Their only suggestion was to use the nokia pc-suite to re-encode the tracks to a different AAC codec, which the phone will then play.Nick

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  7. Nick,Firstly let me say thanks for the followup. Secondly – Wow. That’s not the response I like to hear from any vendor, especially seeing as the phone’s inbuilt RealPlayer can play them when renamed to .MPGWhilst I believe it’s an Apple issue (seeing as most phones can’t play them, and devices like the Xbox 360 can’t either), what I would have liked to hear from Nokia is “we understand that this is important to our customers and will try and work with Apple to resolve”.Oh well – am I expecting too much of the vendors whose products I buy?Regards,Shane.

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  8. I hope I’ve solved your problem with iTunes Plus. I’ve found that there is a change in the structure in the .m4a files between QuickTime/Nokia/everybody else and the ones from the iTunes Store.It has a simple fix (better than re-wrapping via QuickTime) that I have put <a href="http://techtransit.blogspot.com/2007/06/putpinfinitsplace-itunes-plus-fixer-for.html“ rel=”nofollow”>on my blog but it still means you have to run a tool over the file. However mine doesn’t destroy any metadata (works on all my 27 iTunes Plus .au tracks). And they work now on my E61.

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  9. I’ve just spoken to Nokia UK support again. Apparently, Nokia now agree that the problem is with the pinf atom in the stream. Their 2nd line tech team are now advising people to use one of the various tools to shift the pinf atom inside the esds one, and they do seem to have been reading up on various forums on the issue.Alas they weren’t able to say if Nokia were planning to fix the issue or not (apparently that information isn’t available to support guys), but at least Nokia are now aware of the issue.

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