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Song won’t play in our app?

There are three situations where apps cannot play a song that appears on your device:

  • 1. The song has not synced from iTunes yet

  • 2. The song is an iTunes Match song that is not on your device yet

  • 3. The song is protected with DRM

In order of likelihood, here is what can be done for each problem.

1. Sync not finished

Starting with iOS 6, iTunes will now sync a list of all songs to your device before it syncs the actual songs. Until the songs actually sync, apps cannot play them. This is a pretty common issue and easy to resolve.

To diagnose if this is the problem, try playing the song from the built-in Music app on your device. If it won’t play, then this is the problem and you need to finish your music sync with iTunes. Just plug your device back in to iTunes, and let it finish syncing all your songs.

2. iTunes Match

Starting with iOS 5, iOS added a feature called iTunes Match. This is an optional subscription where you can have iCloud-backed versions of your songs. If you have enabled iTunes Match, songs that show up in apps might not have downloaded to your device.

To diagnose if this is the problem, try playing the song from the built-in Music app on your device. If it takes a moment, then starts playing, then this was the problem and it should now be playable in apps. We have requested from Apple a method for downloading iTunes Match songs within apps, but for now this workaround will work.

3. iTunes DRM

When the iTunes music store debuted, it sold songs using DRM protection to prevent unauthorized playback. In 2009 Apple replaced this with "iTunes Plus", selling higher quality songs without the DRM protection. Advanced music apps cannot play back DRM-protected songs, so our apps will skip them.

To diagnose if old DRMed songs are the problem, open iTunes on your computer. Type "Protected AAC" into the search field in the top right, and it should narrow down the list to the DRM-protected songs. If these songs are crucial to your event, unfortunately you’ll need to get updated versions of the songs through iTunes, or use the built-in Music player for those particular songs.

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