Ambient background image.

Song won’t play in our app?

There are two main situations where our apps can't play a song that appears on your device:

  1. The song is "on the cloud" and not on your device
  2. The song is protected with DRM

To our great dismay, there are multiple causes for these cases, and it can be tricky to tell them apart. Still, here are some situations sorted by likelihood, and suggestions of what to do to get around them.

1. iTunes in the Cloud

When you set up a new iPhone or iPad, unless you manually sync your music to your new device from iTunes on a Mac or PC, your songs will not actually be downloaded to your device. They will be visible and playable in the iOS Music app via internet streaming. Unfortunately, apps like ours can't stream songs from iTunes in the Cloud.

Luckily, you can download songs from the cloud onto your device. On iOS 8.4 or later, you can do this by going to the iOS Music app, finding a song or playlist you want to have on your device, and tapping the "..." button and choosing "Make Available Offline." Your device will then start downloading those songs, and once they download they should be playable in our apps. In the Music app, downloaded songs show up with a little triangular icon in the top right corner of the song.

A second option for getting songs out of the cloud and onto your device is doing a sync with iTunes on your Mac or PC using a USB cable.

If you're unsure whether a problem with a song is caused by it being in the cloud, try putting your device in Airplane Mode and playing the song from the built-in Music app. If it won’t play, it is probably in the cloud.

In addition to the standard iTunes in the Cloud behaviour, Apple's iTunes Match service will create cloud-based songs as described above.

2. Apple Music

On iOS 8.4, Apple introduced Apple Music, a subscription service for streaming music. Unfortunately, apps like ours can neither stream from Apple Music nor play back Apple Music songs that have been saved to your device due to DRM.

If you own a song you can still use the iOS Music app to download it for offline use and then our apps can play the song. If you added a song to your library via your Apple Music subscription, we won't be able to play it.

3. Old iTunes DRM

When the iTunes music store debuted, it sold songs using Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection to prevent unauthorized playback. In 2009 Apple replaced this with "iTunes Plus", selling higher quality songs without the DRM protection. Music apps like ours 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. If you don't see any songs with Protected AAC, old DRM is not the problem.

4. Incomplete iTunes Sync

If you are manually syncing from iTunes on a Mac or PC, iTunes may sync a list of all songs to your device before it syncs the actual songs, even if those songs are not available from iTunes in the Cloud. Until the songs actually sync, apps cannot play them.

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. Plug your device back in to iTunes, and have it finish syncing all your songs.

5. Songs not in iTunes

If your music isn't in your device's Music app at all, it also won't appear in our apps. This could happen because your phone is not synced with iTunes, or because your music is stored in a third party app like Spotify. Apps like ours can only support music that has been synced to the iTunes library on your device, visible in the Music app.

Contact Us

We apologize for the crazy set of reasons that music apps like ours can't play certain songs on iOS. We have some ideas in the lab for playing back more kinds of songs, as well as for better identifying why a particular song might not be working so we help you troubleshoot.

If you have more questions or concerns about our music apps, contact us at support@steamclock.com.