iTunes CD Importing Problem

Can anyone shed any light on this? I have a small number of CDs from the 90s that absolutely refuse to upload into iTunes. They are mostly on Warner Bros - Dinosaur Jr, Husker Du, Flaming Lips, R.E.M, Wilco's Kicking Television, for example. iTunes brings up the tracklist right away when the CD is put in, appears to begin importing the opening song then just does nothing. The CDs aren't scratched, in fact some are brand new. Any ideas?


  • edited February 2016 Posts: 1,067

    @Thunderbolt - why not rip them properly with something else (like XLD), then add to iTunes later? You'll be guaranteed to get a proper rip as well.

  • It's probably a particular type of DRM protection. It could be that in addition to the (Sony-Philips) Red Book type of 16bit 44.1kHz normal CD content, there is additional content CD-ROM drives (ie computer types) will recognize and read first.

    Some of the worst DRM protection (which I believe is no longer used) not only forced computer drives to read first a separate lower bitrate file of each CD track, but also the file was encoded in a proprietary fashion that even very capable playback software such as VLC couldn't play or capture it - let alone Apple's own iTunes, which usually favours the interests of the big labels over users.

    Such proprietary low bitrate files would be accompanied by a software player that loads automatically on PCs, then allows playback but not capture of the poor quality files. They used bitrates as low as 64kbps.

    This type of DRM was bad not only because it infringed consumer rights - eg the ability to put music from a CD purchased, on to an iPod - but also because some very good proper CD players were built using the same type of drive mechanism, rendering such CDs unplayable.

    I can't recall specific labels that used the DRM described above. However there were a large variety of different protection methods used in the 1990s. I suspect iTunes is still limited in some fashion, as admittedly are other big name products. I don't do much CD ripping these days and can't suggest an alternative product, but as mentioned in the post above - it's much better to use a proper program for this purpose; I wouldn't trust iTunes as it's likely to insert artifacts of some kind into the music files you rip. Some may be inaudible, some may be intrusive. What's more sinister is that they might allow subsequent machines of any kind to track the path along which you transport this music, or keep some kind of record of activity.

    I know there are several freeware/shareware CD ripping tools out there. If I were looking for one I'd check both reliable recommendations as per Lament's above, or some respectable publication online that's tested a variety and published the results with advice regarding the best tool for various different users' needs.

    If you want further information about different file types, especially unusual or difficult ones - I use a brilliant program called Gspot. By asking it to open any file, it gives more specific information than any casual user is ever likely to need!

    I assume it's still around. I'm on my phone, but Googling "Gspot file analyzer" got good results including download.cnet, plus a Wiki. Personally I found Gspot so simple yet powerful and useful, I never needed help with anything other than how to then play/rip/encode the specific file type Gspot identified.

    In respect of your problem - it maybe worth trying the disc files with Gspot first, then using the results to find a program that's suited to your needs?

    Having thought about it, that's what I'd try first. Whilst the problem is likely related to a DRM issue, that doesn't necessarily help you find a solution!

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