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Some time during the transition from iTunes to Music (or perhaps another time), more than a thousand of my songs got mangled and the links from the library to the files were broken.

I have my media located under /Volumes/Media/iTunes/iTunes Media/, and this is also the location set in library settings in Music; but somehow the path for these 1000+ files is under /Volumes/Media/Music/Music, even though that location has never been used, so Music complains about missing files. I am now trying to re-associate these songs using the FixLinks script.

In many cases, however, it looks like something’s gone wrong when editing metadata, or perhaps I’ve manually renamed folders on disk for some reason (though I don’t know why I would) – at any rate, things like artist and album names in Music do not match the file and folder names on disk. The names on disk are correct, and the metadata in Music is incorrect.

Since this is generally something that affects larger groups of songs, I wanted to batch change the relevant info in Music. What I expected to do:

  • Select an album / artist / group of songs
  • Get Info
  • Fix the data that need fixing
  • Hit OK
  • Run FixLinks script and correctly match library item to file on disk

But no. Editing the incorrect data and hitting OK has absolutely no effect whatsoever. No metadata is changed if files are missing, but only in that one scenario where I select multiple songs with missing files:

Single file Multiple files
Files present
Files missing

This leaves me back at editing metadata one song at a time – which is not particularly fun when there are 700 songs to edit, and I’d rather not have to.

Is this a bug in Music? Is there some way to get around it?

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  • Just to be clear, you’re mentioning “links.” Are these sym links to files in a different directory/folder location? Also, meta data cannot be changed if a file is missing as there is nothing to write to.
    – Allan
    Dec 21, 2022 at 20:55
  • @Allan No, not symlinks, just the linking between an item (a track) in the Music library and an audio/video file on disk. Metadata can certainly be changed even if the audio file is missing – I’ve just done it three dozen times. The metadata for each track in the Music library is stored internally in the library’s database and does not depend on the corresponding audio/video file on disk. In fact, the location of the corresponding audio/video file is a type of metadata in the library entry. Dec 21, 2022 at 21:16
  • Ok… I’ll write up an answer
    – Allan
    Dec 21, 2022 at 21:41

1 Answer 1

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What you see in the library isn’t a link. It’s a database entry and if you drill down into the track’s details, it will have have an entry for the “file” that will be a full path and filename.

If the file is no longer in the location indicated, you won’t be able to write any metadata. Everything must written to the file - ID3 Tag1 - first for the database to be updated.

You have two options here: locate the file and move it to the location specified in the track metadata or delete the track and re-import it.


1The ID3 tag is a metadata container that is used with music and movie files. It typically contains info such as title name, album, year, and even cover art. Apple Music also has its own metadata fields that are populated from the ID3 tags.
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  • This is simply not true. If the audio/video file in the location property of the database entry is not in the location indicated, you can still change the metadata associated with that database entry. The database does not require writing to file to be updated. As I state very clearly in the question, if I select a single track with a missing file, I can update metadata with no issues. It’s only when selecting multiple tracks with missing files that updating metadata does not work. Dec 21, 2022 at 21:51
  • I’ve tested this and it works exactly as described. Are you sure the single track you’re attempting to update does not exist?
    – Allan
    Dec 21, 2022 at 22:38
  • Yes, absolutely sure. The location property is set to /Volumes/Media/Music/Music/Artist/Album/Song.ext, and the entire /Volums/Media/Music/Music directory is empty since I’ve never used it. Updating the metadata in the database obviously won’t locate or update the file, but once the database is updated, the FixLinks script can build the correct file path and set the location to the correct value, and then the track exists. When this happens, database metadata does get overwritten by ID3 data from the file, but I can live with that (or batch change it). Dec 21, 2022 at 22:41

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