Apple Music on Mac AirPlay Bug – Some types of music will stop playing at 14 seconds

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Hi there.

I’ve encountered a very strange problem that I can’t seem to solve. I’m usually pretty good at solving problems without having to turn to forums, but alas this one left me confused, and I was wondering if anyone else has experienced the same thing or knows a solution.

I will try to summarize it as best as I can but the bug is quite complex and therefore difficult to explain. Please support me!

Background

I have a relatively old music library. He is about ten years old. In it I have music that was added through a variety of sources:

  • Songs/albums added via Apple Music
  • Music purchased from the iTunes Store before subscribing to Apple Music
  • Music that was imported from a CD or downloaded from another source (like Amazon Music) and then added to my music library. The vast majority of them are in AAC format, but there are a few mp3s.

On my MacBook Air, where this issue was discovered, I don’t store any music locally. I have iCloud Music Library and iTunes Match, so everything is available in the cloud. I just stream music as I want to listen to it.

The glitch

If I stream music through the speakers of the MacBook Air, it plays without a problem. This includes music from Apple Music, iTunes Store, CDs, etc.

However…

If I stream my music to, say, my HomePod minis or AirPods, music from Apple Music and iTunes WILL play, but music from CDs etc. will only play for up to 14 seconds, then stop abruptly.

The moment I stop AirPlaying, the song plays fine, but it will stop if I try AirPlaying again.

Here is what I tried to fix the problem to no avail:

  1. Go to music preferences and turn off “Dolby Atmos” and lossless audio. I also tried with them on.
  2. Disable ‘Spatialise Stereo’ and ‘Head Tracking’ – but the problem persists on HomePod where these options do not apply
  3. Restart
  4. Sign in/out of Apple Music
  5. Try on another network

So far the only thing that has worked is downloading the misbehaving song. Then it will play via AirPlay, however, I stream my music to the MBA for a reason (that reason being that I have a large photo library which I prefer to store locally and need as much storage as possible).

I also have some screenshots to try and illustrate the problem, as I realize I may not be explaining things as best as I probably could:

  • Below is a song streamed from Apple Music and played through my HomePod minis. It plays very well. You can see below that it’s at 1 minute 16 seconds, AirPlaying, and it didn’t stop/play as expected:

  • Here’s another song, this time one I bought from the iTunes Store years ago, and is streaming from my iCloud Music Library and playing on HomePod minis. Again, all is well:

Screenshot 2022-08-13 at 3.27.51 am.png
  • But in this screenshot, I’m playing a song that I imported into iTunes from a CD. It streams from iCloud Music Library, plays through HomePods, but suddenly stops at 14 seconds (and it’s always 14 seconds, never another period):

Screenshot 2022-08-13 at 3.28.19 am.png
  • But, if I stop AirPlaying and play through the built-in speakers instead, the song will eventually play beyond 14 seconds (until I start AirPlaying again, then it stops):

Screenshot 2022-08-13 at 3.33.14 am.png

I hope this all makes sense, but I’m really keen on finding an answer or solution. I know the Apple Music app on Mac has its fair share of issues, but this one is so murky that I wonder if it’s mine or Apple’s problem.

One more thing for the avoidance of doubt; this issue does not occur on iOS. It’s only the infamous Mac Music app (i.e. a reskinned iTunes) that has this problem.

Thanks if you made it this far!

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