There are a few common reasons why you may find that some songs in your music library don’t play correctly or at all when using Apple Music.
The song is not available on Apple Music
The most likely reason a song won’t play on Apple Music is that it is not available in the Apple Music catalog. Apple Music has a library of over 75 million songs, but there are still many songs that are not available due to licensing restrictions or the artist/label not making it available.
For example, some older or more obscure songs may only be available on physical media or other streaming platforms. If the song you want to listen to is not in the Apple Music library, it simply won’t play when you try to access it through the app.
Apple Music subscription status
In order to play full songs in Apple Music, you need an active subscription. If your subscription has lapsed, many songs in your library will be grayed out and unable to play.
Double check that your Apple Music subscription is active. You can do this by going to Settings > [your name] > Subscriptions. If it is expired, you will need to renew it in order to access your full music library again.
Downloaded vs. streamed songs
Another potential issue is whether the song is a downloaded track vs. a streamed track. Downloaded Apple Music tracks can be played offline, while streamed tracks require an internet connection.
If you’re trying to play a streamed track while offline, it won’t work. Make sure you have internet connectivity and try downloading the song for offline playback when connection issues occur.
In some cases, licensing agreements mean that certain songs or albums are only available on Apple Music in specific countries or regions.
If you notice a song is unavailable despite showing up in search results, it may be restricted from playback in your country or region. The only workaround is to try accessing that content from a different location via VPN or other means.
Rarely, a downloaded Apple Music track can become corrupted or glitched. If so, you may encounter playback issues specifically with that song while the rest of your library works fine.
To troubleshoot, try deleting the problematic song and re-downloading it. This should provide a clean copy and allow proper playback again.
Metadata or connectivity issues
Less commonly, problems with metadata, such as missing song details, or connectivity problems can also impact the ability for a song to play correctly.
Issues like incorrect or incomplete metadata may cause the song file to not be recognized properly. Connectivity issues like unstable Wi-Fi or cellular can disrupt song streaming.
For metadata problems, editing the song details or re-uploading the file may help. For connectivity, try moving to a location with a stronger signal and disabling then re-enabling Wi-Fi or cellular to reset the connection.
Account or device restrictions
In certain situations, restrictions placed on your Apple ID account or device could block certain songs from playing.
For example, parental controls limiting explicit content could cause some songs to be unavailable. On iOS devices, cellular/data restrictions can block streaming while on mobile connections.
Check account and device settings for any limitations that could be filtering out songs. Turning off restrictions could allow those tracks to play again in Apple Music.
How to troubleshoot songs not playing on Apple Music
If you encounter songs that won’t play in Apple Music, here are some steps to troubleshoot:
- Check Apple Music subscription status – renew if expired
- Confirm the song is available in the Apple Music catalog
- Try downloading for offline playback instead of streaming
- Disable any restrictions blocking certain songs/content
- Delete and re-download any corrupted song files
- Edit incorrect metadata or re-upload the file
- Move to an area with a stronger Wi-Fi/cellular signal
- Restart your device to reset connectivity issues
What to do if a song is unavailable on Apple Music?
If after troubleshooting you confirm a song simply isn’t available on Apple Music, you have a few options:
- Check if the song is available to purchase individually or as part of an album
- See if you can access the song on another streaming platform
- Import your own file into your Apple Music library
- Convert non-Apple Music files such as YouTube videos
Purchasing songs, albums, or EPs that contain the track you want is one way to add it to your Apple Music collection. If not for sale, you can check other streaming platforms like Spotify to see if they have access to that song in their catalog.
You can also use iTunes on a computer to manually import music files you own into your Apple Music library for access across devices. There are also third-party tools and apps that can convert things like YouTube videos to playable music files.
Why are some albums missing songs on Apple Music?
In some cases, you may find that an album on Apple Music doesn’t contain certain songs that you expect it to have. There are a few possible reasons for this:
- Licensing restrictions – the label or artist chose not to include them
- Regional restrictions – those songs aren’t available in your country
- The version of the album varies – deluxe tracks, live recordings, etc.
- Apple Music has the wrong metadata – mislabeled recordings
Often certain songs aren’t included on streaming platforms due to licensing deals and restrictions. It’s also possible that alternate versions of an album are made available, such as a “deluxe edition” with bonus tracks for purchase but not streaming.
Incorrect or incomplete metadata can also lead to missing songs, so occasionally it’s simply an issue of Apple Music having the wrong information that can hopefully be corrected. As Apple Music expands its catalog, the availability of songs and full albums often improves over time as well.
Why do some songs say “Not Available” on Apple Music?
Seeing a song with a “Not Available” message on Apple Music typically means:
- The song is not currently in Apple’s catalog
- It is restricted from your region or country
- Your subscription doesn’t include it
Most often it indicates the song is not available at all on Apple Music, likely due to licensing restrictions. It could also be limited to certain subscription tiers, like student vs. individual. And sometimes regional licensing means it can only stream in certain countries.
You may be able to find a “Not Available” song on other streaming platforms or for purchase from the iTunes music store. There’s a chance it could eventually become available on Apple Music as deals and catalogs change over time too.
Why does Apple Music say a song is unavailable in my country?
Receiving a message that a specific song is not available in your country on Apple Music is due to region-specific licensing agreements.
Record labels and publishers often negotiate different streaming rights for certain songs or albums based on record contracts and territory restrictions. This leads to content being accessible only in select areas of the world.
While Apple Music has expanded their licensing to minimize region-locked content compared to earlier digital music rights, there are still many instances where a title may only be cleared for streaming in particular markets.
To access country-restricted content, you would need to utilize a VPN service to make it appear as if you are accessing Apple Music from the approved location. Keep in mind geographic limitations are dictated by the rights holders.
Why does Apple Music say a song is no longer available?
There are a couple reasons you may get a message that a song is “no longer available” on Apple Music:
- The licensing contract expired – Apple no longer has streaming rights
- The artist, label, or publisher pulled it – usually temporary
Most often this occurs when Apple’s licensing agreement to stream a certain song or album has ended. This can happen if the contract expires and the rights holder chooses not to renew it.
In some cases, an artist, record label, or publisher will withdraw a title from streaming platforms like Apple Music as part of a business or rights dispute. This is usually temporary until resolved.
If a song you previously had in your Apple Music library is no longer available, hopefully it’s just a rights issue that will be sorted out. But there is always a chance the streaming contract ended and it may not return.
Why does Apple Music only have some albums by an artist?
There are a few reasons why Apple Music may only have partial availability of an artist’s catalog of albums:
- Older or more obscure albums have weaker streaming demand
- Rights issues prevent certain albums from being available
- Artists choose not to include their full catalog
For legacy artists with long careers, often earlier or more obscure albums have not been prioritized for streaming distribution compared to their biggest hits.
Record contracts, licensing deals, and rights issues also commonly restrict certain albums from streaming availability. Apple Music cannot provide access without proper approvals.
Some artists intentionally hold back catalog albums as a business strategy, to drive sales of physical media or digital downloads instead of streams which generate lower royalties.
Over time, supply and demand along with licensing negotiations will hopefully allow fuller artist catalogs to become available as streaming continues to grow.
Why are live versions of songs on Apple Music?
There are a few reasons you may come across live concert recordings of songs mixed in with regular studio versions on Apple Music:
- They are from an official live album release
- It is a single B-side or bonus track
- The metadata incorrectly labeled a live version
Live tracks that show up are usually sourced from an official live album, where the artist or label chose to release recordings from a tour or concert. These go through the same licensing process as a studio album.
At times a live recording will be included as a B-side with a single or as part of a reissue as bonus content. This provides access to additional performances fans may appreciate.
Mistagged or mislabeled metadata can also unintentionally classify a live version as the studio version, though Apple Music works to quality check and fix incorrect data.
Why does Apple Music play clean/edited versions of songs sometimes?
There are several reasons why Apple Music may play a clean or radio edit version of a song rather than the original explicit recording:
- Parental/family filter settings enable clean versions
- Clean versions are tagged improperly as explicit
- Alternate versions meet licensing requirements
- EXPLICIT tag incorrectly absent on edited track
Apple Music has a setting to filter out songs labeled EXPLICIT depending on your parental controls and family sharing preferences. This replaces explicit tracks with clean versions.
Mistakes in metadata tagging can lead to a clean version being provided even when explicit is expected. Licensing issues may also mean a censored edit is the only version legally available.
And absent or incorrect EXPLICIT tags mean a track with swearing gets through filters when it shouldn’t. Checking your settings can help troubleshoot unexpected clean versions playing.
Why is an album missing on my Apple Music library?
If an entire album seems to be gone or missing from your Apple Music collection, there are a few possible explanations:
- It was removed from the Apple Music catalog
- Your downloaded copy was deleted
- It is no longer available in your region
- Your subscription does not include it
The licensing agreement to stream the album may have ended, forcing its removal from the catalog. Any downloaded copy would also disappear. Or rights issues could now be restricting that album to certain locations.
Different Apple Music subscription tiers also provide varying levels of access. Double check the album is still actively available in your country and subscription plan.
You may need to re-download any saved copies that were accidentally deleted. And in rare cases, app glitches could make an album temporarily disappear from view.
How can I get songs removed from Apple Music put back?
If favorite songs or albums that you previously had in your Apple Music library disappear and seem to be gone for good, here are some options to potentially get them back:
- Check if the content is now available to purchase
- Reach out to Apple support and request reinstatement
- Access the songs through another streaming service
- Import your own files into your library
Purchased iTunes content tends to have more permanence than subscription streamed content. See if buying the songs, album, or individual tracks is an option.
You can also contact Apple support, explain the situation, and request they reinstate access to removed titles you previously had in your library when possible.
If accessible on another streaming provider, you could switch services or use both to maintain access. As a last resort, importing your own copies through iTunes can get the music back into your Apple ecosystem.
Troubleshooting unavailable, missing, or unplayable songs in Apple Music usually requires checking licensing status, regional restrictions, connectivity issues, subscription status, and account/device limitations that could be blocking content.
While restrictions and rights issues are common causes, problems like incorrect metadata, download corruption, and missing explicit tags can also prevent songs from working properly in your Apple Music library.
Following troubleshooting steps, re-downloading content, reaching out to Apple support, accessing songs through purchases or other platforms, and importing your own files can help restore lost or problematic songs in many cases.
As Apple Music expands its licensing and global copyright framework over time, the availability and compatibility of songs should continue improving across subscriber libraries and devices.