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Android ‘cannot play track’ error fix

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I recently encountered a weird error when I wanted to listen to an audiobook on my Android phone. Some of the mp3 files, but only certain ones, simply refused to play. Most suggestions I found on Google consisted in clearing the cache, remounting the SD card, or downloading and installing a different mp3 player app.

None of that works. The files my phone was unable to play were consistently the same files across all apps. They were playable on my computer, on my girlfriend’s Android, and even from my own SD card in my girlfriend’s phone. I can only conclude that there’s a demon in my particular Ice Cream Sandwich.

If anyone knows what causes this problem and how to fix it properly, please let me know. Until then I did find a solution. Granted, it is a silly solution – but a solution nonetheless. And since I didn’t see this suggested anywhere else on the web, here it is for the sake of posterity and other frustrated Android users:

  1. Download and install Audacity
  2. Download and install the Lame encoding library (this will let you export files as mp3’s)
  3. Run Audacity
  4. Click File -> Open… and select the mp3 your phone is having trouble with
  5. Click File -> Export… and chose “mp3 files” from the “save as type:” dropdown menu
  6. Save the file
  7. Transfer the new file to your phone (be sure not to confuse it with the old file, even though they’re identical)
  8. Enjoy!

Note that this solution is obviously written for Windows users. If you’re running Linux or MacOS, I’m sure you can find some alternative audio editing program on your own. Just make sure it can save the file in a format your phone can read.


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