"The file could not be read. It may be corrupt or not licensed"
- Live Versions: All
- Operating System: All
This error message may appear in Live's status bar when trying to load certain audio files, video files or Live presets. The title can be a bit misleading as there are actually several different reasons for this.
1. You're using a file from a Pack which needs to be unlocked
If you're trying to open a sample or preset from a newly downloaded Live Pack and getting this error, then you need to re-authorize Live in order to unlock the Pack. After re-authorizing, open the same sample/preset and it should load correctly.
2. You're using an outdated version of Live on macOS
Up to and including Live version 10.1.1, Live uses QTKit (Quicktime) MP3 decoding, video playback and video export on macOS. As part of the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit technology, Apple has dropped support entirely for QTKit. All compressed audio file decoding (eg. MP3, M4A, FLAC etc) now uses AVFoundation instead of QTKit. If you're on macOS High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina or later, update Live 10 to the very latest version to resolve this issue.
3. You need to install the necessary codecs on Windows
Live relies on third party codecs to decode compressed audio files on Windows. These codecs don't ship with Windows by default.
- For the 64-bit version of Live, download one of the video codecs recommended in this article (they also include audio codecs).
- Live 32-bit on Windows 7 uses Quicktime to decode compressed audio files (e.g. mp3s). Make sure that Quicktime is up to date. On Windows download and install the last version of Quicktime.
- Certain Windows editions (Windows N and KN) do not include Windows Media player and the related codecs. You need to first install the media feature pack: Media Feature Pack (Windows 8) or Media Feature Pack (Windows 10).
4. The file exceeds the 2GB file size limit when fully decoded
The maximum file size limit in Live is 2GB. Although a compressed file may be much smaller than this, when you try to open it in Live it needs to be decoded to a fully lossless file which exceeds the 2GB limit. You should instead decode it using a third party app like Audacity, then split the file into smaller chunks before importing.
5. The minimum free space of the Decoding Cache is higher than the disk space
You'll get this error if the "Minimum Free Space" value is set higher than the available disk space. Instead, set "Minimum Free Space" to a value lower than the available disk space. This setting is in Live's Preferences → File Folder.
6. The Cache folder is set to a read/write only or invalid location
The default location for the Cache folder is:
- Mac: /Users/yourusername/Library/Caches/Ableton/Cache
- Win: C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Roaming\Ableton\Cache
7. The file is corrupt
You can verify this by seeing if it will play in your media player.
8. The file is DRM-Protected
Certain audio files may be DRM-protected. This is a form of copyright protection and you won't be able to import these files into Live.
9. The file format is not supported
Although Live supports a large number of audio formats, there are certain formats that either aren't supported or are only supported in certain sample rates and bit resolutions.
Check the full list of supported audio file formats in Live.