Issues importing compressed audio files to Live

  • Live Versions: 5 - 9
  • Operating System: All

There are a number of scenarios in which compressed audio files cannot be imported into Live. This article will outline the most common of these cases and provide solutions should you ever run into such problems.

File could not be read. It may be corrupted or not licensed.

This is the most common error message when it comes to importing audio and it can sometimes be misleading. Below are a list of scenarios where you might come across this.


File could not be read. It may be corrupted or not licensed.

Missing Codec

The most common cause for the above error is a missing codec on your computer.

If you are experiencing this issue with Live 64-bit on Windows, you should 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 please download and install the latest version of Quicktime.


Certain Windows editions (Windows N and KN) do not include Windows Media player and the related codecs.  In order to import compressed audio files in Live under these operating systems it is first necessary to install the media feature pack: Media Feature Pack (Windows 8) or Media Feature Pack (Windows 10).

File is Corrupt

Another possible reason for this error is that the file you are loading into Live is corrupted. You can check this by seeing if it will play in your media player.

File is DRM-Protected

Certain audio files, especially .m4a files purchased from iTunes may be DRM-protected. This is a form of copyright protection and as such, you won't be able to import these files into Live.

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.

For example, Apple Lossless (ALAC) .m4a files are supported, but only when in  44.1kHz, 16-bit format.

For further information you can reference this article which lists all the supported audio file formats in Live.

There Is No Error Message, My Mouse Pointer Just Changes To A "Forbidden" Symbol.

If you don't see the error message described above but instead, when dragging in a audio file, the mouse pointer changes to a "forbidden" symbol, the cause of the issue is somewhat different.


Running Live as Administrator (Windows)

In certain cases, for example when a particular VST isn't read by Live or when using jBridge, it is necessary to always run Live with administrative privileges.

You can set this up via the shortcut properties. To open the properties window, right click on the program shortcut or program .exe file, then click on Properties, and on the Compatibility tab.


Set the short-cut to always run with administrative privileges

Should you set this up, you will no longer be able to import files by dragging and dropping them from the Explorer.

To fix this issue, set your Windows "User Account Control" settings to "Never Notify".


Set your UAC settings to "never notify"

You will then also be able to import files by dragging and dropping from the Explorer.


Additional Information

Decoding problems with mp3

Supported audio file formats in Live