Import MP3 files - Audacity adding -time to beginning

Mac OS Catalina 10.15.6
Audacity 2.3.2

When I import an mp3 file…the initial import appears to be the correct length of the song. However when it begins to play, it is displayed with -(negative) time (2 min, 30 seconds) at the beginning of the song. I thought no big deal, I’ll just delete the negative time, however when you stop play, the song reverts back to it original length.

This happens with every mp3 import…any thoughts on how to correct this would be greatly appreciated.

As a first step you should upgrade to Audacity 2.4.2.

– Bill

Now upgraded to Audacity 2.4.2

Same results on loading mp3, still adds negative time at beginning of track.

Where are you seeing this “negative time”?

When I load an mp3 song…it loads/appears normal - songs length is 0 - 5:05

When I hit the play symbol…two things happen simultaneously:
1.Audacity places a negative 1:15 worth of blank space at the beginning of the song
2. The song begins to play from the normal 0 position.

When you stop play, the Audacity drops the negative time displayed while it was playing…or in other words, the only time the negative space/time appears is when the song is playing.

Perhaps you have accidentally enabled “pinned playhead”.
If you see a green “thumbtack” at the left end of the time ruler, click on it so that it turns into a green triangle.

If that’s it, then you can read more about it here:


Great call…that was my problem. Thanks for providing the solution!!!