Problem: Flatline AUP

Hi there,

First time posting here and I’m apologizing now in case this has been resolved else where but I’ve searched and can’t find seem to find an answer for my problem.

My friend and I are several states away but we do a podcast together and we use audacity to record. We open Skype to chat, I record my part and she records hers, then I send her my half and she edits them together. It’s been working great this way for about ~20 episodes! Well, I wondered if sending her the .aup would be easier for her to edit than an MP3 since we both use Windows 10 and Audacity 2.3.3 but she said that the file didn’t work when she opened it.

No problem, I thought, I would open it and export to MP3 as I have done in the past and it would be fine!

…But it was not fine. I opened the .aup and it’s all just flat. Hours of work seemingly gone. I checked the SessionData files and there’s nothing there. Is there a solution for this, or is the solution to start rerecording?

The AUP file is a text file. It’s not sound. It’s the instructions for Audacity how to put your show together from all that stuff in the _DATA folder. You need both.

The AUP file and the _DATA folder have to be in the same location or folder for the show to open. They have to be named the same and it has to be the name you gave them in Audacity.

You can get the minimal damage by exporting a WAV file and shipping that around instead of the two options you mentioned. WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit are perfect quality, uncompressed sound files and don’t seriously degenerate with repeated editing and saving.

MP3 files create sound damage and they get worse and worse quality as you edit with them and you can’t stop it. You can minimize the damage by sending Constant Bitrate, 256 Quality or higher instead of a more normal 128 or lower.

It’s good digital hygiene to Export a WAV sound file immediately when you get to the end of a performance. Errors and all. Park it on a separate drive or other storage. That’s your backup if something nasty happens to the computer or the system.

You may get a surprise that the file sizes are way bigger than you think. People use MP3 because the file sizes are small, compact, and convenient. WAV files aren’t like that and Audacity Projects are even worse. If you were shipping files around in email, you may need to find a different way.


You could have actual damage past misplacing a file here and there. Open the AUP file in a text editor (Notepad??) and read it. Don’t save anything. It should look roughly like this.

They should be English or English-like words. If you have a file full of graphic characters, or worse, blank, that’s the end of the show.