So, I recorded a cover of a song with Audacity. I saved it as an .AUP file (for a backup) and then I tried to save it as a .WAV file. When I opened up the WAV file to listen to it the next day, the audio had been shortened severely and all I heard was weird, squeaky sounds. What did I do wrong? The .AUP file wasn’t affected, just the .WAV file.
This is legal only if you pay the appropriate licensing fees. Please see:
What version of Audacity are you using? See the pink panel at the top of this page. What exact WAV format did you export to?
Did you try and increase the sample rate using the drop-down menu in the track name? That would cause what you describe, but it would affect the project too unless you did not save those changes. To change the sample rate you want for the exported file, change the Project Rate bottom left of the window.
So, you can open the AUP file and everything is OK? If the AUP file is OK, you should be able to recover, solve the problem, and save your recording without starting-over.
For future reference, it’s good practice to export to an audio file (i.e. WAV) immediately after recording, and make a back-up before you start editing if it’s something important.
It’s OK to record a cover for a personal use, but if you distribute it (or otherwise make it publicly available) you need to obtain the rights. However, you can perform a cover song publicly and it’s the venue’s responsibility to have a license
OP says so, but still needs to discover what he did wrong to avoid a recurrence.