[Solved] “There Was An Error Decompressing Audio or Video” Premiere Pro

Are you getting the “There was an error decompressing audio or video” when importing an audio file to Premiere Pro?

There Was An Error Decompressing Audio or Video Premiere Pro

If so, don’t worry! 

We’ve compiled a list of possible solutions to fix this error. These solutions have solved the error for thousands of people across the internet!

The error message “There Was An Error Decompressing Audio or Video” means that Premiere Pro cannot read the files you are importing. Many users have solved the issue by renaming the file extension name to “.wav.”

Here’s a short video about the error:

1. Rename File Extension:

This solution seems to have helped most people facing the error.

And it’s effortless to do as well!

We will simply change the audio’s file name extension from “.mp3” to “.wav”. 

  • It does not matter if your audio file is not an MP3; you still want to change it to “.wav”.

I will show you how to do it on Windows; if you are using macOS, check out this tutorial showing how to rename file extensions.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open File Explorer (as you can see all the folders on your computer).
  2. Click on View > Show > File name extensions.
  3. Right-click the MP3 > Show more options > Rename.
    • Alternatively, select the MP3, and press F2 on your keyboard.
show file extentions
  1. Rename the “.mp3” to “.wav”.
    • If it’s a “.m4a” (or any other type), still change it to “.wav”.
  2. Click Yes to confirm the operation.
rename .mp3 to .wav

2. Delete Media Cache

Another popular solution to solve the “There was an error decompressing audio or video” is to delete the media cache.

Media cache is files that are automatically generated once you import any file to Premiere Pro, and if they get corrupted, it might cause the error.

How to Delete Media Cache:

Inside Premiere Pro, click Edit (the top left-hand corner) > Preferences > Media Cache.

Then, in the window that pops up, click on Delete under Media Cache Files:

delete media cache

When deleting media cache files, you have two opportunities:

  • Delete media cache files that are considered unnecessary by Premiere Pro; the first option.
  • Delete all media cache files even though they are being used.

Start by testing the Delete unused media cache files, and click on OK:

(More information below image)

select delete unused media cache and click ok

If you are still getting the error after deleting the unused media cache, try to delete all media caches.

This option is only available when no project is open inside Premiere. So, restart Premiere Pro, and before opening your project, click Edit > Preferences > Media Cache.

Then, click on Delete under Media Cache Files, and select Delete all media cache files > OK.

  • Premiere Pro will automatically restart.

Now you can try to import the audio file. If it does not work, go to the next solution:

3. Transcode the File to a Supported Format

Another reason Premiere cannot decompress your audio file is that the audio codec is not supported.

Here’s a list showing you what file formats Premiere supports.

If you can’t find your audio file’s format in the list, this is likely why you are getting the error. If that case, you have to transcode the file into a supported codec.

Luckily, this is a simple thing to do!

I will show you how to do it using the Adobe Media Encoder included in the Premiere Pro subscription package!

  • You can also use free software like Audacity or online converters.

3.1 Transcode Audio File Using Adobe Media Encoder

You can install the Media Encoder in the Adobe Creative Cloud application if you’ve not already done so.

Once inside the software, you can drag and drop the MP3 file into the Media Encoder to import it.

  • You can’t drop it anywhere, so find the spot where you can drop it.

Then, as I’ve done in the image below, set the Format against Waveform Audio.

Next, click on the blue link under Output File to set the export location, and then click on the play button icon in the top right-hand corner to start transcoding:

Once it’s done, you can try to import it to Premiere Pro.

convert audio using adobe media encoder

4. File Name with Special Characters/Symbols

If your file’s name contains any special characters/symbols, Premiere Pro may have difficulty reading it. Thus, the software will tell you it cannot decompress the file.

Therefore, try to rename the file using only standard characters from the English alphabet if not already.

5. Change File Location

Ensure that the file is located in a place Premiere has permission to read.

If this is what’s causing the error, you can drag the file to another location like Desktop, Documents, or another Drive, etc.

You can try changing the location anyway if you’re unsure how to check for permission etc.

change location of audio

6. Update Premiere Pro

Software updates are known to fix bugs and errors, and apparently, Adobe stated they are currently working on this error.

Therefore, you should ensure you are always up-to-date with the newest version!

You can check this by opening the Adobe Creative Cloud application on your computer and clicking on Apps > Updates

  • If there are any available updates, you’ll see an Update button.
how to update premiere

7. Reinstall Premiere Pro

Quickly reinstalling the software solves many problems if nothing else seems to work.

You can quickly do this on your computer’s Adobe Creative Cloud application.

Go to Apps > All apps, and click on the three dots on the right side of Premiere Pro. Then, inside the drop-down menu, click on Uninstall, and confirm.

Once it’s uninstalled, you’ll find it in the All apps section, where you can click on Install.

I sincerely hope you won’t see “There was an error decompressing audio or video” after testing the solutions listed in this article!

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