Why does Apple’s iTunes Match shun those with big music libraries?

“But when Apple introduced iTunes Match on Monday, my request to move my iTunes library to the cloud was immediately refused,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Macworld.com. “Although Apple had already announced that you could only store 25,000 songs using iTunes Match, I was surprised when iTunes informed me that, ‘Your library contains too many songs.’ The alert the program displayed told me that my library ‘must contain no more than 25,000 songs that were not purchased from the iTunes Store.'”

“I can certainly understand that Apple needs a limit to the amount of space that it’s willing to give you for the $25 yearly fee of iTunes Match,” McElhearn writes. “What I cannot understand, however, is that iTunes Match simply refuses to let those with large libraries sign up at all. It doesn’t let you choose what you put in the cloud, and you don’t get a screen allowing you to select specific artists, albums and/or genres, as you do when you sync an iPod. After all, given that Apple markets the iPod classic—that 40,000-song-carrying music player (at 128 kbps, that is)—to people like me, how can the company then turn around and say that I have too much music to use with this new pay service?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We expect that iTunes Match will evolve and address the needs of those with large media libraries.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


  1. Can’t you just save a subset of your songs to a separate library, upload to Match, and then switch back to your larger one? At least this will allow you to enjoy your subset on other devices.

    1. They will probably add that option sometime in the near future. This is just the start. They have to roll it out internationally, add other iTunes content such as movies and tv shows, etc. This is iCloud and iTunes Match version one. Apple always does this. Start slowly, iron out the problems then add more functionality over time.

  2. 25,000 songs at say 10 songs average per album is 2500 CD’s worth. My itunes is currently just under 9000 songs and there are literally thousands that i haven’t listened to yet.

    is this like android paper specs or having the biggest SUV? people brag about their 100,000 song library even though will never listen to most of it?

    1. This guy is one of those hoarders who probably live under a mountain of trash in their home. They refuse to throw anything away. If you’ve got more than one Bon Jovi or Poison song in your library, your sanity might be questioned, but a whole album?

    2. Do you have any idea how long it takes to illegally download over 25,000 tunes? Then there’s the risk taken that The Labels will bust your ass for stealing all those tunes at $20,000 per song.

      These people have earned the right to exchange their crappy downloads for high quality tunes for $25 a year.

    3. My music library is bigger than yours. Na-na-na-na-na.

      I don’t see what the big deal is about having a huge music library. Anyone that has access to a premium newsserver (I have both Giganews and Astraweb) with a broadband connection can download pirated music for months on end and easily approach 100,000 tracks of every genre and time period of music available. That’s not even counting audiobooks or international music. Guess what? I don’t even care.

      I’ve got about 6000 of my favorite songs in extended mixes in my iTunes library and I still don’t have the time to listen to them all because I play some songs many times over. It’s unfathomable of me to only listen to every song just once in my lifetime. I’ll agree that everyone has their own ways of listening to music, but complaining that allowing ONLY 25,000 songs in an iTunes cloud library is totally unreasonable is going a bit too far. I’d probably just set up multiple libraries and live with it.

      I’d like to find out from Apple why there is a song limit before crying foul. There might be a good reason for the limit, maybe not, but at least find out. Paying more money for more space is all well and good, but I think there’s more to designing an efficient database setup than just space. Maybe having a larger song limit would slow everything to a crawl. Maybe Apple determined that most music libraries don’t come close to that 25,000 song limit. Whatever.

      I’m sorry, but I doubt there are many people that have listened to 100,000 songs in their entire life.

  3. Jesus how the hell could you have more than 25,000 songs?! And why would you? That’s a bit extream. Can somone possibly like that many? Wow that’s just a lot to me. But to each his own.

      1. Thank fawk for someone with an inkling of critical thinking…
        Many of us are music lovers and over tens of years have amassed a very large library. Its called a music collection for a reason. Many of us spent many hours ripping thousands of personal store bought CD’s and Vinyl. It’s not a pissing contest but a matter of fact for some people. Just because it escapes some of the tiny self-righteous minds that have infiltrated this blog with their inane justification of their perception of how things should be, doesn’t mean that they are right…

        Hopefully  extends the limit once the service has matured enough to handle bigger libraries.

        Each to his own.

    1. Just because you aren’t interested in music doesn’t mean you should imagine everyone else is like you. I have an 80Gb iPod 5G Video, crammed full, just under 9000 tracks at 320Kb, the minimum bit rate I’ll consider for ripping. I have more than that in iTunes, and many more albums that I haven’t got around to ripping yet. I started buying vinyl in 1970, and CD’s in 1982, Peter Gabriel 4, as it happens, because of the crappy quality vinyl. 2000 CD’s over thirty years is around five a month; nothing outrageous about that. There are people commenting on here about not needing more than 8Gb on an iPhone, well I’ve got 11.2Gb of apps on my 32Gb iP4, plus nearly 1300 songs. Most of the app space is taken up with UK OS maps, which I use a lot, but I wouldn’t expect others to do the same. Just because music is of little interest to you, you shouldn’t think others have the same lack of interest. Some people have only ever been to one or two live concerts in their lives; I managed 39 in one year, despite not living closer than 25 miles to the nearest venue, 100 miles from others.

  4. >my library ‘must contain no more than 25,000 songs that were not purchased from the iTunes Store.’<

    This may be contractual with the publishers—notice "that were not purchased from the iTunes Store." One may very well have bought CDs legally and ripped them to iTunes, but the publishers may cap how much of that they are willing to cover on the possibility of pirates. This is a subscription service, after all, even if the limitation is “songs you already own.”

    Just a guess.

    1. Yes. The way iTunes Match works, server space is inconsequential (songs are only uploaded if they don’t previously exist on the servers).

      iTunes Match has already been described as forgiving piracy. The 25k limit is likely a licensing stipulation by the labels who’d view support of large libraries as almost inevitable piracy support in many (most?) cases.

  5. Just like AT&T figured out that only about 1% of customers used over 2MB of data per month (or whatever), I suspect Apple figured out that like 99% of users have fewer than 25,000 songs.

    It always tickles me when outliers complaign. Here in America there’s such an entitlement expectation that everyone be treated fairly at all costs. Bah!

    As previous posted have noted, get over yourself. You don’t listen to 25,000 songs anyway, and you likely only have 25,000 songs cause you downloaded them from Napster and Kazaa 10 years ago. If you actually bought those albums, then build your own cloud!

    1. Yeah, I’m going to have to disagree. sorry.

      With videos, more app downloading, and this new itunes match that loads up songs to your iphone…I am sure that the 2GB, not 2MB, will get over reached by more and more consumers. In 2 years, I am sure 2GB will simply not be enough with the way we are progressing.

      And as for the 25,000 songs. There are still ways to get free songs. So, I know I didn’t amass my collection from 1998 to 2003. It’s been over years of time. And I imagine someone who is older than me, could have even more songs then I do because they have had more time to accumulate and find bands they like.
      And to listen to a whole 25,000 songs in a year. it would only mean you have to listen to about 8 hours of music a day. WHICH, is a lot…but not outside the realm of say hearing all those within a 4 year time span. I’m not trying to criticize Apple for this, but I don’t see why someone can’t bring up the complaint so they can make it better. Sometimes it’s the complaints that help a company better understand their market and goals so they can build better products.

  6. Let’s say the length of an average song is 4 minutes. 25,000 songs will give you 100,000 minutes which converts to near enough 70 days of straight listening assuming no toilet breaks, no sleeping in between, no nothing. If you factor in the fact that you’d only be able to listen to your music 1/3 of the day then that works out to 210 days straight without listening to the same song twice. That’s almost 2/3 of the year without a break listening to his music collection.

    1. No Nothing??? I can listen to music during the toilet, during the shower, during cooking, during work, during driving, during almost everything. Except maybe sleep..but even then I play music to go to bed. so there is some extra time in there. you dont have to be attentive to music just to have it play and hear it.

  7. I weep for him and his incredibly tiny music library, and pray that he one day will own every song ever published, the sheet music for all the rest, and an iPod the size of a refrigerator to play it on. Then, we will rejoice for the bragging rights that will then be his, salute Apple for building a data center solely to accommodate his needs, and ask him to cue up Brittney Spears one more time.

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