iTunes Match: One year in

“On November 14, 2011 (a few weeks later than promised), Apple released iTunes Match, a $25-a-year, cloud-based service designed to provide access to your iTunes music library from a computer, iOS device, or Apple TV,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Macworld.

“The idea is simple: iTunes scans your music library, sends the information about your songs to Apple’s servers, and then either ‘matches’ music that’s in both your library and the iTunes Store, or uploads the music that isn’t in the iTunes Store,” McElhearn writes. “Then, you can either download or stream (depending on the hardware) all of your music from a Mac or PC running iTunes 10; an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5 or later; or a second- or third-generation Apple TV.”

McElhearn writes, “In theory, iTunes Match is a great idea. In practice, however, everything doesn’t work as well as it should in the realm of iTunes Match, with users facing a number of hiccups and difficulties since the service’s inception. With renewal notices going out to those who signed up early on, it will be interesting to see how many people pony up for another year.”

Read more in the full article here.

50 Comments

    1. Really? I do that every day, to transfer podcasts, and it’s always worked like a charm, in less than a minute.

      iTunes Match seems like too much of a hassle to me, when my iPhone is big enough to hold all my songs.

      ——RM

        1. Because I don’t just listen to podcasts on my phone. I also occasionally listen to them on my Mac. Syncing my iPhone with iTunes syncs not only the podcast files, but also the listening progress. So I can listen to 30 minutes of a podcast during an outdoor workout, sync the iPhone to the Mac, and pick up right where I left off, without having to search.

          ——RM

    1. From Men In Black:
      Kay (Tommy Lee Jones: This is gonna replace CD’s soon; guess I’ll have to buy the White Album again.

      Pay again for music I already paid for? No, thank you.

  1. I gave it a couple of months and then stopped using it. The product doesn’t work very well and I expect Apple to kill the product within a year or two. It will rest in peace alongside Ping.

  2. already renewed….just way too convenient when you have 5 Macs…. 3 iPads…. and multiple iPhones in your family… Just not having to manually update my media server/client system, work Macs, and mobile devices when ever anyone adds music is a real Godsend .. Not really aware of glitches… Works for me.

    1. Yeah, your situation is pretty much the only one where iTunes Match makes sense — the massive, multiple device household.

      If all you’ve got is a Mac and an iPhone, (and your library is small enough to fit on your phone), there are ZERO reasons to sign up for this.

      ——RM

      1. So then, at least TWO reasons, eg “and your library is small enough to fit on your phone” 🙂

        For me, we have > 200GB of music matched with iTunes Match, so it works for us very nicely. NOTE: I paid for or received directly from a friend (which I believe falls under fair use) 99% of that music.

        I’d also like to contend that there may be several others, though all are likely to be a small percentage of people.
        Two examples:
        – people that carry around or acquire lots of unmatchable media, e.g. pictures or videos of their own. They would rather leave the space for that than music. My wife does that.
        – people that travel with only an iPad and fill it up with movies for the trip. I do that.

        I’m renewing mine. The drawback for us is that approximately 20% of our music cannot be matched.

        1. Unless your friend OWNS THE COPYRIGHT TO THE MUSIC (i.e. it’s music he wrote or bought the copyright to), it is ABSOLUTELY ILLEGAL for him to give you music. It is EXACTLY the same as downloading it from the Internet.

    2. It’s great. Just upgrading my old 128 kbps DRM’ed iTunes Store purchases to 256 kbps DRM-free “iTunes Plus” was worth the first year’s $25. It also let me upgrade most of the songs from my previously ripped CDs from 160 kbps MP3 or 128 kbps AAC (the old “standard”) to 256 kbps with almost no work. I’ve been too lazy to do it for most of my hundreds of old CDs (and doing so could have worn out my optical drive).

      I’ll keep it for at least another year, just because it’s been so useful…

  3. I won’t be renewing because Apple has yet to fix the problem of iTunes Match replacing explicit songs with censored versions.

    Last time I complained they offered me 5 free downloads. WTF? Give users the option of selecting what version they want to match (clean or explicit) if the software cannot figure it out.

    But, I mainly signed up as a way to upgrade all my previous iTunes DRM purchases since it was much cheaper than the iTunes Plus offer at .30/song. Also helped to upgrade the bitrate on the 400+ CDs that I had ripped into iTunes at the original default of 128 kbps.

  4. how is it possible that Amazon Cloud Player Premium service can offer 250,000 tracks and Apple only 25k?! Apple surely has no less leverage & connections than Amazon to access such a content deal from the same music studios?! unless, the studios fear Apple and purposely try to sabotage it?

    1. Who the hell has 250,000 track and how much free time must you must you have to listen to ever track. There is even music hoarders in cyberspace, I guess that what happens when you don’t have pay for the original music content, at $0.99 a track that nearly a quarter of a million dollar in music.

      1. I’ve never been able to sign up because I have 30,000+ tracks, but that’s because I’ve been collecting music since the 80’s on CD and have them all ripped. A number of people I’ve seen comment elsewhere have large collections for reasons I’d never have thought of — for example a number are DJ’s. I’m sure there are a lot of music “hoarders” who got a lot of their music illegally, but lots of us have entirely legitimate collections that are just too large for iTunes Match. I know I’d gladly pay more than the $24.99/year to use it with my collection, but Apple has offered no indication they will ever accommodate us.

      2. I have several thousand CDs burned to my hard drive in iTunes. Many of them Re spoken word with 100 tracks each. I paid my $25 only to be told that I couldn’t use the service. I won’t renew till they offer editing control or a 300k track count. Hell, all they have to do is make it available only a few loonies will use it anyway.

        1. Hey Swing Geezer, you might want to try Audiobook Builder. Reduces all those spoken word books to single files that work pretty well. Might get you under the limit. But with the number of audio book disks it sounds like you have, it might be more work than it’s worth.

        2. If you have a large number of “spoken word” tracks that iTunes treats as songs, you may want to try changing the “Media Kind” for those tracks to “AudioBook.” They will then show up in your iTunes library under Books (not Music). And they will be excluded from iTunes Match.

          To change the Media Kind, do a Get Info (from the File menu) on an item and go to the Options tab of the Info window. Change the Media Kind field from “Music” to “Audiobook.” NOTE: You can select multiple tracks at the same time and do a Get Info on them all.

          1. Unfortunately, you have to do this BEFORE getting on Match. After you are on, you can’t change the media type. This is very annoying since I didn’t know this ahead of time, and as a result have a large number of “songs” with incorrect media types that (1) belong in a different category and (2) I don’t want cluttering up my Music category and (3) don’t want/need in the cloud since they are accessible in other ways.

            Plus, once you get on Match with your username, you can’t get back to “Go” by canceling – when you rejoin, your old previously matched stuff comes back, even if you’ve moved your library. AND Apple can’t delete your old matches so you have a clear record to start over. You could, of course, use a different username, but that screws up coordinating your App purchases under your current username.

            In short, once you hit the iTunes Match tar baby, you are stuck.

    1. If you “occasionally have to sign out and sign back in”, it is not “working great”.

      That’s Windows user thinking. “My Windows machine works great! I only get the BSOD once a week, and a quick reboot clears it right up!”

      ——RM

  5. I’m surprised it’s getting such a negative reception. I haven’t had any hiccups that would cause me to dump what I feel is the most useful iTunes service since the iTunes Store was launched. I don’t imagine ever dumping Match.

  6. I’m renewing! I love having my entire collection at my fingertips on every device! Only hiccup I had was with an “explicit” song being replaced, but I didn’t complain, and recently discovered it is back to the correct “explicit” version. I will cry if this is ever discontinued. A most valuable and often-used service!

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