Apple’s iTunes Match still kinda sucks

“I added all nine CDs from the Miles Davis: The Original Mono Recordings to my iTunes Match library, and, out of 70 tracks, 51 matched and 19 were uploaded,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirkville. “That’s a match rate of 73%.”

“Sure, I’ve got some discs where all tracks match, and others where none match,” McElhearn writes. “But Apple really needs to improve the matching algorithm; it’s simply a failure that only 3/4 of the tracks on these 9 albums, which are in the iTunes Store, match.”

“So, yes, iTunes Match still kinda sucks,” McElhearn writes. “Apple needs to improve the matching algorithm. Oh, and raise the 25,000 track limit too.”

Full article here.


  1. Boo fucking hoo, so you had to upload some tracks. I agree about razing the 25,000 song limit but at just under 20,000 myself I’ve got a ways to go yet before I hit the limit.

      1. you should have the option. A lot of people don’t live their lives always under cell phone coverage, let alone wi-fi. The iPod model — using the Mac as the hub and master archive — still works best for those people. Apple seems to have forgotten this.

  2. There are a couple of easy things Apple could do that would make a HUGE difference for some of us…
    1) Raise the limit. Ideally, make it unlimited, but I understand and have reasonable expectations. Instead allow us to pay more to get more.

    2) In the Match algorithm, use more metadata to determine matches. Really, if an entire album is being processed, there should be no excuse for 1 song in the album not to be matched when all the other songs are matched.

    Still… iTunes Match is really a great value and I use it all the time (and eager to buy more). Just these two little tweaks would make a huge difference.

    1. Agree especially point #2:
      I added my Shutter Island CD to iTunes on my !ac Pro and for unknown reason the song from Dinah Washington/Max Richter gets streamed as instrumental only on my iOS devices. Tried everything to no avail, iTunes Match refuses to see the song in its original version.

  3. Some of the CDs will never match if the album goes out if print or changes publishers. The record companies would need to put a forwarding address with the old meta data to the new publisher, but I don’t see that happening

  4. iTunes Match blows goats, I absolutely refuse to use it in any way.
    Having it match every track at a bit rate of 260Kb is unacceptable to a great many people, who, like me, rip CD’s at 320Kb, or even higher.

    1. I have a 90% match with over 10,000 songs. I’m not sure why this matters as Apple uploads what doesn’t match and stores this at no extra charge making it available to your other devices.

    1. I’ll have to give it a go. I’m getting really fed up with being redirected to the iOS App Store whenever I visit here.

      Oh, and all the unnecessary political sniping here too.

  5. I’ve used match for a coupe years and it’s been fine for me. When you import the cd, just use what iTunes recognizes and it’ll match. You probably put in your own format and it’s not recognizing what you named it. The only stuff I have that doesn’t match are things that aren’t really on the store. It’s all based mainly on naming. But one thing I do say that sucks is sometimes it puts explicit for some songs and other times it puts censored versions. I hate that. My stuff is clearly not the censored version. But again, it has to do with the name and what it finds.

  6. I’ve had iTunes Match since introduction and it’s come a long way but still needs a lot of work.

    The 25,000 song limit is becoming a problem for me, but I’m hoping iTunes Radio will solve that.

    The thing that really irritates me is Artwork is hit and miss. Sometimes artwork from my Rory Gallagher collection is there, sometimes it isn’t. 80% of the songs are matched so I don’t know why it doesn’t show on my iPhone and iPad. Also it swapped out some of my Beastie Boys tracks with swearing in with clean versions – an email to support fixed it eventually but it took a few weeks to fix.

    I’m hoping they break up iTunes, so it still exists but just holds music. Then launch an App called iVision or something that holds all my TV shows and Videos. Podcasts gets its own App too and iOS Apps come from the OS X App Store.

    I wonder if any of these ideas are on Jony’s to do list??? 🙂

  7. It may be because the publisher of an old CD “remastered” a particular track before making it available in the iTunes Store. Therefore, the track from the CD does not match the track that is currently sold in the iTunes Store. In this particular example of old “mono” recordings, it is even more likely that they have updated some of the recordings to make the sound quality better.

    Also, he should check the iTunes Store to make sure all the tracks are actually being sold. In some cases, an album may not be 100% available in the iTunes Store, as it was sold on CD. This is even more likely in this example of a compilation album, where the songs’ ownership may vary.

    Finally, the service is supposed to EITHER match OR upload your iTunes library into iCloud. iTunes Match does not guarantee that everything will be matched. I have old songs that I digitized from analog sources (tapes and vinyl), and those songs never match (for obvious reasons). If the source of his songs are “nine CDs,” just rip those CDs at 256 kbps AAC and it does not really matter if the songs get matched or uploaded.

    I think iTunes Match is a great service, well worth $25 per year.

    1. If you look up this album in the iTunes Store, it has 79 items (not 70). So the example he uses is not technically even the same album. But 51 of the songs still happen to match.

      It should not even matter to someone who actually owns the original CD set. Just rip them into iTunes at 256 kbps AAC, which is the same quality level used for the matched (and sold) songs. The point of the service is to make your iTunes library available from iCloud, to all of your compatible Apple devices and computers. It does not matter if the songs are matched or uploaded. Apple would prefer that the songs are matched, to save storage space on its servers for uploaded songs.

      It would only matter to someone who illegally downloaded the songs, and they happen to be encoded at a lower-quality bit rate (like 128 kbps MP3); they want to use iTunes Match to upgrade them to the 256 kbps version from the iTunes Store. iTunes Match is not an amnesty program for illegal downloads.

      1. Actually, it is the same. The iTunes Store shows “79 items” for the set, but that includes one “item” for each album name. I had wondered, in fact, why I sometimes saw different total numbers on the iTunes Store for certain sets, but the way they count is, well, simply wrong.

  8. Match works pretty well for me but then I don’t expect it to get everything.
    If the album / song is available on iTunes then there is a good chance Match will find it. However, if it is a different recording or older master or a title that is obscure then subtle differences with prevent Match from identifying the song.
    25K songs is a lot to have in your library. I’m sure Apple will up the number but the distributors will have to agree to it.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.