iTunes Match vs. Apple Music: Why you’d want to subscribe to both

“Apple’s cloud services are confusing to say the least, and things have only gotten more convoluted as these services have proliferated,” Dennis Sellers writes for Apple World Today. “iTunes Match, Apple Music, or both?”

“If you want to use Apple Music, using it along with iTunes Match is your best choice if you already have a large music library,” Sellers writes. “Your Apple Music membership includes an iCloud Music Library, which allows you to listen your entire music library from all of your devices as long as you subscribe to the service. When you sign up, it checks your music collection to see which of your songs are also in the Apple Music catalog. It does this by matching against your song’s details (such as name, artist, album). If Apple has your songs in its catalog, it makes ‘em available to access on all of your devices.”

“Your iTunes Match subscription also includes an iCloud Music Library,” Sellers writes. “Songs added are made available to your other computers or devices in 256 Kbps DRM-free AAC. Since they’re DRM (digital rights management) free, any of the songs that you save offline can continue to play, even after your iTunes Match subscription ends. That’s the big difference from Apple Music.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We let our iTunes Match subscription lapse as we plan to continue with Apple Music and we have backups of our original non-DRM’ed ripped CDs and purchased music. Is anybody in the same boat or the opposite: You subscribe to iTunes Match, but not Apple Music?

And, lastly, can you imagine trying to sell these things to your average consumer? (gack!) Why is this so confusing, Apple?


    1. “Solution? FIRE Tim Cook!!”

      And then do what?

      Calling to fire someone is easy – but they still have a business to run. As you’re obviously so brilliant that you have all of the answers – what comes next? Or don’t you know? – You moron.

      1. And then hire someone who prioritizes user experience and efficiency.

        It’s clear that Apple is becoming just another Microsoft, and its software and business models are all about forcing users into its products. Apple used to be the one company that gave users the trouble-free tools to work & play however they wanted to…

        When the user experience and value degrade as they have, it will be harder and harder to justify the premium prices that Apple asks for its hardware and its clunky limited slow cloud.

  1. I use iTunes Match since it came out.

    I get a large part of my music free – legally and legitimately by the way. Usually in MP3 format. The rest I buy when needed on iTunes. What I like about iTunes Match is, when it matches my music I import, I can delete the matched MP3 and iTunes Match allows me to download a replacement copy from iTunes Store in Apple format. I like this, so my whole library is the same format mostly.

  2. Apple Music and iTunes Match have been disasters from my standpoint. To someone who has properly tagged music, including multiple versions of the same song, live cuts, and our own material in our collection — Apple’s tagging JUST DOES NOT WORK. It can’t even get cover art, original album release dates, composers, or genres correct. It makes a total mess of user-input metadata.

    Here is my impression of Apple’s attempt at music marketing:

    For the people who formerly only listened to FM radio, don’t want to collect any music, and who are willing to pay a subscription, then Apple Music is the offering. It will push the same corporate songs everyone else is listening to this month.

    For the people who have very modest music low-bitrate audio collections and just want to have Apple push that collection to all devices, Apple’s iTunes Match is the offering.

    For the people who know how to curate their own music and can manually sync just fine on their own, they can still purchase individual songs from iTunes or other sources — but Apple is making the interface less efficient and user friendly for this because it really wants to push subscriptions.

    For the audiophiles and music creators who have extensive collections of high-bitrate music, Apple simply doesn’t serve them. Sure, Apple went to all the trouble to create the Apple Lossless file codec and enabled it in iTunes, but it never sold music in that format and it knows that the iCloud would be broken instantly if users seriously attempted to sync large lossless music files. So to put the hurt on formerly enthusiastic audiophile Apple users, Apple has killed the iPod classic, it’s left the formerly excellent Airport Express to languish without update, it’s made the Apple TV completely unfriendly to audio-only use, and is so stingy on iOS device memory that the serious audiophile actually does have to do a significant amount of playlist synchronization (via USB cable). Audiophiles are concerned that Apple’s continued cold shoulder will soon end like the photographers’ Aperture fiasco, with Apple just yanking the ability to efficiently and cleanly manage one’s music collection from one’s own Mac, NAS, or home server. After all, Apple more than ever is all about profit, not about user experience.

    Apple fans keep claiming that Apple is the “best” at so many things, but with audio, Apple increasingly acts to make users conform to its poorly thought out business model. Apple may be making money hand over fist in the short term, but by alienating pros and power users, it’s sowing the seeds for long term user loss. People like me would spent vastly more money per month on ALAC music files on iTunes if Apple only sold them, but I will never rent Apple Music.

  3. It’s not that confusing, if “experts” don’t try to explain it in excruciating detail. And it’s less confusing of you subscribe to BOTH.

    iTunes Match – Enhance ownership of your songs. Examines your existing iTunes library, but does not affect it. In iCloud, all “matched” songs are made available to other compatible devices and computers you own, either by streaming or by downloading, in 256kbps DRM-free format. Songs in your iTunes library that do not match are uploaded to iCloud, and made available to the other devices.

    Apple Music – Play songs you don’t own, in Apple’s music catalog, by subscription. Songs can be streamed or downloaded to local storage, in 256kbps DRM’ed format. Songs added to your iTunes library are subscribed (not owned). Subscription must be maintained to play subscribed songs. Includes services that are not directly related to your iTunes library.

    > It does this by matching against your song’s details (such as name, artist, album).

    Actually, it does NOT do it that way. Matching is done by comparing the actual song files. I have songs in my iTunes library that I digitized from analog recordings (old tapes and records), by playing them into my Mac. They are in my iTunes library with correct details (such as song name, artist, and album), by they never match because the song files are too different from the pristine all-digital versions in Apple’s catalog. So song details do not matter for matching. In fact, a had a few songs that DID match with completely wrong song details (wrong song name and artist), but the song file itself matched.

  4. I am opposite. I have iTunes Match and don’t want Apple Music. I’m boring (as some might say) in that I like the music I have and rarely add new music to my library unless my favorite artists have new albums or I discover something new I want to buy. I hate modern pop to an extremist level, so have no interest in Apple Music.

    Even if you tried to convince me I would save money, you’re sorely mistaken. My annual iTunes purchases for music do not equate to the annual price of Apple Music, and even if it did, I’d prefer to own my music for a flat fee than have to pay the rest of my life just to listen to the same old song.

  5. I signed up for the trial of Apple Music I’m now a paying subscriber but not for too much longer. The plan is to listen to a lot of material, find out what I want to buy, then buy it and unsubscribe.
    However, classical music is a bit of a disaster, there’s effectively no searching by composer. I thought, ‘Surely they will fix that!’ but sadly no.
    And in general I find there’s just so little on it. Once you delve into anything that’s a little unusual you quickly find out that the available selection is meagre.
    iTunes Match works well enough for me but, of course, it could be better.

  6. I write and produce my own music, not that anyone cares. I also have a lot of music, thousands of songs, that are not for sale on the iTunes Store. All of that is the reason I have iTunes Match along with Apple Music so that I don’t have to have any music resident on any of my mobile devices and yet I can still listen to it all through them.

  7. They can take their monthly subscriptions and stuff them. I do not want to rent server space, or music matching, or photo space, or music itself. I won’t rent skinny bundles which will be so skinny they won’t compete with cable. And I won’t rent access to channels one at a time. This is really getting out of hand. I will buy hardware from Apple. I will buy software from Apple. I will use free services. That’s it. The more you make this stuff dependent on subscriptions the more my eye is wandering on the above.

  8. I maintain an iTunes Match subscription as way of playing my own library on all my devices but also as a sort of back up to the back iPod my music library. When my iMac hard drive crashed last summer, I just logged into iTunes on the new drive and redownloaded all the music from the cloud.

    I haven’t taken the time to move from Spotify to Apple Music. Just a pain right now with playlists and we pay for a family Spotify account… So whole family would need to move too.

  9. I have iTunes Match, only, as I have no need for iTunes Music.

    The article makes no case for why both services should be subscribed to – in fact, the headline is ‘creative license’ from MDN (as usual, sucking up).

    In fact, subscribing to Apple Music while subscribed to iTunes Match makes no sense, since Apple Music will add DRM, and destroy your Match Library, if you haven’t backed it up.

  10. About 1/3 of my music collection is not matched using iTunes Match. Those tracks are uploaded. I presume that those tracks are also not available on Apple Music. My understanding is that the track selection is even more limited on Apple Music.

    I also have a large library of high res AIFF files that were dubbed from analog sources, or ripped from 96/24, 48/24, or 48/16 tracks. Those dubs have the levels set low enough to capture the full dynamic range of the source (look up “loudness wars” to see how excessively high levels on a lot of CDs and digital tracks can kill the dynamics with music).

    With a high resolution source, iTunes Match will upload my version of a track, rather than use the iTunes Music version. Even though my other devices will playback using 256k AAC, the original sources from my library are still generally higher quality to begin with, so the difference is audible.

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