Why I won’t be using iTunes Match

When Steve Jobs hit the stage to announce all the goodness Apple was rolling out with their new iOS 5, the feature that had me most excited was iTunes Match. This service would cost you $25 each year but provide you with one of the coolest things to hit the music industry since Napster. Only this time it’s sort of on their terms.

Here’s how it works. iTunes goes through all of your music and matches it with the iTunes Music Store library. All that music you bought on CD back in 1998, Shania Twain, Paula Cole, Savage Garden (you know who you are), and ripped at 128kbps for your computer are now available for you to download from iTunes. Only now you’ll be able to replace that sad 128kbps MP3 with a 256kbps AAC audio file, far superior if you ask me.

This even works with all that ill-gotten music you might have on your computer… As long as iTunes can find its match, you are good to go! Sounds great doesn’t it? A $25 get out of jail card that also improves quality of music in your library. Worth every penny if you ask me.

So why won’t I be using it? It was no secret that iTunes Match would cost $25 for 25,000 songs. That was announced at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference. What wasn’t announced was what would happen should you have more than 25,000 songs. I mean, if you really are a lover of music, it isn’t impossible to fathom having more than 25,000 songs right?

I have 6,637 albums adding to 33,895 songs, 93 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes and 19 seconds of music. It’s a lot of music, I know, but it’s my passion, my love, my entire allowance through junior high and into college. This is what happens if you try to buy iTunes Match with over 25,000 songs.

It really sucks. I would happily pay $50 to have coverage for up to 50,000 songs. Sadly this was probably a consolation Apple had to give to the music industry. I am probably a small percentage of the population with this problem. Of my 1,230 GB of music, 43 GB of it was purchased from iTunes and already comes with the iTunes cloud music service. 97% of my music won’t have that luxury.

A similar service is available from Music Beta by Google and Amazon Cloud Drive but both require you to upload your entire library of music which could take days or even weeks. iTunes Match is expected to take just minutes from start to finish. For me it would 248 Days 13 Hours 13 Minutes 56.48 Seconds to upload my music to Amazon or Google. That isn’t an option.

How much music do you have in your iTunes library? Will you be using iTunes Match? Do you think I am insane for having that much music?

86 thoughts on “Why I won’t be using iTunes Match

  1. hollywoodsangel In theory, if you had setup iTunes Match and thus backed up up to 25,000 songs and then your computer is stolen, you could get each and everyone one of them back through a single click in iTunes. It’s brilliant and easy to use. It also downloads all the songs at 256kbps which is a high resolution rate that is probably higher than you ever ripped your CDs.

  2. hollywoodsangel In theory, if you had setup iTunes Match and thus backed up up to 25,000 songs and then your computer is stolen, you could get each and everyone one of them back through a single click in iTunes. It’s brilliant and easy to use. It also downloads all the songs at 256kbps which is a high resolution rate that is probably higher than you ever ripped your CDs.

  3. carrie mccoy Everyone at first thought that iTunes Match and iCloud Music would be a streaming service. Gizmodo and several other outlets even inaccurately reported this. iCloud’s music offerings are strictly download only, no streaming. It appears to be streaming on iDevices but when you break it down, it’s actually downloading to your device for listening. It’s a minor difference that makes a huge difference license wise.

  4. carrie mccoy Everyone at first thought that iTunes Match and iCloud Music would be a streaming service. Gizmodo and several other outlets even inaccurately reported this. iCloud’s music offerings are strictly download only, no streaming. It appears to be streaming on iDevices but when you break it down, it’s actually downloading to your device for listening. It’s a minor difference that makes a huge difference license wise.

  5. @msilverman I wonder now what happens if you are in your situation. Not quite to 25,000 songs but not that far either. Say you decide you want to finally archive your CD collection. 6,000 songs later you are 355 songs over your iTunes Match limit. Does it just stop working at the 25,000th song? As far as I know, this hasn’t been explained. I do know that one iOS dev was able to get it to work with around 27,000 songs so perhaps Apple gives a little 8% leeway there? Your guess is as good as mine.

  6. @msilverman I wonder now what happens if you are in your situation. Not quite to 25,000 songs but not that far either. Say you decide you want to finally archive your CD collection. 6,000 songs later you are 355 songs over your iTunes Match limit. Does it just stop working at the 25,000th song? As far as I know, this hasn’t been explained. I do know that one iOS dev was able to get it to work with around 27,000 songs so perhaps Apple gives a little 8% leeway there? Your guess is as good as mine.

  7. @davidfarre Well you have a long way to go before it gets to be an issue but still something that needs to be ironed out and explained a little more. What if I have two computers with two libraries connected to one iTunes account. I wonder how it handles that situation. Count as two subscriptions, a total number of unique tracks or require two Apple IDs?

  8. @davidfarre Well you have a long way to go before it gets to be an issue but still something that needs to be ironed out and explained a little more. What if I have two computers with two libraries connected to one iTunes account. I wonder how it handles that situation. Count as two subscriptions, a total number of unique tracks or require two Apple IDs?

  9. squeakytoy yeah, the limit and the lack of a tiered pricing option for people like me who have already invested a ton of money in iTunes Match. Other than that limit, I cannot find anything about the service I do not like. There are a few ideas in the back of my head of features I would like to add but first I’d like to see an option for people like me to use the service.

  10. squeakytoy yeah, the limit and the lack of a tiered pricing option for people like me who have already invested a ton of money in iTunes Match. Other than that limit, I cannot find anything about the service I do not like. There are a few ideas in the back of my head of features I would like to add but first I’d like to see an option for people like me to use the service.

  11. I only have ~12,000 songs but that’s a culled down library. I keep everything on my Mac Pro as an archive – could be more (I worked for radio stations for 8 years as a DJ). I’ll probably do that and just “manage” my library if necessary.

    I’ve also noticed that I have 2 versions of some songs on my laptop – I did the DRM free versions at some point and I still have the DRM AAC files on the computer (it adds to and doesn’t replace them). I keep removing them as I find them to keep everything DRM free. Not sure if iTunes Match recognizes 3 versions of the exact same song (MP3, AAC & Protected AAC) as 1 or as 3.

  12. I only have ~12,000 songs but that’s a culled down library. I keep everything on my Mac Pro as an archive – could be more (I worked for radio stations for 8 years as a DJ). I’ll probably do that and just “manage” my library if necessary.

    I’ve also noticed that I have 2 versions of some songs on my laptop – I did the DRM free versions at some point and I still have the DRM AAC files on the computer (it adds to and doesn’t replace them). I keep removing them as I find them to keep everything DRM free. Not sure if iTunes Match recognizes 3 versions of the exact same song (MP3, AAC & Protected AAC) as 1 or as 3.

  13. @richmackey

    That’s another good point actually. When doing its initial scan, it doesn’t seem to look for unique tracks. You could, theoretically, have 27,000 copies of the same song and be rejected. But I’m not sure exactly how it works.

    I was hoping to use iTunes match in this fashion. Matched as many tracks as it could, say it matches 30,000 of my 34,000 songs. I’d then delete those 30,000 songs and re-download a new version from iTunes. I have noticed that many of my old MP3s, even those that were ripped at 320kbps through MediaJukebox are starting to show issues. I’ll hear blips in songs that I KNOW were perfect when I ripped them.

    I’m not sure of the cause here, perhaps having such a big library has caused some damage to the files or moving them around so much a 1 or 0 here or there has been left off. It doesn’t seem possible but I know what I hear and it’s totally replicable and at the same time on each song every time.

    So, since I cannot do this, I might have to break my library up into two, do 18,000 songs, get all of those matched and re-downloaded, then do it again with another “library”. But who knows, you might have a limit of 25,000 a year, so even if I “deleted” 18,000 songs from my library, who knows if that doesn’t still count against iTunes Match.

    Apple needs to clarify some of these issues.

  14. @richmackey

    That’s another good point actually. When doing its initial scan, it doesn’t seem to look for unique tracks. You could, theoretically, have 27,000 copies of the same song and be rejected. But I’m not sure exactly how it works.

    I was hoping to use iTunes match in this fashion. Matched as many tracks as it could, say it matches 30,000 of my 34,000 songs. I’d then delete those 30,000 songs and re-download a new version from iTunes. I have noticed that many of my old MP3s, even those that were ripped at 320kbps through MediaJukebox are starting to show issues. I’ll hear blips in songs that I KNOW were perfect when I ripped them.

    I’m not sure of the cause here, perhaps having such a big library has caused some damage to the files or moving them around so much a 1 or 0 here or there has been left off. It doesn’t seem possible but I know what I hear and it’s totally replicable and at the same time on each song every time.

    So, since I cannot do this, I might have to break my library up into two, do 18,000 songs, get all of those matched and re-downloaded, then do it again with another “library”. But who knows, you might have a limit of 25,000 a year, so even if I “deleted” 18,000 songs from my library, who knows if that doesn’t still count against iTunes Match.

    Apple needs to clarify some of these issues.

  15. @iTod haha, don’t feel inadequate, at least you can use iTunes Match if you wanted to 😀 Plus, services like Spotify are making giant iTunes libraries like mine seem awfully silly. I even pay for Spotify Premium and still rely on my iTunes partly because it has tracks that I wouldn’t think of otherwise. Like the album I am listening to right now, Calogero, a french artist I discovered years ago but would never remember if it weren’t for iTunes randomly playing it while on shuffle.

  16. @iTod haha, don’t feel inadequate, at least you can use iTunes Match if you wanted to 😀 Plus, services like Spotify are making giant iTunes libraries like mine seem awfully silly. I even pay for Spotify Premium and still rely on my iTunes partly because it has tracks that I wouldn’t think of otherwise. Like the album I am listening to right now, Calogero, a french artist I discovered years ago but would never remember if it weren’t for iTunes randomly playing it while on shuffle.

  17. shayes287 What issues have you been having with iTunes Match to make it not worth it? I’d be really interested to know since I cannot even test it out for the size of my library.

  18. shayes287 What issues have you been having with iTunes Match to make it not worth it? I’d be really interested to know since I cannot even test it out for the size of my library.

  19. as someone with a lot of music you must know how important song/album ratings and play counts are, during my trial with iTunes match, play counts went back down to zero and started over and others jumped into the hundreds after just a couple of listens, and stars did not transfer from iPhone back to iMac or vise versa

    once you enable iTunes match on your iPhone it wipes your synced music and you are unable to manage music from iTunes while syncing, all music must be redownloaded over the air, this means huge data usage, in the first 5 days of billing cycle I used over 1GB of my “unlimited” data package, which will be throttled once I hit 2GB, this means you have to think ahead and download any and all music when on wifi

    the download process was inconsistent when using the download buttons, but worked when you went to play the song, sometimes the buffer was good and you never noticed it was downloading aside from a sight delay when it first started, other times the song would start and stop while downloading

    playlists were a disaster on iTunes match, genius playlists did not transfer at all, on the iPhone a genius playlist would have no music in it and it would direct you to the iTunes store to purchase music, dumb playlists worked okay though not all of mine showed up on my device, and smart playlists were not correctly populated with the songs visible on my iMac

    i have 13500 songs and i was impressed that you can see all of them on your device, but ultimately you are limited by the space on your device as to how many you can listen to, since they must be downloaded…Music on iPhone crashed when i tried to delete downloaded songs, this is likely a beta bug

    as for the uploading to iTunes match process, it took a very long time (over night) and I’m not sure it really matched any of my songs, since it had to upload nearly 5000 of them…songs that i know are in the iTunes store…also updating iTunes match is/was a manual process that involved it scanning the whole library not just the new songs you added

    when apple told me to turn off iTunes match, it deleted all of my genius playlists (saved most of them as regular playlists that can’t be updated), it disabled genius, when i tried to turn it back on it failed, and it deleted an entire folder of smart playlists i had

    so i haven’t had a great experience with iTunes match…the best thing is knowing that my music is all backed up some place other than my time machine, so that if something awful happened i could get the songs back

  20. as someone with a lot of music you must know how important song/album ratings and play counts are, during my trial with iTunes match, play counts went back down to zero and started over and others jumped into the hundreds after just a couple of listens, and stars did not transfer from iPhone back to iMac or vise versa

    once you enable iTunes match on your iPhone it wipes your synced music and you are unable to manage music from iTunes while syncing, all music must be redownloaded over the air, this means huge data usage, in the first 5 days of billing cycle I used over 1GB of my “unlimited” data package, which will be throttled once I hit 2GB, this means you have to think ahead and download any and all music when on wifi

    the download process was inconsistent when using the download buttons, but worked when you went to play the song, sometimes the buffer was good and you never noticed it was downloading aside from a sight delay when it first started, other times the song would start and stop while downloading

    playlists were a disaster on iTunes match, genius playlists did not transfer at all, on the iPhone a genius playlist would have no music in it and it would direct you to the iTunes store to purchase music, dumb playlists worked okay though not all of mine showed up on my device, and smart playlists were not correctly populated with the songs visible on my iMac

    i have 13500 songs and i was impressed that you can see all of them on your device, but ultimately you are limited by the space on your device as to how many you can listen to, since they must be downloaded…Music on iPhone crashed when i tried to delete downloaded songs, this is likely a beta bug

    as for the uploading to iTunes match process, it took a very long time (over night) and I’m not sure it really matched any of my songs, since it had to upload nearly 5000 of them…songs that i know are in the iTunes store…also updating iTunes match is/was a manual process that involved it scanning the whole library not just the new songs you added

    when apple told me to turn off iTunes match, it deleted all of my genius playlists (saved most of them as regular playlists that can’t be updated), it disabled genius, when i tried to turn it back on it failed, and it deleted an entire folder of smart playlists i had

    so i haven’t had a great experience with iTunes match…the best thing is knowing that my music is all backed up some place other than my time machine, so that if something awful happened i could get the songs back

  21. @shayes287 Thanks for all that. Wow what a time! I like to think that with the finalized release of iTunes Match, since it is in beta, many of those issues will be resolved.

    It’s expected you cannot download more music to your device than it can hold and I never even thought about it syncing the ratings, playcounts etc, between computers. But now that you bring it up, wow, why doesn’t it do that?! That is one of the biggest issues I have when I have to redo my entire iTunes library, losing all my ratings and such.

    You’re right, that sort of stuff is a big deal to me. And you had to upload 5,000 songs to iTunes of your 13,500? That isn’t promising, less than 60% of your music was matched then. Weird for it to be so glitchy at such basic things, even though it is still in beta.

  22. @shayes287 Thanks for all that. Wow what a time! I like to think that with the finalized release of iTunes Match, since it is in beta, many of those issues will be resolved.

    It’s expected you cannot download more music to your device than it can hold and I never even thought about it syncing the ratings, playcounts etc, between computers. But now that you bring it up, wow, why doesn’t it do that?! That is one of the biggest issues I have when I have to redo my entire iTunes library, losing all my ratings and such.

    You’re right, that sort of stuff is a big deal to me. And you had to upload 5,000 songs to iTunes of your 13,500? That isn’t promising, less than 60% of your music was matched then. Weird for it to be so glitchy at such basic things, even though it is still in beta.

  23. Do you think it may have something to do with the fact that it’s still in Beta? I would hope so!

  24. Do you think it may have something to do with the fact that it’s still in Beta? I would hope so!

  25. @oskrNYC It wouldn’t be totally unusual except that they are specific with limiting, even in documentation for the public release, song libraries to 25,000 tracks. Let’s hope they roll out something for people like me. Hate to think that because I like music so much, I cannot enjoy such a great feature.

    Thanks for the comment 😀

  26. @oskrNYC It wouldn’t be totally unusual except that they are specific with limiting, even in documentation for the public release, song libraries to 25,000 tracks. Let’s hope they roll out something for people like me. Hate to think that because I like music so much, I cannot enjoy such a great feature.

    Thanks for the comment 😀

  27. @justex07 Anytime! 😀

    I would hope they do something about that. Seems very limiting to just prevent people with over 25,000 songs to use their service. It would not be very user friendly if they somehow made you select which 25,000 songs you’d like to use them on.

    I just checked and I’ve got 3,949 songs, so I could lend you some of my iTunes Match space if I could. :p

  28. @justex07 Anytime! 😀

    I would hope they do something about that. Seems very limiting to just prevent people with over 25,000 songs to use their service. It would not be very user friendly if they somehow made you select which 25,000 songs you’d like to use them on.

    I just checked and I’ve got 3,949 songs, so I could lend you some of my iTunes Match space if I could. :p

  29. @oskrNYC Haha, there could become some sort of cottage industry of people sharing Match accounts to create some sort of giant Match library… GENIUS! 😀

  30. @oskrNYC Haha, there could become some sort of cottage industry of people sharing Match accounts to create some sort of giant Match library… GENIUS! 😀

  31. @yourdailythomas Yeah it is. In high school I had a relatively high paying job and no expenses so I spent all my money on CDs and DVDs. Ended up with thousands which are now collecting dust in a storage building in Houston, TX haha. I meticulously ripped all my music, most at 320kbps MP3 back then. I haven’t purchased a physical CD in ages though. Everything lately has been through Amazon MP3 or iTunes.

  32. @yourdailythomas Yeah it is. In high school I had a relatively high paying job and no expenses so I spent all my money on CDs and DVDs. Ended up with thousands which are now collecting dust in a storage building in Houston, TX haha. I meticulously ripped all my music, most at 320kbps MP3 back then. I haven’t purchased a physical CD in ages though. Everything lately has been through Amazon MP3 or iTunes.

  33. @flyboy8824 well yes and no, depends on your use case scenario and budget. $120/yr vs $25/yr but tradeoff of library size.

  34. @flyboy8824 well yes and no, depends on your use case scenario and budget. $120/yr vs $25/yr but tradeoff of library size.

  35. @flyboy8824 would also be interesting to see bandwidth over a month of use, that 2GB 3G limit everyone is imposing could be troublesome 😐

  36. @flyboy8824 would also be interesting to see bandwidth over a month of use, that 2GB 3G limit everyone is imposing could be troublesome 😐

  37. @justex07 true, but spotify can sync ur playlists to your device so it might be more a data dump then continuous streaming deepening on use

  38. @justex07 true, but spotify can sync ur playlists to your device so it might be more a data dump then continuous streaming deepening on use

  39. @flyboy8824 if you’re smart, you use your WiFi. I travel so much, I’m always using the 3G option. Luckily I have the “truly unlimited” plan.

  40. @flyboy8824 if you’re smart, you use your WiFi. I travel so much, I’m always using the 3G option. Luckily I have the “truly unlimited” plan.

  41. @justex07 I think i have a unlimited plan since ive had the same iPhone plan since the beginning, also have a verizon mifi just in case

  42. @justex07 I think i have a unlimited plan since ive had the same iPhone plan since the beginning, also have a verizon mifi just in case

  43. @flyboy8824 Spotify’s full quality stream is actually really high, the highest on market I think. I wonder if their 3G stream is the same.

  44. @flyboy8824 Spotify’s full quality stream is actually really high, the highest on market I think. I wonder if their 3G stream is the same.

  45. @justex07 I doubt it, that would chew up your allotment pretty quickly i would imagine. That being said I have never had a quality problem

  46. @justex07 I doubt it, that would chew up your allotment pretty quickly i would imagine. That being said I have never had a quality problem

  47. Not sure about Amazon, but Google limits you to 25,000 songs on their service as well.

  48. Not sure about Amazon, but Google limits you to 25,000 songs on their service as well.

  49. I was hoping that you could answer a question that i haven’t been able to find the answer to yet. I understand that when subscribing to iTunes match it automatically creates copies of songs that match in the iTunes server, as if you had bought them yourself. What I’m wondering is what happens to those matched songs when you unsubscribe to iTunes Match. Will they remain as if you had bought them? Or will they be returned to their original state, with a lower kbps rate and everything?

  50. I was hoping that you could answer a question that i haven’t been able to find the answer to yet. I understand that when subscribing to iTunes match it automatically creates copies of songs that match in the iTunes server, as if you had bought them yourself. What I’m wondering is what happens to those matched songs when you unsubscribe to iTunes Match. Will they remain as if you had bought them? Or will they be returned to their original state, with a lower kbps rate and everything?

  51. I’ve been wondering about this for a while. My library is about 71,000 songs now and I just made the decision to dump my iPod Classic (which only held around a third anyway) in favor of a 64GB iPhone 4S which will keep my essentials local and stream the rest via AudioGalaxy.

    I was assuming that Apple would handle larger than 25k libraries in a fashion similar to how you can sync music to an iDevice. You can either sync everything (for smaller libraries) or sync specific playlists/albums/artists/genres. I take advantage of being able to sync a specific playlist. The music I want on my phone just goes into a playlist called “iPhone.”

  52. I’ve been wondering about this for a while. My library is about 71,000 songs now and I just made the decision to dump my iPod Classic (which only held around a third anyway) in favor of a 64GB iPhone 4S which will keep my essentials local and stream the rest via AudioGalaxy.

    I was assuming that Apple would handle larger than 25k libraries in a fashion similar to how you can sync music to an iDevice. You can either sync everything (for smaller libraries) or sync specific playlists/albums/artists/genres. I take advantage of being able to sync a specific playlist. The music I want on my phone just goes into a playlist called “iPhone.”

  53. @xian.kittle Likely a sign that it has something to do with the recording industry. Of all companies, Apple would be the one to negotiate around that. :- Guess not this time around.

  54. @xian.kittle Likely a sign that it has something to do with the recording industry. Of all companies, Apple would be the one to negotiate around that. :- Guess not this time around.

  55. @BrianRolincik They will remain as the new iTunes downloaded versions. It’s pretty brilliant for the consumer! Make all of your music iTunes plus for $25, even the music you bought elsewhere. And to top it all off, when your subscription goes away, the tracks stay on your computer. You will NOT be able to re-download them as you can with iCloud unless you renew.

  56. @BrianRolincik They will remain as the new iTunes downloaded versions. It’s pretty brilliant for the consumer! Make all of your music iTunes plus for $25, even the music you bought elsewhere. And to top it all off, when your subscription goes away, the tracks stay on your computer. You will NOT be able to re-download them as you can with iCloud unless you renew.

  57. @AndyGapin It’s actually an all or nothing system. You can create separate iTunes Libraries if you want, otherwise it looks at your library, not playlists.

  58. @AndyGapin It’s actually an all or nothing system. You can create separate iTunes Libraries if you want, otherwise it looks at your library, not playlists.

  59. @justex07 My Air has gone to a blue screen 3 times in the past 2 months. Do you know what the problem is? Will Applecare fix it?

  60. @justex07 My Air has gone to a blue screen 3 times in the past 2 months. Do you know what the problem is? Will Applecare fix it?

  61. @Brothanogood AppleCare should cover it but normally a reformat fixes software issues like that.

  62. @Brothanogood AppleCare should cover it but normally a reformat fixes software issues like that.

  63. @justex07 Does that mean it would delete my info? Would Mac Xperts be able to fix this or do I have to go to an Apple store?

  64. @justex07 Does that mean it would delete my info? Would Mac Xperts be able to fix this or do I have to go to an Apple store?

  65. @justex07 Does that mean it would delete my info? Would Mac Xperts be able to fix this or do I have to go to an Apple store?

  66. @Brothanogood Mac Xperts can do anything Apple can do for your warranty. A reformat does wipe your computer completely so always back up 😀

  67. @Brothanogood Mac Xperts can do anything Apple can do for your warranty. A reformat does wipe your computer completely so always back up 😀

  68. @Brothanogood Mac Xperts can do anything Apple can do for your warranty. A reformat does wipe your computer completely so always back up 😀

  69. Imatch SUCKS! I have only about 12600 songs and only 700 of them got matched and out of those, only half of my PURCHASED songs got matched. A waste of $25 dollars.

  70. Imatch SUCKS! I have only about 12600 songs and only 700 of them got matched and out of those, only half of my PURCHASED songs got matched. A waste of $25 dollars.

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