what it is and how iTunes Match works

iTunes Match works

iTunes Match is Apple’s paid service ($27.99 USD per year – March 2015) that lets you store your music on iCloud, without worrying about how much space your music uses, up to 25,000 songs.

how iTunes Match works

This includes all of your music: whatever you bought in iTunes, whatever you imported on CD, and even whatever you bought from a source other than iTunes.

Once you have your music in iTunes Match, you can access all your music from any of your devices, wherever you are.

You can use iTunes Match on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, or Apple TV. Once your music is stored in iCloud, you can say that you have a backup of your entire collection, without having to worry any more about keeping a copy somewhere.

How iTunes Match Works

iTunes Match determines which songs in your collection are available on the iTunes Store and are automatically added to iCloud. This happens every time you add songs to your collection.

Songs not available in iTunes are uploaded to iCloud.

Your music is streamed to any of your devices, and for songs available on the iTunes Store, the quality will be 256 Kbps, even if your original copy was of lower quality. At any given time, you also have the option of downloading copies of the songs available in your collection to any of your devices.

The Ten Things You Should Know About iTunes Match

iTunes Match can be used by anyone who has an Apple Id in any of the countries listed in the table at the end of this article. The minimum version required for iTunes is 10.5.1, and iOS 5.0.1 for mobile devices.

iTunes Match automatically adds new songs to your collection, which you add after service activation, so you don’t have to worry about doing it.
ITunes Match lets you sync music in AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF and Apple Lossless
formats.

All songs stored in iCloud will be streamed when they play, and you can also download them by clicking the iCloud download button.

iOS devices play iCloud songs as they download and store them so you can listen to them later, even if you don’t have a network connection. Apple TV only plays streaming songs, it doesn’t store them.

Songs purchased using the same Apple Id you’re using for iTunes Match don’t count against the 25,000 song limit.

You can sync up to 10 devices with iTunes Match. Songs larger than 200 MB will not be synchronized. If you have songs with DRM, they will be synchronized only if you are authorized to play them.

Your playlists also sync between your devices, both ways.
To stop music streaming when you are disconnected from a wireless network (using cellular network), go to “Settings” of your mobile device, then select “Store” and disable the cellular data usage option.

Where is iTunes Match available?

iTunes Match, for music, is available in the following countries (until March 2015):

I’ve long liked the idea of Spotify, it’s a versatile system, much cheaper than buying music and it works on almost any device.

So a priori, if you just want to forget about any local file and live completely in the cloud, it can be a great alternative.

In my case two key factors make Spotify not a valid alternative: the customer and his license.

On the one hand I have nothing against Spotify clients, but I’ve always been a fan of iTunes and even more of your client for iOS, it’s simple and effective and I don’t need more.

On the other hand, if you decide to use Spotify in exchange for not paying for music (either in digital or physical format) the day you stop paying for the service (or simply decide to close it) you will lose all your music.

And it is that a priori the idea of iTunes Match did not convince me either, an unfounded fear especially due to the criticisms I had read about the system and its problems when importing music into it.

That’s why, like everything else today, I asked my great followers on Twitter their opinion: iTunes Match, yes or no? Surprisingly, a large number said yes, so I was encouraged to try such a system.

iTunes Match, the first steps

The first thing that calls the attention of the system lies in its simplicity, like many things in Apple this has its good part and its bad part.

The good one. You pay 24.95 euros and in a couple of hours your audio library is in the “cloud” and accessible from any iOS or Mac device.

The bad one. Sometimes the lack of information makes the system a real headache. Messages that aren’t shown, music that disappears, how do I access iTunes Match? and a lot more situations that aren’t shown or explained at any time.

But let’s go back a little bit. What do you have to do to activate iTunes Match?

  • It all starts in your main library, iTunes. As you have all seen, the program has a section with that name just above the access to the iTunes Store.
  • Once we click on this button we will see a brief summary of the system and an option to buy it as if it were an application for iOS.
  • After purchasing this “upgrade”, our iTunes library will be studied by the program itself to generate an XML file with all the content of it.
  • This file will be the one that will be uploaded to Apple’s servers and which will compare in its system the coincidences making that in a matter of a few minutes we can have thousands of songs accessible without the need of any upload or download to the cloud.
  • What if iTunes doesn’t have such songs? Well, the system will take care of uploading those songs to the cloud without having to occupy an extra space or have to pay more for it.

Impressions on iTunes Match, an interesting service

The truth is that in general I’m really happy with the service, and except for some specific problem, the truth is that I find one of the most interesting options right now in the market when it comes to stop synchronizing your iOS devices and at the same time access from any computer. However, there are some details to comment on:

While the initial load and comparison with the data was really fast, about an hour, the subsequent upload of files not found was quite “painful”, reaching a total of almost 48 hours in the upload of just 500 songs.

The success rate is really good, in my case most of my music is relatively commercial so I took it for granted that it would not be a problem, although I was afraid regarding some collections in concrete digitized in the stone age and hand slashed by me.

For another joy, those songs (multitude of them with incorrect or incomplete names) were found at first and synchronized without any problem.

After a general review of the library, the vast majority of the songs were found or uploaded to the cloud. In some specific cases duplicates were found that were not uploaded and in others the songs were not added because of “unsuitable” content.

While the library and its lists are now accessible from any of my devices without any problem, the covers of my disks have suffered a bit more (I’m very meticulous about this) and many of them have been lost during the transition.

The curious thing about it is that they display well on iOS during playback, but not on iTunes. Really strange and at the moment I have not found any solution.

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