The Missing Link Between Your iTunes Library and the iTunes Store

06/13/2012

With iTunes Match, iTunes scans your music collection, matches your tracks, and lets you then access this music from the “cloud.” iTunes therefore knows what you have in your iTunes library. Part of this library includes your previous purchases; when you visit the iTunes Store, you can check in your Purchased list to find music that you have bought, and re-download it to your computer or your iOS device.

Yet when you browse the iTunes Store, you see prices on albums and songs. Since iTunes knows what music you own, it should be able to show you which items you have already purchased when you browse the store, instead of showing you prices for songs or albums that are in your library. This is the case for apps in the App Store section of the iTunes Store, and I see this with TV shows (but not movies). Yet this is not the case for music.

For example, I bought OLO game recently, and when I visit the program’s page in the App Store section of the iTunes Store, I don’t see a price, but I see the word Downloaded; if it’s not found in my library – say I’m on a different Mac from the one where I bought it – I’d see the word Download.

With music, however, this is different. Whether you’ve purchased music, or whether iTunes has matched it, you only see a price. While you can check your purchased list, it would make more sense for this link to exist between your purchases and albums or songs in the store. (This is easy for albums; a bit more complicated for songs within an album.) For example, here is an album of Beethoven sonatas and concertos, by Alfred Brendel, (actually, it’s several discs worth of music) which I bought from the iTunes Store:

I can see this in my Purchased list, and I can re-download it from there at any time. But iTunes is unable to tell me that I own this album when I view it in the iTunes Store. I didn’t try to buy it to see what happens…

With iTunes Match, this should be the same. Any matched content – again, albums are easy, if you have the entire albums, and songs are a bit more complicated – should display as such. If you try to buy an album that is in your library and matched, I don’t know if iTunes will tell you that it’s in your library, are happily go ka-ching.

Given the nature of the iTunes Store database, it seems that these should be possible. While matched music might prevent some challenges, given the size of your iTunes Match library, purchases should be indicated as such. If they can do this for apps and TV shows, they should be able to do it with other content.