Warning to iTunes Match Users: If You Don’t Plan to Renew, Download All Your Music Now




As the one year anniversary of iTunes Match approaches, many users are currently wondering if they are going to renew the $25 a year service. For some users iTunes Match works fine; for others it’s a disaster. I recently did some research for a Macworld article that will be published on November 14, the date that iTunes Match was introduced last year, and found that many users suffered from a number of problems. These involve poor matching, incorrect matching (often “clean” versions of songs instead of “explicit,” or live versions instead of studio versions), problems with tags disappearing, and especially problems with playlists not syncing correctly or getting mixed up.

So, if you’ve decided to throw in the towel on iTunes Match, you had better prepare. If you don’t have local copies of all your music, start downloading it now. Because if you don’t, when iTunes Match turns off for you, you won’t have access to any of that music, and you can’t get it back.

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15 replies
  1. Brian says:

    You mean the music that didn’t match correctly? Because the only reason you HAD it on iTunes match was because you had it initially. Match just updates the bit rate and makes it available via iCloud from any device. If you didn’t have it, there is nothing to “match”. What did you do, delete your originals after going to match???

    Reply
    • kirk says:

      The thing is, it is possible that some people may have deleted some or all of their music. Also, if they matched songs that were at lower bit rates, and haven’t downloaded the higher bit rate versions, they need to do so.

      Reply
      • Doug says:

        I guess it is the disconnect between your statements. To choose to delete some or all of your library you would have had to be very happy/convinced in the product. Thus you would not cancel. If you had all sots of problems you would not force your self into reliance on the product and you certainly should not be surprised if you lost access once you cancel the service.

        I can imagine people being concerned that they might lose access to files they upgraded if they cancel but that is the opposite of what you wrote about and those people will be presently surprised.

        Reply
  2. doug says:

    I don’t get the idea behind this article ether?

    So, you are saying that if iTunes match was working so well for you that you choose to delete your personal music library that you should make sure to re-download your music if you choose to stop using the service? Is this really something that has to be said?

    I’d go with….duh!

    Reply
    • kirk says:

      As part of the Ask the iTunes Guy column I write for Macworld, I get hundreds of questions from readers. Trust me when I say that this is really something that needs to be said.

      Reply
  3. Janey says:

    I love iTunes Match, but I have also had a few problems getting tracks to line up. But in my case, I’ve been able to resolve most of them by seeing what the track is named in the iTunes Store and then matching that name. Then it matches the track. I only really have problems when it matches, but it’s not something in the US store. But otherwise, iTunes Match has been great for me, especially if you own an Apple TV. It really has improved since they launched it. Totally worth the $25/year too.

    Reply
  4. DJR12 says:

    iTunes Match is *almost* there, but I won’t be renewing. It needs to accommodate nested Smart Playlists created in iTunes (I’m not sure why there would be any technical reason it couldn’t… ?) and it needs to accommodate longer songs. Half my classical collection won’t sync as it stands right now. Syncing the music I want at home trumps the occasional convenience of downloading a song away from home.

    I’m also not a fan of the automated file swapping as I understand it. iTM needs to respect the songs I’ve purposely downloaded locally via synced playlists and prioritize them over whatever it thinks I want to listen to. Again, this would be easy to do.

    Reply
  5. Brian says:

    I haven’t purchased it yet. Frankly, it’s always looked like a good deal, but mostly just to get the files. I’d probably archive them right away, and replace my lower-quality originals. So, I wasn’t sure I understood the article. Thanks for the clarification, Kirk.

    Reply
  6. Lantzn says:

    I think I know why they might need to know this. When I started using ITunes Match it was all wired based syncing and all my music was backup on my computer. After the iOS update that made everything sync wirelessly I start to by new music on whatever device I happened to be on. We have a laptop, tower, 2 iPhones and an iPad all using the same iTunes account. I can’t say all my music is on the tower now so I would want to make sure it was if I decided to discontinue the service

    Reply
    • Doug says:

      Lantzn:
      But you will not lose access to that music. Purchased music can always be re-downloaded. Again, in this case there is no issue with losing access.

      Reply
  7. timothy says:

    Excuse my ignorance, I am not using iTunes match because I thought that the downloads using match are using DRM – unlike the ones you buy. Match is like the rental on iTunes – are you sure the tracks don’t have DRM ? What would be the incentive to buy then ?

    Reply
      • Singgih says:

        nope. i just got an automatic e-mail reply that they will get back to me in 24-48 hours:( so now I’ve paid for the e book, don’t have the book and am trnyig to wait (not very patiently!!!) to hear back from B and N before I buy through itunes.

        Reply
    • Brian says:

      Apple completely did away with DRM a LONG time ago. The only files that are DRMed are ones you bought initially, when the music industry still insisted on it. (And the one Job’s put in what so simple to get around it would stop almost no one. Heck, a PeeCee user could figure it out…)

      Actually Match will essentially REMOVE the DRM. It will match a file that has it, and replace it (if you are savvy enough to actually DL it all to one computer) with a HIGHER bit rate, non-DRMed copy.

      Reply

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