iTunes Match - How it REALLY works!

A look at how iTunes Match has messed up my iTunes library
Every blog or article about Apple starts with “I love Apple”... It’s like when people start talking about racism they say “I’m not a racist but” or “I’ve got many friends that are black or Hispanic” (Epic fail Trump!). I am an Apple fan. I’ve had everything over the years.

I’ll never use anything other than a Mac, I like my Apple TV (although the Xbox One Media app does movie streaming much cleaner that iTunes), we have an iPad (although I only used it for watching Netflix), I’ve had 3 iPod classics (1 broke, 1 drowned, 1 got pissed on by the cat and died) and iPhone since the 3G. It’s fair to say I’m firmly bedded in the Apple Eco System and I have no intention of breaking out of it.

I loved Steve Jobs’ ethos - centering usage around a great experience, and I get that.

So when my 3rd iPod bought it, I had to think about how I’d keep my music library with me. I liked my iPod, having everything there, but it was a pain having another device to carry around with me. I’m not prepared to spread out for a large storage iPhone either. So iTunes Match seemed to be a great way to go. I use unnatural amounts of data through my phone and I have an unlimited data package to cope so constant streaming isn’t a problem for me.

iTunes Match is supposed to analyse your existing iTunes library and deliver you iTunes stock via internet when you hit play instead of hosting the file locally on the device. Anything iTunes don’t have is uploaded so it’s accessible to me; ideal as I have albums made by friends that they don’t always sell through iTunes.

At £20 or so a year, it made sense as it would take 8 years to spend enough £20’s to equal the cost of a new iPod, in which time I probably would have needed to spend out for another anyway!

For the most part, iTunes Match does it’s job. However, it’s far from perfect;

Sometimes delivering re-mastered versions of songs so I have to deal with the amplitude increase of the re-mastered tracks in amongst the original masters - which sound nicer. The re-mastered versions are too loud, have little dynamics and distort in the highs. If anything, iTunes Match has really educated me into how bad modern masters are compared to 80s and 90s mastering.

Sometimes I’ll be delivered a version of the track that wasn’t on the album. Chris Rea’s “Fool if you think it’s over” from New Light From Old Windows is a perfect example. I enjoy the version that came on the album. I don’t have that anymore - I have to deal with some alternative arrangement. For all intents and purposes, I’ve lost that version.... unless I choose to sync it locally to my phone from my Mac, which defies the objective of iTunes Match.

My biggest gripe is the organisation of my albums. A recent update of either iTunes at Apple or iTunes on my devices has caused a number of cataloguing problems with some albums and artists. It just means I have to go searching for songs if I want to listen to them or I have to look for albums in other places. In some cases, albums are split into multiple versions of itself. I’ll demonstrate all of these issues with images in a bit.

What frustrastes me most is that Apple don’t seem to have a direct customer contact protocol for iTunes Match customers and complaints. I don’t quite understand how a company can charge a fee for a product and then offer NO support at all for it. I’m sure this must go against some kind of consumer law somewhere. They provide a feedback form, but how much is achieve by that I don’t know. Considering the number of forum posts on this subject, I’d be surprised if Apple didn’t know about the problem. In which case, why not at least provide a support system that would allow users to submit specific discrepancies in cataloguing so that they can adjust the metadata on their end.... or advise customers how to alter their local meta data so that our data matches Apple’s to allow correct cataloguing.

I genuinely don’t get it.

At the top of the page is a snapshot of my iTunes discrepancies. Maybe Apple will see it and decide I’m a paying customer and therefore just as important at Taylor “we’re never getting back together, like, everrrrrrr” Swift!