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iTunes Match Frequently Asked Questions

Article ID = 68
Article Title = iTunes Match Frequently Asked Questions
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 8th February 2012
Article Last Updated = 7th December 2015
Article URL = http://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?68

Article Brief Description:
Frequently Asked Questions about iTunes Match primarily for UK users
Q. What is iTunes Match?
A. iTunes Match allows you to store all your music, even songs you’ve imported from CDs or purchased from other online stores, in iCloud. You can access the music in iCloud from all your devices and listen to your entire library, wherever you are including over 3G with an iPhone/iPad.
Q. When is iTunes Match being launched?
A. Apple launched iTunes Match in the UK on the 19th December 2011.
Q. Is iTunes Match available in my country?
A. Check Apple's iTunes Match availability by country list.
Q. I'm in the UK. How much does the iTunes Match cost?
A. In the UK it costs £21.99 a year.
Q. What do I need to use iTunes Match?
A. You must have the following:
  • An Apple ID
  • An Apple Macintosh computer running iTunes 10.5.1 or later
  • A PC running iTunes 10.5.1 or later
Plus you can have from 1 to 10 (including your original computer) of the following to access the music:
  • An iPhone running iOS 5.0.1 or later
  • An iPod touch running iOS 5.0.1 or later
  • An iPad running iOS 5.0.1 or later
  • An Apple TV (2nd Generation) running version 4.4 or later of the Apple TV software
  • Additional Apple Macintosh computers running iTunes 10.5.1 or later
  • Additional PCs running iTunes 10.5.1 or later
Q. How can I tell what devices are linked to my iTunes Match account?
A. In iTunes go to your account area and there will be an "iTunes in the Cloud" section detailing the devices, a link to manage those devices and also the renewal date for your yearly subscription.
Q. Does iTunes Match stream or download songs?
A. It depends on the device accessing your iTunes Match iCloud library:
  • Mac or PC running iTunes = if the track is not stored in your local library the track will "stream" when played but you can download the track at any time by clicking the iCloud download button.
  • iOS devices (iPhone/iPod touch/iPad) = if the track is not already stored on the device it will start playing the track from iCloud as it downloads it in the background. The device will then store the track so that you can listen to it later even if you don't have a network connection (thus it does not "stream" music to an iOS device).
  • Apple TV = will only "stream" tracks
Q. Does Apple have information on iTunes Match?
A. Yes, of course:
Q. How does iTunes Match work?
A. When you enable iTunes Match on your computer it will scan and attempt to match tracks in your library against the master iTunes library that Apple has. If the track exists in this library Apple puts the track into your iCloud. Any tracks that are not matched to this master library are (possibly transcoded and then) uploaded and stored in iCloud.
Q. Is there a limit to the size of an iTunes library I can use with iTunes Match?
A. Yes. iTunes Match is limited to 100,000 tracks (originally 25,000 but raised to 100,000 in early December 2015). However, tracks that you have specifically purchased from iTunes made with the same Apple ID being used for iTunes Match and that are matched do not count towards this total.
Q. What happens if my iTunes library is too big.?
A. iTunes will simply give you an error message stating "your library contains too many songs" and the iTunes Match scanning process will not start.
Q. If my library is too big, can I choose which tracks are iTunes Matched?
A. Short answer = no (not yet anyway, maybe in a future update from Apple). Long answer = iTunes allows you to use more than one "library" but this workaround is a real kludge. You could create a second, smaller library just for use with iTunes Match. When you open iTunes hold down the Option key (Alt on some keyboards). iTunes will give you the option of creating a new library or choosing a different library. Choose the option to create a new library. iTunes will open with an empty library. Now go to Preferences > Advanced tab and untick "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" (this prevents iTunes making duplicates of your tracks). Now you can turn on iTunes Match in this "library" and add music as required. All you have to remember is to hold down Option whenever you open iTunes to select the correct library. Hopefully Apple will offer a more elegant solution in the future.
Q. What if I didn't buy the track from iTunes?
A. That does not matter. iTunes Match will try to match tracks regardless of where you bought them.
Q. What if the track is not in the iTunes m4a/AAC format?
A. That does not matter. iTunes Match works with AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF, Apple Lossless and other formats. If a track is matched in the master iTunes library the version stored in your iCloud will be the iTunes 256Kbps AAC version. Low quality MP3s equal to or below 96Kbps will not be matched.
Q. What if I have music that is in higher quality than 256Kbps?
A. If the track is matched in the master iTunes library it will be stored in your iCloud area as iTunes 256Kbps AAC version. If the track is not matched one of the following will happen:
  • If the track quality is equal to or less than 320Kbps it is uploaded in its current format and bit rate.
  • If the track quality is more than 320Kbps it is transcoded to a 256Kbps AAC file locally, first and then uploaded. The original file will remain untouched.
  • If the track is in ALAC, WAV, or AIFF format it will be transcoded to a 256Kbps AAC file locally, first and then uploaded. The original file will remain untouched.
  • Tracks with a file size of more than 200MB will not be uploaded.
Q. What if I don't legally own the track?
A. iTunes Match will scan it and try to match it. If it matches the track it does not mean that you now legally own the track.
Q. What happens to the local version of the track on my computer/hard disk?
A. Nothing. Local music on your computer/hard disk does not get replaced.
Q. What happens to the local version of the track on my iOS device?
A. If you have enabled iTunes Match on your iOS device music will be downloaded from iCloud when you listen to it and if necessary it will be replaced.
Q. What happens if I delete the local version of the track from my computer/hard disk?
A. The track will be deleted from your computer/hard disk but it will still be visible in iTunes (as long as you are still subscribing to iTunes Match) and can be re-downloaded. If the original track was low quality it will be upgraded to an iTunes 256Kbps AAC version. If the original track was low quality it will be downgraded to an iTunes 256Kbps AAC version.
Q. So, should I want to, how do I delete a track from iCloud?
A. When you delete the track from your computer/hard disk iTunes it will give you the option to "also delete this song from iCloud". When deleting a track from iCloud, the deleted item will also be deleted from any iPod, iPhone, or iPad enabled for iTunes Match which syncs with your iTunes library.
Q. I've tagged my tracks properly (e.g. as per MacStrategy's recommendations). What happens to my tagging/metadata?
A. Nothing. All tagging/metadata is retained in your local iTunes and on all the tracks in your iCloud regardless of whether they are matched or uploaded tracks.
Q. What about artwork I have added manually?
A. Any artwork you have added manually will not be lost.
Q. Do the matched/uploaded tracks in my iCloud have any Digital Rights Management (DRM) on them?
A. "Matched" tracks are DRM free. However, tracks that are not matched that have DRM will not be uploaded.
Q. In iTunes is there a way to see the iTunes Match status of tracks?
A. Yes. Go to View > View Options and tick "iCloud Status" or in iTunes 12 or later go to View menu > and select All Music (view the various iCloud status symbols). Here are the possible statuses:
  • Waiting – The track is in the process of being scanned and matched but has not yet been processed.
  • Uploaded – The track was not found in the master iTunes library and so it has been uploaded to your iCloud.
  • Purchased – You purchased this track from the iTunes Store and is ready to play.
  • Matched – The track was found in the master iTunes library and is ready to play.
  • Ineligible – The track is not eligible for matching e.g. track quality is below 96Kbps or file size is above 200MB.
  • Duplicate – This is displayed next to duplicate tracks that have already been matched.
  • Error – This may be displayed if the file is corrupt or if there was an error uploading the track. Try updating iTunes Match (Store menu > Update iTunes Match) to resolve this.
Q. What happens if I stop/cancel my yearly subscription?
A. Not much. You simply lose access to the music content in iCloud. You do get to keep all your local music on your computer/hard disk and any music you have downloaded from iTunes Match.
Q. It all sounds good. Any recommendations before I sign up?
A. Yes. Backup your iTunes library before signing up.

Article Keywords: iTunes Match FAQ stream streaming

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