A way to get round the 25,000 song limit in iTunes Match

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by KeithJenner, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. KeithJenner macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2010
    Sorry if this is a bit long, but it may be of interest to some people.

    One of the major issues that people have encountered with iTunes match is the way that Apple have implemented the 25,000 song limit.

    The limit itself isn't the issue, but the fact that there is no obvious way of excluding tracks from being matched, so if you have a library containing more than 25,000 non iTunes purchased tracks then you just can't use the service.

    A way round this has been discussed, and is being used by some people (I did this originally mysef). This method is basically to create a new library containing the songs which you wish to be matched and sign that up to iTunes match. You then have two options as to what you do with the remainder of the tracks. You can either have a separate library with just those unmatched tracks, or a separate master library which includes all your music but isn't registered with iTunes match.

    Whilst this works, it is not ideal. If you have the unmatched tracks in a separate library (which is what I did) then your music is essentially split in two and you are probably unlikely to listen to one library much.

    If you keep a separate full library then you have to remember to add any new purchases to both libraries and also if you make any other changes then you will probably want the changes on both libraries. Playcounts are also split out between the libraries.

    Obviously, the best solution would be to be able to just match a selection of tracks in your main library. Hopefully Apple will introduce this feature soon, but in the meantime I have found a way that you can match a selection from your main library with more than 25,000 songs in it, without having to split the library into two.

    The solution comes from a method pointed out by Michael Allbritton on the Apple support forum to exclude a track from match. It uses the principle that if you delete a track from the cloud it won't delete that track from any iTunes library which has the song stored locally. Instead, it will show up in the library (and be playable) with an iCloud status of "removed".

    This is therefore how you match your library with more than 25,000 songs to iTunes match:

    A warning first, you are going to have to temporarily delete some songs from your library so you will lose playcounts etc. We shouldn't delete any actual files, but it's best to make sure you have a backup just in case.

    Ideally, you need two computers to do this, as we do need to have a second iTunes library to work with during the process. Theoretically we could do it with two separate libraries on the same computer, but we will be going back and forth between the two fairly regularly so that could become cumbersome. I did this by having my iMac as the main library and a second library on my laptop, which is the ideal setup (especially as I want the laptop to use match anyway for streaming).

    Also, before we start, you need to decide which tracks you want to have matched and which to exclude.

    Once you have decided that, open iTunes on your main computer but don't subscribe to match yet. Before you do so, you need to delete tracks to bring the size of your library below 25,000 songs. I would suggest that you delete tracks that you don't want matched. We need a bit of space to work with, so I would recommend having no more than 24,000 songs in the library at this point. This will probably mean that you have to delete some songs that you eventually want matched, but that isn't a problem right now.

    It is important when you delete the songs that you don't move the files themselves into the trash. Select the box to keep the files.

    Once you have done that, subscribe to iTunes match. The initial process may well take some time and during this period you won't have access to your deleted tracks. Bear with me though.

    Once your initial match process has finished, we need to see how much of your 25,000 song allocation has been used up. To do this, create a smart playlist where the criteria is that match status is either "matched" or "uploaded". Hopefully this number will be a little way short of 25,000

    We now need to start adding back the other tracks into your library, but we don't want them to match. This is where the second computer comes in.

    Create a library on the second computer and sign that up to match using the same Apple ID. You should see all of your songs start to appear on that computer. Don't download any yet.

    Once everything is there, go back to your main library and add some songs back into the library. I did this an artist at a time (although I did bundle some together if I didn't have many tracks by some artists). Just select File / Add to Library from the top menu bar and then navigate to your iTunes library files and select an artist. This will add those tracks that aren't already in your library by that artist.

    It is important that the number of tracks that you add doesn't take us above the 25,000 limit. For example, if your smart playlist shows that you have exactly 24,000 songs so far then you can't add more than 1,000 more tracks.

    Once the tracks are added the you need to rerun the match process (store / update iTunes Match from the top menu bar). However, you don't need to let it finish the process. Keep an eye on your other library and after a while (soon after stage 1 of the match process completes) you will see the tracks appear on your library with an iCloud status of "waiting". When that happens you can stop the match process.

    Now, on your second library delete those songs that have just appeared. Give it a couple of minutes and you will find that the songs are still in the main library but their cloud status has changed to "removed".

    Now if you check your smart playlist you should find that the number of tracks in the cloud is the same as it was before you added the new tracks into the library. The songs are in your main iTunes library but are not counting against your iTunes match total.

    Keep on doing this until you have added back all of your songs.

    Once you have finished you can then use up your remaining iCloud space by right clicking on selected tracks and adding those tracks to iCloud. This time, obviously, when you rerun the match process let it finish and don’t delete the files from your second computer.

    I am currently still working through this stage but can confirm that it does still work even when the size of your library exceeds 25,000. My current stats are:

    Total Songs 28,705
    iTunes purchases 2,639
    Matched/Uploaded 24,825
    Removed 1,241

    The advantage of this method is that your library remains intact (once you have put everything back) rather than fragmented between libraries. Playcounts and metadata changes are synced everywhere (on the iCloud songs), and it is quite easy to change the songs that you have in the cloud (by removing old ones as above and then adding your new selections to the cloud.

    I think that this is a lot better solution than having the library split out.

    If you have already signed up to iTunes and split your library to keep below the limit you can use this method to put your library back together again. You may have to temporarily remove a few songs from the cloud to give yourself some room for adding tracks.

    A final warning. I have had tracks removed from the iCloud for about a week now and they don't seem to cause any problems. I went over the 25,000 limit a couple of days ago again without any problems. I don't foresee any problems with this method but, as always, keep a backup of all your data just in case.
  2. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

    Nov 26, 2006
    That's fantastic work, Keith. I had no idea if my idea would really work and couldn't test it since I'm not near to the 25K limit.
  3. KeithJenner thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2010
    As soon as you mentioned it the other day I had to try it Michael, as it is a much nicer solution than having separate libraries. There is a fair amount of messing about whilst doing it, but it's certainly worth it.

    Thanks for passing on the idea. I doubt I'd have thought of it by myself.
  4. KeithJenner thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2010
    Unfortunately, I've just stumbled on the problem with this.

    If you inadvertantly turn off match on your main computer then you've had it.

    When you turn it on again it tries to rematch all those removed tracks, and you have to start the whole process again.

    This is a particular issue when you consider that "turn off iTunes Match" is right next to "update iTunes Match" on the menu.

    Luckily, I had only added about 1,500 songs before I did it. Back to the old method I'm afraid. Still, it was a nice idea.
  5. edhkirk macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thank you KeithJenner for sharing this. I notice that it says you went over the 25,000 limit - is that is the Matched/Uploaded category?

    I am not clear on the policy. Once you have downloaded 25,000 songs, it that is a hard limit?

    Or will it keep matching and downloading if you delete some songs to get the total back under 25,000?
  6. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    Once Match reaches 25k it will start giving error messages when new songs are added and won't include them in match.
  7. Southshore macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2009
    Boston, MA, New York, NY
    Using a second iMac as the other computer

    First, thanks for posting, I'm encouraged to try this now. I'd like your ( and the other experts) thoughts on my situation.

    I have built a rather large library of music over the past 10 years, 232 GB and 42,000 tracks. I do believe I could split out the library in two, one complete library that I would use exclusively when listening at home, and the other that would have most-favored tracks. Would your method satisfy such a scenario?

    I would mention that I keep all of the music on my iMac ( late 2009 ), with a 1 TB drive, but also have a common iMac (mid 2010) that the rest of the family uses. I'm just not clear on the steps I need to take to open a new iTunes library on that machine, or is it simply logging into iTunes with my active user name.

    Sorry about the length, but this is an epic undertaking!
  8. Fofer macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2002
    A much better "trick" I have come to appreciate, is simply setting all the songs you DON'T want to be eligible for iTunes Match, to be "voice memos" instead. They stay in your iTunes library, and they still play as songs just as before, but the iTunes Match "counter" pays no attention to them.

    This tip was discovered and discussed here:

    I am using this method to effectively enjoy iTunes Match, even though I have 32,446 songs in my entire iTunes Library. About 10% of that is currently available to me via iTunes Match, with all new songs getting added as I import.

    I much prefer this to maintaining two libraries, or using two computers. I started this by changing ALL songs to "voice memos" and then turning on iTunes Match. When I come across old songs I'd like to add to to the iTunes Match cloud, I select them and change them to "music."

    Works great!
  9. ianrip macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2010
    work:Oyu Tolgio, Home:LOS, From Scotland G15
    I'm working offshore so generally away from home for 4-5 weeks at a time, and I have recently added itunes match to my works Laptop, with approx 500 songs.

    I haven't signed up to it on my home PC and also I haven't added my FULL music library to the home PC yet, but I remember that my NAS Storage shows up in my itunes library as an External Device or library in the house, i think i can just keep ALL my music which will be approx 40K songs in my NAS and simply dragg and drop to match, without reaching the limit.

    does anyone else use a NAS with itunes as a media server. and does it impact on the limit of 25k
  10. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    Are the songs on your NAS in iTunes? If they are and that machine is hooked up with Match, it will try and add all those songs to your library (or give an error that there are too many).
  11. ianrip macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2010
    work:Oyu Tolgio, Home:LOS, From Scotland G15
    to Milo
    the NAS Appears on the left hand side as another device, once i open the NAS the songs appear like a library, so I think the songs are NOT in my itunes library, however the play(stream) straight away, i'm not sure about song counts and the other stuff, i'll check it out more when i get back home in about 2 weeks. I tried to drag a NAS song onto a playlist but it did not work, however, I think can just simply drag the songs i want to my itunes library, then add them to playlist and use them with Iphone-ipad.
  12. jcou macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2013
    wireless harddrive

    why wouldn't you just get a wireless hard drive and move your library to that. I have 65,000 song music collection stored readily available with no cloud streaming charge and I can add another 35,000 songs
  13. Fofer macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2002
    Um, because then you have to charge and carry around a wireless hard drive? And even then, it doesn't work with the Music app on iOS?

    I can afford the $25/year for iTunes Match, that's not the issue.

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