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Itunes match advice

Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
Apologies for the long post but I have a quandry.

I've been using iTunes for a long time and have a very carefully curated library of over 15,000 songs. A few years ago I ditched my ipod classic (I still own it though) as the mp3s sounded terrible in my then new car that has a high end hi fi system, so I uploaded my library to Google play music which replaced most of my tracks with high quality files which I could download to my SD card on my android phone to stream via Bluetooth and these sounded excellent in my car. I've been listening to my music this way for several years now, as it's a great, free service that updates on googles servers when I make changes to my iTunes library.

Here's my problem though - Google play music is about to be shut down and replaced with YouTube music, so I followed the migration instructions and transferred the library to it no problem, then deleted all the downloads from Google play music to make room for the YouTube music ones. So I went to the YouTube music app and clicked 'download' on the first of my 90+ playlists to be hit with a sodding paywall of £9.99 a month. I already have amazon prime with the services that provides but by iTunes library is extremely important to me and I'm not prepared to pay that just to listen to MY music. Apple music want the same money also. I appreciate both these payments will unlock millions of tracks I can stream but I'm only interested in my own library.

So I've been looking into alternatives, a pin drive in the car or even the ipod is not an option any more as the files sound poor so I'm looking at iTunes match, which seems like a more reasonable fee for what I want. I've read that itunes match works in much the same way as Google play in that it will replace the your files that you upload to the cloud with their own high quality file, which is exactly what I'm looking for.

I know you can re download all your library so I'd like to try and do that and replace my files with better quality ones for offline use like my car or streaming to my Bluetooth speaker at home.

So I guess my question is, is this easy to do, can I literally replace my library with these files then cancel iTunes match after one year and keep my files, playlists etc?
 

James_C

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2002
2,206
691
Bristol, UK
So I guess my question is, is this easy to do, can I literally replace my library with these files then cancel iTunes match after one year and keep my files, playlists etc?

Yep I use iTunes Match and I have used since Apple first introduced. Very easy to use and yes when you want to leave it will leave your original files on source device.
 

Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
Yep I use iTunes Match and I have used since Apple first introduced. Very easy to use and yes when you want to leave it will leave your original files on source device.

It's not the original files I'm after though, I've got them anyway, it's the higher quality apple versions I'm after keeping, if it's possible.
 

NoBoMac

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
2,891
1,217
Yes, it will keep the downloaded/high-quality downloads.

And if want to be extra cautious, can always download then copy the Music folder to an external drive before turning off. Probably a good idea even if not turning off, as one cannot have enough backups of their files.
 
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Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
Yes, it will keep the downloaded/high-quality downloads.

And if want to be extra cautious, can always download then copy the Music folder to an external drive before turning off. Probably a good idea even if not turning off, as one cannot have enough backups of their files.

I'm a stickler for keeping backups - i have it freshly backed up to three locations, one of which is at work so I can go back to how things are should this go tits up.

I've just paid for the service and I'm waiting for it to do its thing.

My ideal scenario is to completely replace my library with the better files, is it easy to do - eg when I download their files do they go into the playlists they've already been placed in?
 
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NoBoMac

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
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"Easy" might be a relative term.

Have not tried to download all my music, but, playlists in Music have a download all icon on them. Ditto Albums, Artists categories.

And yes, playlists should be preserved.
 
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Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
Next question - once my library has finished uploading, will I be able to play the files with Apple Music on my android device? When I went on the app it looks like that's geared up for the streaming service, will a match subscription allow me to play my library on it or do I need another app?
 

Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
"Easy" might be a relative term.

Have not tried to download all my music, but, playlists in Music have a download all icon on them. Ditto Albums, Artists categories.

And yes, playlists should be preserved.


So, I'm tearing my hair out trying to figure out what the hell this has now done to my library - at first it seems like all it's done is put a cloud symbol next to the songs but they all in the same format/bitrate as before, so I went on the downloads tab and deleted the lot, which put a download symbol next to everything instead, so I'm now re downloading everything and it's saying on a lot more of the files under 'kind' that they are now matched AAC audio - I think this is what I was after if I'm not mistaken?

My next issue appears to be how I actually play the files, as despite me now being a match subscriber, Apple music still wants the monthly payment, there's no option to just use it to stream your own music without paying. I guess I can simply use these new files and put them on my SD card but I'd like to find a way of displaying my playlists on my android device.
 
Last edited:

NoBoMac

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
2,891
1,217
Yep, doing what it's supposed to do.

The initial upload does not replace anything, just matches the songs. Need to do the delete and download to get the high quality tracks.

Warning: if you deleted a track that was not yet uploaded (ie. no cloud symbol [either cloud or cloud with line through it]) next to it, you just removed that from your library. So be on the lookout for any missing tracks.
 

Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
Yep, doing what it's supposed to do.

The initial upload does not replace anything, just matches the songs. Need to do the delete and download to get the high quality tracks.

Warning: if you deleted a track that was not yet uploaded (ie. no cloud symbol [either cloud or cloud with line through it]) next to it, you just removed that from your library. So be on the lookout for any missing tracks.

I just selected all in the downloaded tab on the left and deleted them, the uploading seemed to have finished, but loads of them didn't have any symbol next to them.
 

HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
2,633
767
It's not the original files I'm after though, I've got them anyway, it's the higher quality apple versions I'm after keeping, if it's possible.
it's the higher quality apple versions I'm after keeping,

What format/bitrate are your original files? If you have ripped them in a lossless format then the apple versions are hardly high quality due to their compression.
 

Erehy Dobon

macrumors 68000
Feb 16, 2018
1,626
1,485
No service
It's not the original files I'm after though, I've got them anyway, it's the higher quality apple versions I'm after keeping, if it's possible.
iTunes Match provides 256kbps DRM-free AACs.

When the service debuted in 2011, Apple bloggers pointed out that iTunes Match was a great way to upgrade a bunch of 128kbps MP3s in an existing iTunes library to better quality. Even if you had 256kbps AACs you ripped yourself, you were better off using the iTunes Match files since iTunes Store engineers had better transcoding tools.

iTunes Match will also provide "Mastered for iTunes" files when properly matched.

So that's what I did in late 2011-early 2012. I signed up for iTunes Match, uploaded my iTunes music library and redownloaded better quality files.

However I learned that iTunes Match has a matching accuracy somewhere around 85%. Even if I ripped an entire audio CD with iTunes, sometimes a track or two from the same album would not be recognized by iTunes Match. Worse, there's no apparent way to force iTunes Match to rescan the track and the service is too stupid to recognize that all the tracks come from the same album.

Be careful using iTunes Match if you rip lossless ALAC files, iTunes Match will only offer the 256kbps AACs for download if they match.
 
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Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
What format/bitrate are your original files? If you have ripped them in a lossless format then the apple versions are hardly high quality due to their compression.

They all vary massively as they're from a multitude of sources from up to 15 years ago. It appears to be matching the majority of them, it seems to miss a few ones I'd think were givens but on the whole if it improves 75% of my library then I'll be happy with that. I have a ton of dance music remixes that were never released to purchase so I can't expect it to do those.



iTunes Match provides 256kbps DRM-free AACs.

When the service debuted in 2011, Apple bloggers pointed out that iTunes Match was a great way to upgrade a bunch of 128kbps MP3s in an existing iTunes library to better quality. Even if you had 256kbps AACs you ripped yourself, you were better off using the iTunes Match files since iTunes Store engineers had better transcoding tools.

iTunes Match will also provide "Mastered for iTunes" files when properly matched.

So that's what I did in late 2011-early 2012. I signed up for iTunes Match, uploaded my iTunes music library and redownloaded better quality files.

However I learned that iTunes Match has a matching accuracy somewhere around 85%. Even if I ripped an entire audio CD with iTunes, sometimes a track or two from the same album would not be recognized by iTunes Match. Worse, there's no apparent way to force iTunes Match to rescan the track and the service is too stupid to recognize that all the tracks come from the same album.

Be careful using iTunes Match if you rip lossless ALAC files, iTunes Match will only offer the 256kbps AACs for download if they match.

Yeah I've noticed it will match some tracks off, say ABBA's greatest hits but not all of them.

I don't have any of ALAC or FLAC they're all mpegs or aac.
 

Zanton68

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2012
193
110
UK
Yep I use iTunes Match and I have used since Apple first introduced. Very easy to use and yes when you want to leave it will leave your original files on source device.

Does it replace your album artwork with the wrong album artwork in the same way Apple Music does e.g. if your collection includes a demo with your own artwork will Apple decide to replace the artwork with something completely wrong. Or if you have Back in Black by AC/DC, the second best selling album of all time, will iTunes Match replace the Back in Black artwork with the Powerage artwork like Apple Music does ?
 

James_C

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2002
2,206
691
Bristol, UK
Well as far as Back in Black goes :)

Screenshot 2020-10-15 at 21.22.35.png


However iTunes Match is not prefect, it sometimes matches to the wrong song, Not very often, but it does happen. Sometimes will substitute a live version for the studio version and vice versa. Sometimes album art is missing or incorrect as well.
 

cdcastillo

macrumors 65816
Dec 22, 2007
1,409
825
The cesspit of civilization
... is this easy to do, can I literally replace my library with these files then cancel iTunes match after one year and keep my files, playlists etc?

Yes, it is extremely easy. And you don't have to wait a year to cancel iTunes Match; as soon as your songs are matched and replaced (or uploaded if it doesn't find a match), and updated on your phone (as long as you have enough space for all of them), you can cancel.

Why not cancel right away? Well, if you want to stream YOUR songs without actually having them on your device, or if you plan on getting other devices (HomePod, iPad, etc.) from which you could stream without subscribing to Apple Music, you should keep paying the 8 bucks per YEAR.

I have found that sometimes iTunes Match adds (does not replace, but adds and selects a different image) things to the album art. I've not found that it replaces songs for another version, but some people report so.
 

satcomer

macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
7,087
1,204
The Finger Lakes Region
Sometime the Match does good if the song is in store! However if you have a older Independent band from back in day won’t be matched! That’s why I always backup my music/personal videos to an external to another external!
 
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Godimus74

macrumors newbie
Sep 29, 2013
1
0
I recently subscribed to iTunes Match. My question is, with all of my songs in my library being aac format (I converted them all from mp3 after adding them to the library), are all those files replaced in my library on my computer with the matched ones? There's no icon/option to download them from Match, they all (in album view) show a checkmark and the word "downloaded" (even the uploaded albums/songs) next to the "three dot menu". I was hoping to get better quality versions of some of the songs in my library by downloading the matched versions, but if they've been auto-replaced by the matched versions all is good...

I'm on Windows 10 and I believe iTunes is up to date...
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
17,421
4,677
However I learned that iTunes Match has a matching accuracy somewhere around 85%. Even if I ripped an entire audio CD with iTunes, sometimes a track or two from the same album would not be recognized by iTunes Match. Worse, there's no apparent way to force iTunes Match to rescan the track and the service is too stupid to recognize that all the tracks come from the same album.
There's the problem that the supposedly "same" album may be sold slightly different in different countries. So if you bought a CD in the UK, it's quite possible that one song is not on the iTunes album which may be the US version. Or if you bought a "Best of xxx" CD, that might not be on iTunes at all, so it collects songs from different albums to match, and some songs may be missing.

Of course anything not matched will be uploaded, so you can get what you had in your iTunes library on another device, it's just the original version, not the Apple 256kbit version.
 

Smellmet

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 15, 2012
187
55
Goole, UK
I recently subscribed to iTunes Match. My question is, with all of my songs in my library being aac format (I converted them all from mp3 after adding them to the library), are all those files replaced in my library on my computer with the matched ones? There's no icon/option to download them from Match, they all (in album view) show a checkmark and the word "downloaded" (even the uploaded albums/songs) next to the "three dot menu". I was hoping to get better quality versions of some of the songs in my library by downloading the matched versions, but if they've been auto-replaced by the matched versions all is good...

I'm on Windows 10 and I believe iTunes is up to date...

I've got it to replace my actual files with the matched ones. I backed my pre-match library up to a hard drive in case it screwed everything up (it did a little too, it duplicated random playlists). If you view your library by songs (which is how I have mine set at all times) and have the 'kind' field toggled on, it will tell you wether or not they are matched files or your original one.
 
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