This user tip was originally contributed by mracole in February 2012.
iTunes Match – the Journey
Overall iTunes Match is a great service from Apple that allows Music Libraries to be kept in sync across both Computers and iDevices. It does take some effort to establish a successful outcome. These notes cover the key points.
If anyone knows how we can make such notes more easily accessible to those new to iTunes Match, please update.
There is a certain minimum knowledge of the service required to make a reliable start. Some of the most useful references are as follows:
Essential tips: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3626829
Reference guide: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3619849
Initial ‘Match’ Complete
Once you have tidied your iTunes library and taken the decision to buy the iTunes Match service the challenges start. Beginning with a single computer, start iTunes Match and allow the 3-step process to complete – not this may take from several hours to several days depending on the size of your library and the speed of your internet connection.
The following threads will guide you on the route to achieving a tidy functioning library with iTunes Match enabled – this is essential prior to enabling on more devices:
Resolve ineligible tracks: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3623151
Address apparent inconsistencies: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3629795
Complete the initial library: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3646104
Addressing Artwork & Metadata
So your library now works well and the iCloud version is established with iTunes Match in successful operation. This is the time to make adjustments to Artwork and other metadata prior to allowing the iTunes Match service distribute the results across the remainder of your devices. The key steps are:
Correct/Complete Artwork: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3650114
Tidy / Refine Metadata: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3657965
Using the iTunes Match Service
With the steps above complete, iTunes Match can reliably be extended to cover other accounts on the same Computer, different Computers and your iDevices. In all up to 10 devices of which 5 can be Computers will all operate well in line with the guidance above. Some re-correction using the same steps may on occasion be needed as new libraries are added.
Known Shortfalls & Making the Most of the Service
Even with this guidance the current service does have its challenges. 5 rules to bear in mind:
Always ensure that you have a secure backup of your Song files;
Remember ‘matching’ music is an inexact science – do not expect 100% solution;
Service performance suffers ‘outtage’ as new countries are added;
Capability is not complete, for example Smart Playlists are yet to function in IOS;
Apple do not routinely read forum threads, to update them you must call them.
A couple of further threads to assist:
Coping with Service Outtage: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3663736
Importing from Vinyl: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3696878
The service is extremely good but far from perfect. Patience and sense of humour are all important. Please do add to this thread with known helpful solutions and/or advice on how to make such material easy to access.