I inadvertently came up with something of a workaround, for those of you who have songs that are "Uploaded", but not "Matched" even though the songs show up in the iTunes Store. It is not perfect, but it beats nothing.
Before you attempt anything, back up your original music files, just to be safe. Goes without saying, but...you know.
What I did was simply use an outside program and reconvert the songs I want changed into a plain MP3 (I went in most cases from the .m4a to .mp3 form). I used Free Audio Converter, but who knows, it could work with any other converter. Delete the Uploaded original from the library and the Cloud, then take the file, convert it to something close to a 256-bitrate MP3. Add it to iTunes, and try uploading to the Cloud, see if it is now a Matched file. I did it with a few mainstream songs, and I got about 15 out of 22 I tried to get an iTunes Store-quality match.
The caveat to doing this is that the artwork does get lost, and any special settings (since you're not really duplicating the files, but creating a fresh MP3 from the old one) may disappear. As I said, not perfect. But I managed to get a few songs to go from the Uploaded column to the Matched column. Losing the artwork for me is a small price to pay, since Apple did not give me my money back last week when I had other issues with iTunes Match. They will only refund for data corruption or data loss, and not (just?) because the product is imperfect.
It worked for me, I can't guarantee it would work for anyone else, but I have some Matched files now that had been only Uploaded before. Until the hinkyness gets fixed by Apple, I'll take it. If you try this, again, back up your files first to make sure you don't lose anything. Good luck, and godspeed.
In response to Ryan Hargrove
"I do certainly like the backup aspect of it.
I hadn't thought too much about data usage and possible overage charges but I've noticed a few people have brought that up on this thread and I now realize I have to be cognizant of that.
I like that I have the ability to upgrade most of my music files that are less than 256 kbps to 256 kbps simply by deleting the original versions from my computer and then redownloading them from the cloud (somebody made this suggestion earlier in this thread and it is a good one).
I like that I have access to all of my playlists on every computer in my house and can edit the files (change ratings, change track start and stop times, etc. from any computer in my house). I can also use the Itunes DJ on every computer in the house, which is nice. This is much better than the old "homeshare" option, which as far as I know didn't allow you to make any edits to your music or use the Itunes DJ on secondary computers.
So there are definitely some good things going on here. I'm just disappointed with how Match is working specifically with my phone."
What you describe is exactly what I suffered until I gave up and went back to syncing. I keep Match on at the computer as I gradually go throught the process of converting about half my 20,000+ tracks to matched track, For the phone though, while it would be nice to have the access to my music through the cloud, the inconveniences of the current playlist farse outway any benefit to having all music available on the go.
Apple's implementation of this was poor at best and I am being polite about it.
In response to comments about playcount:
It is possibly a bug in which certain metadata such as playcount is embedded in the actual song file, and when a song is played/streamed (don't want to start that argument again) from the cloud on certain IOS devices, it is not updated because the code to update the file, or the ability to write to the file does not exist on the device. If you use the Apple TV as an example - before iCloud the song was really "playing" on your computer in the iTunes mothership, where all of the code/logic, and the physical file, resides. Using the iPhone as an example, the playcount was tracked on the device but not updated in iTunes until a sync.
I know playcount is working on my MB for matched songs because I just tested it. Does anyone know if playcount is being updated on an IOS device with physical memory the first time a song is downloaded/streamed, and if not, what about the second time? I've turned off match on my iPhone so I can't test it. I know playcount isn't working on my Apple TV.
With respect to play counts, after reading a number of articles, blogs and forums it appears that iTunes updates (adds) a count after a track has completed somewhere between 75% and 98% playback. Others claim that a song has to be played from start to finish. A couple said that only the last few seconds of a song has to play to be counted.
But most said that a majority if not all of the track has to play to change the count. A few articles mentioned that it had to move to the next song before the count would be increased for the song that just played.
Several articles suggested that song counts won't change in iTunes until the iDevice on which the song played syncs with iTunes. However I also found a post that said that it doesn't appear to work if you manually manage the music on your iDevice. So no matter how many times you play a track on your iPhone for instance it will not change any of the play count info in iTunes.
Some of what I found was pretty old, others were within the last few months so things may have changed along the way. I haven't had the time to try any of this, but thought I'd pass it along for those folks that use this feature.
With respect to the Apple TV2 playing songs from iCloud, since it only streams and never syncs, it may not ever change the song count in iTunes.
So if you're "testing" play counts using iTunes Match it's probably best to play a track completely and then sync your iDevice to really determine if it's working or not.
Hope that helps!
Here is an update regarding my iTunes match issue.
It started to working again!
I woke up after I had left iTunes running over night and sure enough my songs were added to the cloud.
Checked and confirmed I was able to enable iTunes Match on both my wife's and mine iPhones.
As a test I wipped out my iPad and preformed a wireless restore and all apps, books, and movies were stored.
That was some strange issue and just happy to see the it was working again.
Hope the rest out there have also gotten their issues resolved.
Well I had an interesting test case yesterday and today. First, i should point out that I have one PC in my bedroom and another PC in my home office. All of my physical music files reside on my bedroom computer but I've been playing music through icloud on my office computer for the last week as I do work.
So yesterday, I played a song by the Stray Cats as a test case on my office computer. While this particular song had not been played for many months, it had a Play Count of 4 from previous plays over the years. After playing it on my office computer, the Play Count for this song on my office computer increased to 5. However, the Play Count on my bedroom computer remained at 4 (it did not sync). I checked the bedroom computer multiple times during the day and the Play Count for this song remained at 4.
So today, I checked this song on my office computer and, to my surprise, the Play Count has been dropped back down to 4. It has been resynced with my bedroom computer. So both computers now show the Play Count as 4 again.
Well, at this point, the old incorrect information is shown in both locations for both Play Count and Last Played. I want to say that yesterday it did show the correct, updated information for Last Played on my office computer but I'm not 100% sure of that because I didn't make a specific note of it.
I can tell you that so far with the music I have played today on my office computer, the Last Played information (and the Play Count) does update properly on my office computer as the songs are played (this would lead me to believe that the same thing was likely true yesterday). However, the information is still not updating on my bedroom computer...and I would suspect that tomorrow the information will once again be reset to the old incorrect info on my bedroom computer.
Cvbears's workaround can succeed even without using an outside utility. I had a miserable 8% match with my non-iTunes purchased music (although to be fair some of my tracks are not in the Apple Store). I've found that if I convert the tracks to 256 AAC, even if they are already at 256 AAC (go figure!), most of the time they will match.
So if I start off with a 128 kbps mp3 I right click to convert it into 256 AAC (set in Import Settings in the preferences). I hit backspace to delete the original from both iTunes and iCloud (after making a permanent backup in a safe place of course!!).
When the iCloud Status on the converted file changes to "Removed" I right click and add it back into the cloud.
If the result is Match, I delete the file from iTunes and redownload it from the cloud. If the result is Uploaded, I delete it from both iTunes and the cloud, and I restore the original file. The converted file is junk so it needs to be disposed of either way.
Some files need extra nudging (convert to AIFF or Apple Lossless and try again), and some files just don't work at all. I had several files in an Error state that wouldn't match, convert or upload, and after wasting a half-hour looking for the original cd I just used an outside program to convert them to wav files, and what-do-you-know, I got matches. I would say that my match rate with convert-and-retry is over 90%.