iTunes match what a great idea, all my music in the cloud for less than the price of a meal in a fairly decent restuarant each year, no more having to fiddle with external harddrives that break down...Well that's what I thought, until I started using it 5 months ago...
My CD collection I painstaking transferred onto external hard drive in WAV format as I didn't like the alternatives, 1 TB, around 23000 tunes, 1000 cds
iTunes doesnt do a great job with album art, I've tried to have it automatically update my artwork, but it doesn't have most of my CDs and seems to randomly "lose" artwork for reasons best beknown to itself. So conclusion I reached is manage my own archive of Album art which I downloaded from allcdcovers, discogs and google images.
My first problem with iTunes match was how long it took to work with my 23000 WAV files. I eventually went through the labourious task of converting all my WAV files to Apple Lossless as this seemed a good alternative, the space taken up now reduced to around 50%.
iTunes match goes through a three step process 1. Gathering, 2 Matching and 3 Uploading ... Step 1, not really any problems here
Step 2, first part of this the matching fair enough I have 13583 track matched out of my 23000. Second part of this is to try to match unmatched songs, well this takes a lot of CPU and time depending on the number of tracks, we're talking hours here, on a slow machine longer. This process is repeated again from the start every time you restart (or itunes crashes or itunes decides that you don't have internet connection or itunes decides it's going to give up on retries)
Over the last 5 months through sheer persistence I've managed to upload some 6121 songs of today. Obvious tracks that are already matched or uploaded are taken off the total that itunes "must" rescan each time to check just in case I presume that Apple have added "Pete Tong's Essential Selection Winter 1997" to their shop.
The biggest problem is that iTunes crashes on Step 3, the uploading, randomly maybe I get 3 songs uploaded in one session, maybe 13, maybe 30 but it will crash usually sooner rather than later. Then I have to respond to a message telling me itunes has crashed and manually restart itunes, check that it's working on itunes match. This happens quite a few times every day, and obviously when I am away from my computer or asleep I can't restart it.
So I have to wait around 2 hours for itunes to try to match the songs which it's already tried for the 300th time. Then I get a few songs uploaded before iTunes crashes again and have to repeat the whole process, again and again and again. By my estimates it will probably be a year of sitting at my computer, plus all the power consumed, what a waste of time and energy for as far as I can see badly designed and written software.
I posted some feedback to Apple because I kept on getting network timeouts, since then this seems to have improved, so I am getting maybe 100 songs a day when I sit at the computer all day, as opposed to 15.
The two main problems are PROBLEM 1 - the re-checking of already checked songs, why re-check 4000 songs that were checked only maximum 2 hours ago, no point. That process only needs to be done once, OK, we've checked these 4000 songs, now we need to upload them as iTunes store doesnt hold. If someone really concerned about storage space, they could be rechecked at the end of the whole process and uploaded songs found to be matched could be removed from icloud.
PROBLEM 2 - the crashing of itunes/itunes match on Windows platform when uploading, why, I have tried Vista laptop same problem, I have tried the other laptop Windows 7 32 bit, same problem and my desktop Windows 7 x64 same problem.
These problems have meant that my time, effort and money has to be consistently thrown at this problem, which should have been an enhancement in my life but actually it's having an expensive negative impact.
Of growing concern is the 184 tracks that I now dont have an itunes cloud status for, and doesnt appear to be anyway to change this. The right click menu doesnt give any clues. Anyway, I'm not worrying about that until the remaining 3000 or so tracks have been uploaded.
PROBLEM 1 solution, already outlined, don't recheck already checked songs, not at least until the match process has concluded all steps.
PROBLEM 2 solution, Apple developers fix the bug.
Supplimental, enhance network handling, for instance the network timeout error I just had, I don't really need a dialogue box that I have to repsond to, just wait a few minutes try again. If you have to give me a box, then give me an option to manage the timeout settings and how many retries.
Easy you'd think ? Evidently not easy for Apple...
My advice to anyone with a large CD collection who cares about their music and is considering iTunes/iTunes match starting from scratch is consider the alternatives very carefully to commiting. If you have the money, also consider repurchasing your music collection in the itunes store and giving the CDs to charity.
If you must use iTunes/iTunes match, then
1. Carefully consider using 256kb aac files as opposed to lossless or WAV, this will speed up the process as no conversion neccessary for match, and may possibly avoid the crashing problem.
2. Switch on Match as early as possible in the transferring your CDs as possible, do not transfer all your CDs then switch on match this will waste a lot of time and money in wasted electricity. By switching on match early, that way you'll be uploading at the same time as transferring.
2. Don't bother with itunes for artwork, download it and manage it yourself.
A very very frustrated iTunes match user.