I like some of the points you've made and your willingness to look at all this from a different direction. I think if Apple had just done what you said in your well worded last paragraph this forum thread would have a very different tone...a better one. Still, I can't wait for iOS 6.1. :-)
I am still not sure exactly what is happening when the user does "just play it" as you state. I conjectured in an earlier post that when you do this you actually are downloading your song to a "streaming cache" and not downloading it in the "normal" sense. For example, I have only two songs from the album Black in Black by AC/DC. When I go into view by "Artist" and select AC/DC I get a screen that shows those two songs. Same thing happens when I view by "Album" and select "Back in Black." I get that same screen listing those two songs.
Now, this is the interesting part. If I just play BOTH songs (the "entire" album as far as what I own) the Cloud icon with the downward arrow that is part of this screen does NOT go away. I have to click on the Cloud icon with the downward arrow to remove the Cloud icon. (Clicking that Cloud icon causes the downloading circles to appear next to each song in the album). That seems to indicate to me that there is a difference between "downloading" a song by playing it and downloading songs by hitting the Cloud icon.
Both methods use up memory. I checked "Usage" --> "Music" and the number of MB goes up in Music whether I play the song or hit the Cloud icon.
So, I wonder what the functional difference is between downloading by playing and downloading by hitting the Cloud icon. Does downloading by playing indeed send the music to a streaming cache and downloading by hitting the Cloud icon send the music to a different area in the iPhone's memory? And if so, does that matter? If it matters, how?
So many questions. So few answers.
Here is some of my own conjecture: Perhaps the difference is not how the music resides on your device, but instead how iOS handles that music. For example, perhaps music that is on your device from just playing it is eligible for automatic removal, but music you manually downloaded is not automatically removed. Another possibility is that it all can be automatically removed, but that music manually downloaded has a higher priority. Again, all conjecture. Or wishful thinking
At some point (maybe Thursday) I plan to try and fill my iPhone with music, and start experimenting. I'll likely wait until I am back in the office, where I don't have to worry about bandwidth caps. My iTunes Match account is larger than my iPhone capacity, so I plan to just try and fill my iPhone and see what happens. Then I can test this supposed automatic song removal feature the manual claims.
Good Morning Joel S!
Last night, after writing my response to your thoughtful post, I went to bed...exhausted from a day of multi-tasking on my job responsibilities and Apple's iTunes Match. If I was not so tired, I was going to edit my post and...believe it or not...propose much of what you said in your response. As you so clearly state, perhaps downloading by simply playing the song, and downloading by clicking on the Cloud icon does prioritize the songs in the manner you speak. It could be it does that by storing them in different areas in memory, or it could be that it performs that function independent of memory location (as you state).
I certainly am not mentioning this to try to grab any partial credit for what you said. I just thought...well...it can be pretty cool to know that someone, somewhere is thinking about the same things you are. My friends and colleagues are not nearly as interested in these matters as I am.
I would LOVE to be able to sit down with one of the chief engineers involved in the iTunes Match project and ask him/her to explain what exactly is going on and why. You know THEY know. We all understand Apple is enamoured of the mantra "It just works." And maybe that is what motivated these changes to iTunes Match. But, it seems like the mission was not a total success.
So, we are left to experiment on our own. Which, by the way, reminds me, I can't wait to read about the results of YOUR experiment.
I enjoy your posts and the way you think,
What you are describing is not unique to iOS6, and is simply what happens when the Music app tries to play a song that it is unable to. This can be for various reasons: iTunes Match servers are having problems, your phone's internet connection is having problems, etc. If your goal is to download songs and then only play them, download the tracks and then go to Settings -> Music and uncheck 'Show All Music'.
I still see all the songs, and when I click on something on the cloud it clicks forward and forward automatically in the 'now playing' screen until it lands on something that is downloaded. have tried turning on/off etc and still can't isolate it to only downloaded songs.. hmmm
I totally understand what you're saying. I've got a few thoughts on this, with the qualification that I have not yet done my 'testing' yet (as mentioned in previous post).
Thought #1: Someone who does not have iTunes Match (iM) has to manually manage their music. This may be seen by some as a hassle. Apple may view that as such, and may see iM as a way to not have to worry about managing music at all. You want to listen to something, you just hit play. You know you are going to want to listen to a specific artist/playlist/album and will be offline, download. No longer do you need to worry about making space. iM will handle it all for you. We'll see if it actually works that way. But if it does, I think many people will really like that!
Thought #2: You can have only one album right now in iOS6 if you want. Download the the album via iM, then go to Settings -> Music and uncheck "Show All Music". If you want to have a different album, delete that downloaded album from your device (which can be done), recheck "Show All Music", download, then uncheck again. It may seem like a lot of steps when reading it, but it really isn't. And still easier than having to deal with connecting to a PC/Mac+iTunes.
Thought#3: #1 and #2 directly address your concerns. But I do want to add that yes, iM does have limitations that those using PC/Mac+iTunes do not have. In iM, Smart Playlists are much more limited. We still have issues with explicit songs being replaced with clean, and the way iM handles Artwork makes me nuts. There is absolutely a 'give and take' when using iM. This is absolutely something that needs to be considered when subscribing to it. I believe Apple does itself a disservice by not providing clearer documentation on how iM works, what it can do and more importantly what it can not do.
This actually could be kind of cool. Perhaps we no longer will even need to worry about deleting music. Whether you are just listening to music, which may stream but is ultimately a download, or manually download songs, it would actually be awesome if iOS handled music almost like it handles memory management, where you just don't have to worry about it.
It *could* be cool, but only if it were an option that users could toggle, i.e. 'Automatically manage music on/off'. Otherwise, the control to only ever have one album in my Music app at a time (if that's what I want to do) is taken away from me as an iTunes Match subscriber, whereas non-subscribers are free to do that via the normal sync method.
As a paid extra, iTunes Match should allow you to do everything normal users can do and more -- not less.
I also saw this behaviour on Monday when using iTunes Match for the first time properly. On Sunday night, I'd set my iPhone to work downloading all tracks on my 'Unrated' playlist; iTunes Match actually decided to ignore the Smart Playlist criteria and placed my entire library into this Smart Playlist - but the lack of play count/last play updating and correct processing of Smart Playlists are other issues entirely. The behaviour you're referring to is far, far more troubling than those glitches.
I spent Monday at work with the Music app crashing every time I tried to open it with iTunes Match switched on, and wondering why the battery was seemingly drawing very little charge despite being plugged in all afternoon. I eventually realised that it was trying to pull down every track in my library from iCloud, in spite of the settings which should have prohibited it from doing so. No amount of turning the phone off/on, turning Match off/on, turning mobile data off/on would cancel the active transfers.
I eventually settled for a factory reset of the iPhone - I'm on an 'all you can eat' data policy for my mobile, and I'm pretty sure my home broadband is only subject to a 'fair use' policy in terms of usage, but for anyone who's got a limited data allowance, the inability to stop your iPhone from drawing down songs from iCloud even when all of your settings forbid it is a huge mistake which Apple needs to get resolved.
My perception of Apple and their 'it just works' ethos has been seriously dented by the whole shoddy iTunes Match service. It's not fit for public release in nearly every way.
I'll certainly not be renewing my iTunes Match subscription if it is left in its current state. It was fabulous pre-iOS6 and now it just feels like it's been hobbled. We don't all live in huge cities with amazing internet connections where we can stream our music. Some of us have to grab wi-fi opportunities when we can and the ability to choose individual tracks is very important. Why remove the flexibility?
I can't help but feel that iOS6 was rushed to meet the iPhone 5 launch. The new Podcasts app is awful, iTunes Match is inferior to its old incarnation and we all know about the Maps. Hope these things are sorted soon.
To download individual songs, simply create a playlist, add all the songs you want to download, and tap the cloud button below. Alternatively, go into the album of the song you want to download, tap the cloud button above, and stop all songs other than the one you want to download from downloading. To delete individual songs, go to Settings/Music, turn off 'iTunes Match,' go into the Music app, go to 'Songs,' and delete manually from there. It will list all your downloaded songs. If you turn off 'Show All Music,' it will list downloaded AND cached songs.
This and this. I was going to post this the other day. The nice thing with match is now if you sign out, sign into a different account, turn off iTunes Match it no longer deletes your music, which was so incredibly frustrating before. I'd just randomly lose songs and not figure out why.
But while there are still some flaws, you can turn match on and off now to manage your collection, delete music and such. No it's far, far, far from perfect, but this workaround actually gives some flexibility to managing things without apple automagically deleting the music on our devices. Which, ****, was frustrating.
Right, I did an experiment. With iTunes Match turned on, I created a playlist, added 4 songs and tapped the cloud button to download them all. I turned Match off, and naturally all my playlists disappeared, but the downloaded songs remained. I created a playlist with Match off, giving it a different name and using the same 4 songs, and when turned back on, that also disappeared, but the playlist I originally created when Match was on, was there again. I turned Airplane Mode on and all my music disappeared once again, except the downloaded songs. Only this time, the playlists remained, but if one featured a song other than the ones downloaded, it would be empty. I played the original playlist I created and all tracks played fine. I then turned Match off again to see if the playlist I created with it turned off was also saved. Unfortunately it had been deleted. So playlists created when Match is off are automatically deleted when turned on. But any playlists created with Match turned on are saved on the cloud, and can be played with no data connection, providing you've downloaded the featured songs.