12 Replies Latest reply: Sep 30, 2012 3:28 AM by Tandrew86
Joel S Level 2 Level 2 (185 points)

I'm rapidly approaching my renewal for iTunes Match. The last year has been interesting, getting used to all the trade-offs related to using iTunes Match, mainly around the limitations of Smart Playlists, the annoying things like explicit songs being replaced with clean versions, and even little things like how poorly artwork is handled. But I've powered through them, because I was getting enough of what I needed.


But I am wondering if I should continue to invest, not just money but time, in iTunes Match. The threads about it's implementation in iOS6 (I have not upgraded from 5.1.1 yet) really concern me. I feel as if Apple is giving very little attention to the 'well being' and future of iTunes Match. Almost none of the issues I mentioned above, which have existed since the beginning, have been resolved. And that is what concerns me the most. I don't want to get invested in something Apple doesn't really care about. We all know what happens to those things.


So I'd love to get people's opinion on this. Am I misinterpreting what I am seeing. Do you think iTunes Match is important to Apple, or not? Will any of the issues get fixed by Apple?

  • Joseph Delaney Level 3 Level 3 (615 points)

    1. No, you're not misinterpreting anything, though you are overstating just slightly. Some issues that were there in the beginning have in fact been resolved, others haven't, and there are some new issues that arrived with the iOS 6 update. Some of these will likely be addressed when the next version of iTunes arrives in a few weeks.

    2. We can only suppose that it's important to Apple. But you have to ask someone at Apple about that, this is a user-to-user support community, and no one here knows the answer.

    3. Probably, but that depends on the answer to #2. And you have to expect some new problems with a new OS update, those always get addressed fairly rapidly.


    Whether you stick with iTunes Match or not is a personal choice, and it depends on whether you feel it is more useful than bothersome.


    For myself, I find the bugs to be mostly minor irritations, I can happily ignore them. I think the utility of the service is definitely worth the $2.08 a month that I pay. Now I am experiencing a major problem with iOS 6 on my new iPhone - it worked OK at first, then I toggled iTunes match off and on again and most of my music failed to reappear. I'm not giving up yet, I'll try toggling things again on my end but I also expect Apple will fix this on the server side of things within a few days at most.


    And now that I've written that, I see that my music is back. I forced the Music app to exit, turned iTunes Match off, waited a minute, turned it back on, then waited about 5 minutes before starting up the Music app. And everything is back.


    But "smart" playlists are really broken under iOS 6, even more so than with iOS 5 - this is where I think the iTunes update will come in to play.

  • Joel S Level 2 Level 2 (185 points)

    Thanks for your comments. Regarding your second point, I do realize that, but I am just asking for people's opinion. I do believe iTunes Match had some sort of glitch yesterday, as both my Macs were having issues for a while, then everything just resolved itself.


    Regarding your last comment about smart playlists being even more problematic in iOS 6, can you elaborate? I have consciously held back on updating as a direct result of reading the threads in this and other forums.


    And I'm curious, if Apple were not to make any more changes to iTunes Match, and it would stay exactly as it is right now, with broken smart playlists, inability to delete individual songs, no cloud icons (etc etc from all the things I've read in threads), would you continue with it? Or is it the hope/expectation that Apple will fix these issues that keeps you using it?

  • Joseph Delaney Level 3 Level 3 (615 points)

    Given that I've had all of 3 days to use iOS 6, I can only elaborate a little bit. I haven't figured out all the details myself yet, and some of the timing is a little hazy - it may actually predate iOS 6.


    Specifically, I have one smart playlist that I purposely created to overcome some of the shortcomings of the smart playlist syncing under iOS 5. Since Match ignores whether songs are checked/unchecked, I essentially got tired of listening to random Christmas carols in February - so I used the genres, groupings, "kinds" etc to eliminate everything that I didn't want to listen to come up in a random shuffle (this included home recordings, garageband junk, odd audio recordings that weren't music, etc). It worked pretty well under iOS 5, though it never matched the exact number of tracks that iTunes showed. My aim was to eliminate certain tracks, and it did what I wanted.


    Now under iOS 6 it's essentially empty. I think it may show songs that are local on my iPhone, if they meet the criteria, but since my iPhone is currently empty (it's new, just got it yesterday) I can't be sure of  that. Some other smart playlists do show music, and I haven't determined what the criteria is that is causing this one to be empty.


    Also, I did notice about a week or two ago - this is where it gets hazy - that the playlist was acting oddly, and showed far fewer tracks than it normally did (usually shows several hundred, it was down to a few dozen at one point). So I messed with my sync settings and accidentally downloaded a billion tracks to my old phone, so it's been all messed up for a little while - but the point is that the problem may have actually started before iOS 6 came out - it may be due to a change on the Apple servers, and I just couldn't see it because all my music was now "local" on the old iphone.


    And I'm curious, if Apple were not to make any more changes to iTunes Match, and it would stay exactly as it is right now, with broken smart playlists, inability to delete individual songs, no cloud icons (etc etc from all the things I've read in threads), would you continue with it? Or is it the hope/expectation that Apple will fix these issues that keeps you using it?


    Yes, I would stick with it, for both reasons. I do expect Apple will fix it ( for this to  work correctly, iTunes, the servers, and the Music app all need to be playing by the same rules, I think we've got different sets of rules due to the staggered updates, and the October iTunes update will complete the process). And if it stayed exactly as it is, I would still stay with it because it essentially does what it claims to do - I can play my music from anywhere, without needing to sync all my files. OK, so now without my smart playlist I may have to cilck "next" when Jingle Bells starts playing, but worse things have happened to me in my lifetime. And it's only $2 a month, I can live with Jingle Bells.


    "No cloud icons?" - actually there are fewer cloud icons. Yes, I think that's a step backwards but still a minor issue - instead of individually tapping cloud icons, I now have to tap "new playlist," then individually tap the songs, and then cilck the  playlist cloud icon. Again, worse things have happened than needing the two extra clicks to achieve the same thing.


    And deleting songs. Don't get me started on that. I'll just say it's completely unnecessary, and mostly desired because of a fundamental misunderstanding of how "streaming" works.

  • Joseph Delaney Level 3 Level 3 (615 points)

    And it turns out that "kind contains audio" was the smart playlist element that stopped working, but it wasn't even needed since only audio files eligble for iTunes Match.


    So for me, iTunes Match is working again - maybe even better than before.

  • Joel S Level 2 Level 2 (185 points)

    Actually, you are incorrect on that last point. It makes me crazy that 'kind contains audio' or similar does not work with iTunes Match, because I can't seem to find a way to keep music videos out of my smart playlsits.

  • Joseph Delaney Level 3 Level 3 (615 points)

    Yup - you're right. That explains why I put that in the smart playlist to begin with.


    I think the problem is the "contains" - if I change it to "Kind is not Purchased MPEG-4 video file" the playlist still syncs, and that gets rid of most of the video files (the others are almost all "ineligible" - just a few "Protected MPEG-4 video files" left, I'll try excluding those next).


    Anyway - this is all the part that's dependent on iTunes, so I'm hoping that the October iTunes upgrade fixes a lot of this. And back to your original question -  this demonstrates that even though it doesn't work as easily as we would want it to, it does work. That's why I'm staying with it.

  • Unhappy match customer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    For me the answer is clearly no. I'm nearing the end of my year, and I've set the subscription to not renew.  While saving the upload time is nice, the whole match feature seems to be more of a benefit to Apple in terms of limiting bandwidth and storage space.  The fact that iTunes match mismatches some tracks (the Beatles mono albums and albums with both explicit and clean versions are well-documented examples) is totally unacceptable to me.  That iTunes can match all tracks in an album except for one is also unacceptable and has further eroded my confidence in the match feature.  Unless they add the ability to override a match and force an upload of a track, I'm out.  It would also be nice to be able to ask it to try really hard and do a more in-depth analysis to match a track that probably should match but hasn't.


    I fully understand that this may not be a big deal to a lot of people, but I want my music collection exactly as I have it (or at least matched correctly and consistently). With this and all of the unresolved issues with iTunes match, I also question their commitment to iTunes match.


    I guess we'll see if this rumored October update has some improvements.

  • greg06611 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I really liked iTunes Match in iOS 5 and had come to depend on it.


    iOS6 seems like a step backwards.


    1) I need the ability to download 1 song at a time. That used to be a one-click process. Now it's a muliti-step process.


    2) Smart playlist do not work right. I set up smart playlists to weed out a variety of factors and live update. in iOS 5 it worked fine, now it is completly broken. Smart playlists used to synch across iTunes and device and if I set a condition - like "dont play songs that have been played in the last 30 days" that no longer works.


    I was able to keep a fresh list of music that updated so I did not hear the same songs over and over. That ability is gone (or it's broken)


    3) iTunes Match has become a lot slower with more hanging and waiting for things to load.


    I am hoping the new iTunes brings fixes but I fear the problem is with iOS 6 and intentional feature downgrades by Apple.


    iTunes match on iTunes seem to work pretty good (aside from the occasional matching problem).


    Also, the 25,000 song limit is a real bummer. 25k is forcing me to make choices about what I keep on iTunes match. That is a hassle.

  • Joseph Delaney Level 3 Level 3 (615 points)

    Playlists based on dates are working for me - but there's definitely major glitchiness. It seems to take a lot longer for the play counts and date played to update, and it doesn't hit all devices simultaneously. I have an album that I purchased on Saturday and listened to on my Mac (that's 7 days ago), and it does reflect as "played" on my iPhone (likewise, songs I play on the iPhone are currently taking several days to show as "played" on my Mac). But an album that I bought and listened to on Tuesday doesn't. But both albums show as played on my computer at work - that's totally in sync with my home computer.


    I'm actually extremely pleased with the performance of iTunes Match on iOS 6. I have significantly less hanging and waiting - that's partly due to my upgrade from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 - but I'm still using the iPhone 4 too, and that has far fewer hangs than it did under iOS 5. Under iOS 5 I had to sometimes wait 30+ seconds before I could even tap a button, the whole music app was just frozen while the match data synced, even on wifi. And that has not happened once since I updated that phone to iOS 6.


    My music library is only half the limit, so I haven't run into the hassle you're dealing with. Of the three major options - iTunes Match, Google Play, and Amazon Cloud Player - I think only Amazon Cloud Player suits your needs (250,000 songs).

  • thesandman8203 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    If my experience is anything to go on, you should probably avoid match like the plague. Im using a 4th gen touch and I had match for about 2 weeks prior to the update and, small glitches aside, I was pretty happy with it. Youve probably read this but since the update, if you have match on, you cant delete songs. This is a huuuuge problem. I want to have my library easily accessible and easily altered, something pre-ios6 match let me have. Well instead of both, match now makes me pick one of the two. If i rely solely on match, I get a lot of buildup of songs I only wanted to hear once and the only way to remove stuff is to remove all songs put through match. For a few days, I was using the very frustrating but functional strategy of turning match on and off, uploading what i really wanted to have on my ipod and then treating the match songs like an on the fly, temporary playlist. When you switch match on your device for the first time it says 'enabling it will wipe the music on the hard drive' and it wasnt actually doing that...until yesterday. Until then, switching match on and off never actually altered the contents of the library. So, my one (annoying) workaround now deleted everything. I now couldnt use match in any satisfactory way. fan-*******-tastic. 


    The ideas enticing but the update has changed it from an awesome but flawed program, to a program with problems 8 year old me wouldve been baffled at.

    So in summation, if i use match, my ipod *****. 

    Match has a lot of potential and the problem and the fix seem so obvious its shaken my faith in the apple standard. Maybe hyperbolic, but an update which destroys functionality for a premium service?


    I hope this helps but my personal opinion of match changed from 'money very well spent' to 'i spent 25 bucks for functionally incompetent service'. I also apologize if this seems angsty but instead of going for a run im resyncing my ipod for the something like the 4th time since the update.

  • Joseph Delaney Level 3 Level 3 (615 points)

    Yeah - Apple definitely tried to straddle the divide between the people who want it to work like Pandora (no deleting necessary) and people who want it to work like a blend of cloud-sync and on-demand download. With the result that nobody is happy. iOS 6 moves closer to the Pandora model, though not fully.


    But then with the Pandora model, you're not supposed to worry about deleting files. That all happens transparently, in the background, out of site, and automatically. iOS 6 improves that silent deletion process - so if you think you need to delete files based on how iOS 5 behaved, you may be needlessly worrying about finding a workaround, and would be better off just letting it do its thing.

  • Tandrew86 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Personally I would cancel my iTunes Match subscription if a clean/explicit fix isn't in iTunes 11. Apple has been aware of this problem since February and the fact that a fix still has not been deployed expresses everything about how seriously Apple takes iTunes Match.