iTunes Match tips

By Richard Mallion

Here are some great tips gathered from various sources to help you get to grips with iTunes Match

1. There are new “iCloud Status” and “iCloud Download” information columns in iTunes. If you right-click on the iTunes column header you can turn them on to see what iCloud thinks of your music. Statuses include:

  • Purchased: You bought this track from the iTunes Store, and regardless of the original format if you (re)download it you’ll get a 256 kbps AAC file.
  • Matched: This track was matched to a song in Apple’s database, and regardless of the original format if you (re)download it you’ll get a 256 kbps AAC file.
  • Uploaded: This track wasn’t matched to anything Apple knows about, but a copy of what you had was uploaded to iCloud for you.
  • Waiting: It’s in your library (or one of your libraries) and is awaiting processing.
  • Not Eligible: Songs that are larger than 200 MB or have a bitrate less than 96 Kbps, or things that aren’t songs (PDFs, etc.).
  • Duplicate: You have two of these in your library. By the way, this isn’t the stupid “find duplicates” that’s been in iTunes forever, this is a real duplicate finder.
  • Error: The song is corrupt or there was a problem uploading it.
  • Removed: You removed this song from iCloud, usually from a device or another computer, but it’s still in your library. You can re-add it to iCloud by right-clicking on it and “Add to iCloud…”

You can sort your music & build playlists based on some of these statuses (purchased, matched, uploaded, not eligible).

2. If you have music that has a status of “ineligible” or “error” try right-clicking it and pick “Create an MP3 version…” You’ll end up with a duplicate, but in all of my cases that duplicate was accepted by iCloud for upload and/or matching.

People have noticed that a number of VBR CD rips have tracks that run afoul of the “ineligible” criteria (low bit rate), and creating a new version seems to fix the problem (Try having import settings set to generate 320 kbps MP3s).

For the “errors” its has been found that just selecting them, then re-adding them to iCloud often solves that problem. In most cases it takes a little while for the status to update. Give it time. I think a lot of this is due to Apple’s servers being slammed.

3. iTunes Match also syncs your playlists & play/skip counts, which is nice. You can choose to download just a playlist at a time if you want.

4. If you want to upgrade to 256 kbps AAC files make sure the status is “purchased” or “matched” and delete the file locally, but not from iCloud (make sure the box is unchecked). Then, if you have iTunes set to “show music not on this computer” it’ll immediately show you an entry with a cloud download button. Press that and you have the upgraded file, complete with your preserved play & skip counts. You can also multi-select and select Download from the right-click menu.

5. Downloading a matched song doesn’t fix the tags on it. So if you are unhappy with the Gracenote CDDB information that was assigned to your music when you ripped it from CD you’ll still have to fix it yourself.

6. iTunes Match is a multiple-master database, meaning that all the copies of iTunes logged in as the same Apple ID can upload, match, and alter the iCloud view of your music library. In my case that means that I can run Match against my laptop iTunes library, my home desktop iTunes library, and my work desktop iTunes library to make sure I have a copy of what’s in all of them. It also maintains a lock so only one copy of iTunes can be matching at any given time. This also seems to affect my devices’ ability to sync, too.


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