Quick Review and Notes about Apple’s iTunes Match

So iTunes Match seems to be one of those hate it or love it services offered by Apple. We’ve previously posted about the release of iTunes Match which describes the core features of the iTunes add-on. I recently purchased the Match service for my own iTunes library, which I am generally satisfied with. However, there are some things that you may want to consider before purchasing this service for yourself. Here are some quick notes about iTunes Match.

ITunes Match

Apple’s iTunes Match page is of course a must visit page to learn more about iTunes Match prior to purchasing the service. Even so, there are a few fine details about how the Match service works, that Apple doesn’t as cleanly define as many people may want. Take note of the following before buying iTunes Match.

– iTunes Match replaces the existing music library on your iDevices (iPhone, iPad) with your matched library. This changes the way the Music app works on your iPhone or iPad slightly.  You are likely used to pairing your iDevice with iTunes and adding music files and playlists that way.

With Match, the Music on your iDevice becomes almost entirely cloud based. Thus,  you no longer pair with your Mac or PC in order to add songs. Whatever music that you have in iTunes on your computer, is available on your iDevices with iTunes Match enabled.

– iTunes Match uses up storage, quickly. It should not be considered a streaming service, although it does have streaming music capabilities. Instead, it directly downloads the songs that you want to listen to on your iDevice from your iTunes library in the cloud. So, as mentioned in the above paragraph, Match populates your iDevices with a replica library to that of iTunes on your computer. However, when you tap to play a song on your iDevice, it then downloads to your device, which ultimately takes up storage. If you have 15,000 songs in your iTunes library on your computer and have a 16GB iPhone, the iPhone obviously cannot hold all of these songs.

– iTunes Match is not seamless nor extremely fast. When you click to play a song from your iDevice, the time it takes to retrieve the song from the cloud and actually initiate it and start playing the song is delayed. However, the latest iDevices are not yet compatible with the fastest wireless networks (4G). This likely effects the speed. On Wi-Fi, iTunes Match works significantly faster. Mainly, if you are on the go or in your car and you click a song, don’t expect it to instantly start playing, unless it is already downloaded to your device. There is a delay that makes this service seem worse than it actually is.

– The service is currently for music only. In the future, Apple will likely grow iCloud to offer video and maybe even game streaming services, but for right now, it’s exclusively for your music collection.

– There are some complications and this service is not as refined as it should be yet. For example, when I enabled iTunes Match on my iPhone, it was able to queue my entire iTunes library on my Mac. However, album artwork and other slight details only show up for songs that have been played, or downloaded to the phone for playback. This will be slightly annoying for anyone who has a ton of songs in their iTunes library.

Those are just a few notes that I’ve found about the iTunes Match service. For $24.99 a year or approximately $2.00 USD a month I am not disappointed. However, I am not impressed either. With a bit more attention to detail and some more refinements, iTunes Match could be a much better service than it currently is.

Thank you for stopping by the site for today’s post. I hope that these general notes regarding the Apple iTunes Match service can be of assistance for anyone who is trying to decide whether or not to purchase it.

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