iTunes Match is Not There Yet

I signed up for iTunes Match on the day it became available and continue to use it happily. It solved a problem for me. It allowed my music collection to be available to me at any time and in any place with an internet connection, which today, with an iPhone, is just about anywhere.

When I am driving with my daughter and she says she wants to here something specific, I no longer have to tell her that she needs to remind me later to put it on the phone. Which in retrospect seems so old and outdated. “Sorry honey, we have to load that song onto the phone.” “What does that mean, daddy?”

But as great as it is, there are a few kinks that still need to be worked out. They are mostly little OCD type things that just bother me as iTunes Match as a whole works pretty well, but that doesn’t mean these things don’t need to be fixed.

Album Doubling

I don’t know why this is happening, but it manifests itself in a couple different ways. I will have an album in iTunes on the computer; one album, ten songs. On the iPhone, for a few select albums, this shows itself as two albums with five songs each. Occasionally, I will get two albums with all of the songs in each one. Or two separate albums, with a mismatch of songs in each one, sometimes duplicating songs. And as I said, it looks perfectly organized on the computer.

Explicit Songs

This is pretty well documented at this point, but iTunes doesn’t properly note that you may own the explicit version of a song and will give you the clean version.

Device Won’t Update with Current Content

On more than one occasion, my iPhone just would not reflect any of the changes I had made in iTunes, even after I shut down and restarted the phone. In these times, the only thing that works is to turn off iTunes Match and restart it, which can take 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

Running Out of Space on the iPhone

Part of the reason iTunes Match is so great, is that because you don’t have to keep your library locally, you can have access to your library even if it has outgrown the storage on your device. Well, the downside of this apparently is near daily iPhone alerts that I am currently out of disk space. iTunes does not seem to be managing the saving of files in the background properly, not discarding them when space is at a premium.

Losing Songs

Yes, I have lost music. I can get it back by reloading it onto the computer, but after my first go-round with iTunes Match, I had a number of songs and albums, now greyed out and ‘waiting’. Well, who knows what they are are waiting for, but weeks later, they are still waiting, they are not in iCloud, and they can no longer be played on the computer. So for all intents iTunes Match just ate them. And they are gone.

That is all that I have to say right now. I will update this with problems and solutions as I find them. iTunes Match at this point is a great idea with ok execution. I expect it to improve over time as most online services do, but if you are trying it for the first time, be ready for the occasional issue.