iTunes, Apple, Music, Matching, … Ugh. Whaaaa?

08 Sep

itunesmatchaaMy family and I just moved into a new house last month and we are trying to get some organization in our lives.

This has involved making some pretty stark choices about what to keep (i opted for my guitar, which I am now trying to learn to play) and what must go (my baby grand Piano had to find a new home or it would essentially be the only thing that fit in our whole downstairs).

One thing that historically takes up a lot of physical space, but doesn’t need to anymore, is media: tapes, CDs, DVDs, albums …. 8 tracks(?). The only thing is… if I transfer everything I have to digital, how can I keep track of it?

There are a lot of solutions out there, but which is the right one? What if I pick the wrong company to keep all my data and they go away? or change their pricing? or I forget my password?

Really, the only solution I’m seriously considering is Apple’s iTunes Match. This is one of Apple’s many forays into music services that is based on keeping all of your music ‘in the cloud’ and available for download or streaming at any time. One thing that’s required, then, is good internet. We have Time Warner Cable, which was the only high speed choice available to us and has been modestly dependable.

Don’t get me wrong – we pay for 300 MB/s downloads and have never seen better than 70MB/s (currently, I just tested us at 14MB/s) – so dependable is relative. But that’s not what I want to get at.

Instead, I wanted to say that I am just starting to use the Matching program and want to report now and again on how it goes.

My first day experience is that it does take some time to get up and running because it scans through your whole iTunes music library to see what you have, but I think that this hurdle has been put behind us now.

Some notes on the limitations of service:

  1. It will only match 25000 songs (excluding those purchased through iTunes). I’m not sure whether this will be a problem or not. So far, my current library has a bit over 3000 songs, but I still have a lot of music to load / consolidate.
  2. Only ten devices can sync to one account. That sounds like a lot, but since I have a MacBook, iPad, and iPhone – that’s three right there. My son has an iPad and my wife has a MacBook, iPhone, and iPad too, so we are up to seven total. If our family was larger, the ten device limit might feel limiting quickly.
  3. A lot of the service is based on Streaming of content, which can chew up a lot of data if you’re using a cellular network often.

Another issue I am having is that I have a bunch of iTunes libraries backed up from different devices over the years and putting all of these together efficiently and without duplication has always been a chore.

And, finally, there is simple confusion: iTunes Music Match IS NOT Apple Music IS NOT Ping, but it is (sort of) iCloud.

Apple Music is a completely different (but compatible) service. Where iTunes Match gives you DRM-free access to all of your music on any device either streaming of for download, Apple Music is not limited to your own purchased music, but is, instead, a streaming service that is DRM-limited and costs substantially more.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 2.25.12 AMI guess Ping – the service that Jobs introduced to us as the Twitter or facebook for music that is NOT twitter and is NOT facebook is … closed. Ironically, Wikipedia (the encyclopedia with a sense of humor) tells us that “Apple officially closed [Ping] on September 30, 2012, and replaced it with Facebook and Twitter integration in iTunes.”

Finally, iCloud is more about storage space than it is about any specific item that you do store there. It is where your music is stored – along with other data you want to park there.

I’ll post more as I either become frustrated with the service or feel the need to proselytize.

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Posted by on September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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