Last week Macworld marked the first birthday of iTunes Match with a review of how it is has fared. It’s worth a read because, whilst the service has a number of strengths, there are several areas that it falls down on. I signed up to iTunes Match myself when it launched in the UK earlier this year, and I broadly agree with the points made.
iTunes Match is a service which offers several features:
- An online backup of your entire music library, that can be easily restored using iTunes on your desktop computer
- Synchronisation of your music library between multiple computers and Apple devices
- Being able to access all of your music on an iOS device via the internet, even if it doesn’t have enough storage to hold your entire library
- Storage of all the music you have purchased from the iTunes Store
- The ability to replace your existing music files with high-quality AAC versions
At least, that’s what it aims to do, but as Macworld states it can be a bit flaky at times, and was down completely earlier this week. There’s also a long-standing bug which means that when iTunes Match is enabled on an iOS device, playing songs does not update smart playlists (like the Recently Played playlist), which causes problems with apps like Melo which send data to last.fm. And replacing your music files with high quality versions is not exactly intuitive, as I found out a few months back.
The other big problem with iTunes Match is the 25,000 song limit. I’m nowhere near hitting this but it will put some people off, and there’s no ‘premium tier’ that you can buy for extra storage.
But on the whole I feel iTunes Match is worthwhile; the synchronisation feature are really useful, and I’m happy to pay for an off-site backup of my music that I can access easily. My music is also backed up using Time Machine, and to my iPhone, but having yet another copy gives me peace of mind.
Still, there’s room for improvement. Apple has always had teething problems with its cloud services and sadly iTunes Match isn’t the exception.