Out of Beta, and Into Release
Ever since I wrote my post, “iTunes Match-Making,” many people have contacted me through comments, tweets, and email asking questions on how iTunes Match works and how to operate it. Now that the service is out of beta, I’ve compiled some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a few how-to solutions to get the best out of your iTunes Match subscription.
In this first part, I will answer the questions I get asked the most from people who are thinking about joining iTunes Match. Trust me: if you have a large music collection and use iTunes as your main music player/library, iTunes Match is worth having.
Before Matching Your Music
How do I upgrade my low-quality music to high-quality iTunes Match files?
If your music is successfully matched after signup, then it’s very simple:
1. Match your music. Make sure the status for the tracks you are looking to upgrade say: “Matched.”
2. Delete the tracks you want to upgrade. Remember to leave the option “Also delete this item from iCloud” unchecked.
3. After the tracks have been deleted the tracks, you will see that they are still in your library. However, you should now have “Download from iCloud” icons next to the tracks.
4. Download the tracks from iCloud.
5. Right-click the files and select, “Get info.” You should see the track identified as a “Matched AAC audio file,” with a 256 kbps bit rate and your iTunes information.
It’s definitely worth upgrading all your low-quality music once you subscribe. Listening to The Protomen in anything less than 256 kbps is a crime.
Are there restrictions or DRM to the iTunes Match files?
Not at all! Once you download Matched AAC versions of your music, it’s no different than if you purchased the track through iTunes. Even if your iTunes Match subscription runs out, any matched track that you downloaded will be yours to keep forever.
Keep in mind, if your iTunes Match subscription ends and you did not download matched versions of your tracks, they will no longer be available in your iTunes library, and you will need to re-subscribe and re-match your library in order to get them. Of course, a paid subscription is good for a whole year, so you have plenty of time to match your low-quality audio tracks before then.
Can I check matching results before I purchase iTunes Match?
Unfortunately, no. You must buy an iTunes Match subscription before you can do anything with the service. However, it is only $24.99 for a whole year as a one-time fee. So, it’s really not a bad deal!
Does iTunes Match do streaming music?
Yes, if you run iTunes from a desktop computer. Any track that has been matched or uploaded to your iCloud account can be streamed through the iTunes application. On an iOS device, you can only download tracks to your device and cannot stream.
Any Other Questions?
If you had a question that I didn’t cover here, feel free to either send it to me or leave a comment about it. I will update this post with an answer.
Stay tuned for the second part of this blogging mini-series: Getting Started with iTunes Match!