So Much Music — iTunes Match & Life In The Cloud

by Randy Murray on November 21, 2011

I’m completely giddy over iTunes Match.

I love music. As soon as iTunes was first released in January of 2001 I started ripping all of my CDs into an online collection. I also borrowed CDs from friends, libraries, and anywhere I could get my hands on them. Both of my daughters are musicians and music lovers, the older is a professional jazz bassist. And over the years we’ve put together a pretty big music library. If you started listening to Take On Me by A-Ha and listened straight through to ZZ Tops My Head’s in Mississippi working your way through rock, pop, classical, opera, jazz, blue grass, blues, world music, ambient, and dozens of other types of music, you’d spend fifty six and a half days.

I call that a good start.

Recently I’ve purchased music from the iTunes Music Store, Amazon, and sometimes, but rarely, on physical CDs. And I’ve been in a constant state of worry about losing the whole damn thing. I do backups, but you can never be too paranoid about that. You’ll lose something, eventually. As my library creeps toward 200 gigabytes it becomes increasingly difficult to back it all up, especially to maintain multiple, separate backups.

I’m breathing a bit easier today. I’ve paid Apple $25 and let iTunes Match do its magic. It scanned my music library and did two amazing things. It recognized nearly 14,000 songs/tracks already in the iTunes Store AND it uploaded virtually everything it didn’t match to Apple’s iCloud. I can now access my library on my iPhone or iPad, and so can the other members of my family, and we can do it anywhere. My music is safely backed up. All for just $25 per year.

Here’s the thing that tickled me most: of the tunes that iTunes matched on my machine, I was able to identify over 13,000 that Apple had higher quality versions of (higher bit rate, better format, etc.). I’ve updated my library with these files.

All for $25 per year. The music is mine. I own it. It’s safe on my hard drive (and I back that up separately). There’s no DRM.


There is a downside, but it’s the same one as always: it still takes too damn long to download files and if I want to download songs or albums on my iOS device away from home, I either need to be on a wifi network or burn precious and expensive cellular data. Pay attention to that, and everything else is copacetic.

My dream? Access to every commercially recorded and released album and song since Edison began selling them in 1889. Yes, there’s lot of bad, obscure, and weird stuff. But think of it. EVERYTHING accessible with just a click. I’m not talking about free — just cheap, easy to find, and one click away from being a part of my library at home and in the cloud.

The So Much Music — iTunes Match & Life In The Cloud by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John Gray November 23, 2011 at 6:37 am

How were you able to identify which tunes Apple had higher quality versions of and what steps did you take to update your library?

Thanks for the work you do here. I am a recent subscriber and am really enjoying your writing.


Randy Murray November 23, 2011 at 7:39 am

Try this Smart Playlist tip from Jason Snell at Macworld Magazine: How To Upgrade To iTunes Match Fast


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