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Ask the iTunes Guy: Fixing iTunes Match's quirks

Kirk McElhearn | May 25, 2015
I don't know how many people use iTunes Match, but I get a fair number of questions about this subscription service. This week, I answer three questions about iTunes Match. I also explain how to add detailed artist information to tags in iTunes, and discuss that Purchased playlist that shows up every time you buy something from the iTunes Store.

I don't know how many people use iTunes Match, but I get a fair number of questions about this subscription service. This week, I answer three questions about iTunes Match. I also explain how to add detailed artist information to tags in iTunes, and discuss that Purchased playlist that shows up every time you buy something from the iTunes Store.

Can't match, won't match

Q: My music library is a combination of purchased music and CD rips. I recently subscribed to iTunes Match. After the matching process was complete I noticed that quite a few of the songs I had ripped showed their iCloud status as "Uploaded" instead of "Matched." In many cases, I had songs within the same album that were matched while others were uploaded. One example is the Beatles' White Album: of the 30 songs, six were uploaded while the remaining songs were matched. Do you know of any workaround where I can achieve match status without re-ripping or purchasing albums on iTunes?

Also, what type of quality should I expect from iTunes Match? I ask because some of the matched music is listed at 256 kbps (VBR) while other matched music is at 160 kbps or 128 kbps. I would think that all matched music would be at the 256 kbps (VBR) assuming that's the highest quality currently offered by Apple.

Two questions in one here. First, iTunes Match is notorious for not matching all tracks on many albums. Your White Album is a good example: six of 30 tracks don't match. I generally find that, when an album doesn't match, about two out of 10 tracks get uploaded. I have some where half the tracks don't match, but it's more often just two or three.

This said, I added my White Album to my iTunes Match library, and all the tracks matched. This could be because my version is a CD rip from the most recently remastered version of the Beatles' albums, from this 2009 box set. If yours is an older version, it may not match correctly; if it's the same version, I'd suggest removing it from your library, and then re-adding it to see if more tracks match. I was even able to get "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," from the Beatles' Abbey Road album, to match, which did not work for most people when iTunes Match was first released.

As for quality, matched tracks are 256 kbps AAC, and uploaded files are whatever bit rate and format you have in your library. (Though if they are Apple Lossless, AIFF, or WAV files, they're converted to 256 kbps AAC.) If you see some tracks that are matched and that show 160 or 128 kbps, that's because you still have the original files in your iTunes library. Delete them, and download the matched versions from the cloud.

 

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