Why iTunes Match is an absolute dog of a product

If like me, iTunes is the centre of your digital music consumption, then you may have considered using the new iCloud based service called iTunes Match. What it does (for approx $25 US per year) is scan your iTunes library, matches it against the songs Apple has in its inventory, and then uploads any unmatched songs to iCloud. THe end result (theoretically) is that your entire music library is now in the cloud and can be access by any wi-fi iDevice.

Unfortunately for what seems like a significant number of people, the reality is a lot different. For me the deal-breaker is play counts. I’ve always set myself a little challenge each year to play each and every song in my iTunes library each calendar year. Therefore I have a smart list set up that includes any song not played since January 1st this year. Since setting up iTunes Match in late January I’ve seen that playlist constantly increase it’s play count. I have an iPad 2 as the only current device that uses iTunes Match to stream music (I did have my iPhone using at as well but gave up in disgust as you’ll see below)

An example from just yesterday (on my primary device i.e. the one from which all content was uploaded to iTunes):

Number of songs left in playlist prior to updating iTunes Match: 6994
Number of songs left in playlist after updating iTunes Match: 7029
Number of songs left in playlist the next morning after launching iTunes: 7175

There’s no obvious rhyme or reason to it and it drives me insane. Have a look at the scope of issues on Apple’s own discussion forums and you get the gist of a range of other issues with the service. Whether it’s play counts, upload issues, crashes or lost music, there’s a bunch of problems with this paid service. It certainly has promise – if it worked like it should, I’d probably be writing a gushing article on how great it is and awaiting the Apple fanboy accusations.

My advice right now is: avoid iTunes Match like the plague until some much-needed bug fixes are put into place.

Over to you: do you use iTunes Match and if so have you had issues or not?

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