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iTunes Match music streaming removed from Apple's iOS 5 beta 7

post #1 of 29
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With this week's release of iOS 5 beta 7, Apple has completely removed the ability to temporarily cache iTunes Match songs via iCloud, forcing beta testers to instead download songs and save them on their iOS device.

Released to developers on Wednesday, the latest beta of iOS 5 contains tweaks to the iTunes Match service and iCloud. Previously, users could tap on a song they own through the iTunes Match service and it would begin playing instantly, with the file downloading and being saved in a temporary cache that would eventually be cleared.

But starting with this week's release of beta 7, anytime playback is initiated from iCloud, the song is downloaded and saved as a file in the local music library. The changes in iOS 5 were first noted by Insanely Great Mac.

Apple first opened up a trial of its $24.99-per-year iTunes Match service to developers on Monday. After a strong immediate response, Apple closed iTunes Match for new signups for the time being.

Testers immediately discovered that the service allowed for songs to be instantly downloaded and played, without permanently storing the song on the device. This was initially referred to as a streaming service, though in a public comment, Apple officially preferred to use a different definition.

"Apple's system, as it's currently constructed, still requires users to keep stuff on their machine in order to play it," the company said to All Things D in a statement.

Initially, many felt the difference between "true" streaming and Apple's offering was a matter of semantics, as iTunes Match and iOS 5 still allowed users to play their music without having the song stored on the device. Instead, tracks were downloaded and kept in a temporary cache that would eventually clear.



But now, selecting a song to play will download it to an iPhone or iPad, and keep the file saved locally as part of a user's music library. Users may still choose to delete the song after listening to it, and can once again download it from iTunes as part of their iTunes Match subscription.

Unlike competing Internet-based music services, which require users to upload their personal collection, iTunes Match will scan a user's library of songs, including those ripped from their own CDs, and match the files up with the library of 18 million songs available through the iTunes Music Store. The paid service is scheduled to launch this fall.
post #2 of 29
Aside from obvious price advantages of iTunes Match, it seems like the subscription services like Spotify and MOG will offer far better value. I'm a fan of just about everything Apple, but have not launched my iPod app on the iPhone since I downloaded MOG. Spotify is even cooler in the sense that it integrates my iTunes collection to some extent. Wireless syncing is there as well. Doesn't it feel like Apple is a few steps behind here, for once?
post #3 of 29
Yes, it does.

iTunes Match should have multiple plans:

$25 a year for what it does now.... I don't know why they removed the steaming capability.
$10 a month for what it does now PLUS what spotify does.
post #4 of 29
Since I rarely listen to a song in its entirety, that would slow down my switching tracks quickly. The RIAA raised a stink behind closed doors and Apple caved.
post #5 of 29
They haven't backtracked on anything, it was always a download service. Don't get disappointed because blogs reached premature conclusions based on the state of an unfinished implementation in beta (whilst breaking NDA's).
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Since I rarely listen to a song in its entirety, that would slow down my switching tracks quickly.

Wait, what?

Quote:
The RIAA raised a stink behind closed doors and Apple caved.

It's bleedingly evident that Apple doesn't cave to these fools.

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post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

Since I rarely listen to a song in its entirety, that would slow down my switching tracks quickly. The RIAA raised a stink behind closed doors and Apple caved.


That is probably true, apple is now in bed with them and has to play somewhat nice, these other service have yet to deal with the legal issue. The only thing going their way is the recent case where the courts held they you do not have to have two different license to hold content on your HDD or Cloud as end user. The music industry tried arguing that cloud storage required the cloud owner to have a license to allow consumers to back up their music to the cloud service.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaim2 View Post

They haven't backtracked on anything, it was always a download service. Don't get disappointed because blogs stated otherwise due to analysis of the state of unfinished implementation in beta (whilst breaking NDA's).

Exactly. The only people who have seen this functionality as it changes are developers who are supposed to be abiding by non-disclosure agreements. I guess the motto is "For $99/year you too can be a corporate spy."

Knowing that Apple doesn't necessarily preview all the functionality to developers, at least not until the last possible minute.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxie View Post

Aside from obvious price advantages of iTunes Match, it seems like the subscription services like Spotify and MOG will offer far better value. I'm a fan of just about everything Apple, but have not launched my iPod app on the iPhone since I downloaded MOG. Spotify is even cooler in the sense that it integrates my iTunes collection to some extent. Wireless syncing is there as well. Doesn't it feel like Apple is a few steps behind here, for once?

I agree. Mog has reduced my use of the iPod app quite a bit. I don't understand the advantage of having your music "everywhere" if I still have to download it to each device. Can you download whole playlists at once? It's no fun to recreate playlists, certainly not on the fly.

Meanwhile, Mog's streaming seems to buffer a LOT lately. More than when it it's mobile app first launched. Maybe Apple sees the inevitability of the wireless carriers not being able to support so many folks streaming music?

The buffering on Mog has gotten so bad I'm considering subscribing to Spotify and dropping the Mog subscription for a few months to see if it streams any better.

I love SoundCloud, but it's mobile app buffers so much it's unusable for me.

Maybe it's my lousy AT&T connection?
post #10 of 29
As long as it plays seamlessly, as soon as you press it, isn't the difference still just a semantic one? My only question would be, what happens when you finish playing song 2 in an undownloaded multi-song album -- does it immediately move on to song 3 and download/stream that too? Or do you have to explicitly select each song you want downloaded?
post #11 of 29
I'll have to watch Jobs talk up iTunes Match again. I know people say they never stated streaming, but I don't understand why one would pay $25/year for what appears to simply be cloud storage. And if it's not for streaming, then why limit it to just music? I'd rather keep my music local but have videos in iTunes Match that I could re-downloa to my iDevice as needed due to the way I engage in these different types of media.
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post #12 of 29
deleted.
post #13 of 29
People that want the iTunes streaming feature can simply wait until the inevitable jailbreak hack comes along.
post #14 of 29
Not deleted...
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post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'll have to watch Jobs talk up iTunes Match again. I know people say they never stated streaming, but I don't understand why one would pay $25/year for what appears to simply be cloud storage. And if it's not for streaming, then why limit it to just music? I'd rather keep my music local but have videos in iTunes Match that I could re-downloa to my iDevice as needed due to the way I engage in these different types of media.

Agreed though the real benifit of it is for the upgraded quality of tracks that were either ripped at a lower bit rate or obtained by legally murky methods
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

Agreed though the real benifit of it is for the upgraded quality of tracks that were either ripped at a lower bit rate or obtained by legally murky methods

I can see that as a side-effect benefit for those with a bunch of illegal tracks but obviously that's not the reason Apple created the service and why the music industry agreed to it. If they did then Apple really does have powerful negotiation voo-doo.
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post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'll have to watch Jobs talk up iTunes Match again. I know people say they never stated streaming, but I don't understand why one would pay $25/year for what appears to simply be cloud storage. And if it's not for streaming, then why limit it to just music? I'd rather keep my music local but have videos in iTunes Match that I could re-downloa to my iDevice as needed due to the way I engage in these different types of media.

I don't see why its so hard to understand.

1. Up to 25,000 songs matched with iTunes-quality files. That means all those assorted mp3's that everyone has, traded up for an iTunes copy.

2. All of your other iTunes music (personal recordings, unknown music, etc.) Also up on iCloud.

3. All of that music, available via your Music App, with one touch. That means no more music syncing, no more thinking about what to take with you at all. Its just there, given an internet connection. Downloads quick.

For $25 a year its the single greatest value Apple has ever offered anyone.
post #18 of 29
iTunes Match doesn't seem very Post-PC era in nature. Apple is expecting you to have a large library on your home computer which it scans to match it up with iCloud. Then you can play the songs on your other devices, but you still need a computer. If you only have an iPhone or an iPad and your music is already on it then iTunes match doesn't seem to serve any purpose.

Let's say you don't have a computer but do have an iPhone and an iPad and you have some songs on each but no overlap, I wonder if iTunes Match can scan multiple devices and therefore account for all of your music regardless of where you have it stored.

Bottom line is, even though you don't need a computer to activate or update your iOS 5 device, it is still a lot more practical to own a master computer to store your music library.

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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I don't see why its so hard to understand.

1. Up to 25,000 songs matched with iTunes-quality files. That means all those assorted mp3's that everyone has, traded up for an iTunes copy.

2. All of your other iTunes music (personal recordings, unknown music, etc.) Also up on iCloud.

3. All of that music, available via your Music App, with one touch. That means no more music syncing, no more thinking about what to take with you at all. Its just there, given an internet connection. Downloads quick.

For $25 a year its the single greatest value Apple has ever offered anyone.

I get all that, but why wouldn't I want to take my music with me? As I expressed I already take all my music with me and capacity will just continue to double every 2-3 years while song file size will trend upward much, much slower. It's video that is large and can't be stored on my mobile devices at all times.

And what happens after the first year when people that ripped or illegally copied music at less than 256kbps have re-downloaded better copies? Is Apple going to see a drop in interest in the service? Is Apple releasing an iPod Nano with 3G+GPS that will be able to make use of low capacity storage? Will users want to download a song one track at a time and without preserving any current playlist or meta-data they may have set up?

If you are using it as a backup, why not have your Mac backed up with Time Machine so that everything is saved? Why only your music to "the cloud" and why the circuitous, slow and limited system that is an internet based backup solution that only backs up your music?
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post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'll have to watch Jobs talk up iTunes Match again. I know people say they never stated streaming, but I don't understand why one would pay $25/year for what appears to simply be cloud storage. And if it's not for streaming, then why limit it to just music? I'd rather keep my music local but have videos in iTunes Match that I could re-downloa to my iDevice as needed due to the way I engage in these different types of media.


I would pay $25 a year for the simplicity to re-download my music at anytime. Sometimes my iPhone is pretty full with pics, movies, games, and other apps. The music has to sacrifice sometimes. I can't wait till movies and tv shows do the same. Besides, not having to worry anymore about keeping backups off all the gigs of music I have on my computer.....That's priceless to me. Hopefully everything else everyone is wanting will come down the road. If we support it by paying for it and letting Apple know what else we want, the labels may give in if enough money is thrown their way...Who knows??
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

As long as it plays seamlessly, as soon as you press it, isn't the difference still just a semantic one? My only question would be, what happens when you finish playing song 2 in an undownloaded multi-song album -- does it immediately move on to song 3 and download/stream that too? Or do you have to explicitly select each song you want downloaded?

To begin with I think it's weird how everyone is up in arms about this "streaming" vs. "downloading" service. It's all the same for me except one is held onto by my iPhone (which is nice if I want to listen to it again in the near future without adding to my data plan) and the other is discarded. Hmm. The beginning process is the same, only what happens to the file afterward is different. I just like having the access to ALL of my music and having it "cached" in my library with the option to remove the file later (if I need more space for app x or album y) is perfect for me.

As for downloading, if you are playing an undownloaded multi-song album, iCloud will not download the other (non-playing) tracks until that specific track plays UNLESS you've selected the option to download all of the tracks in the album to your device while listening to it or before you begin listening.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by -cj- View Post

I don't understand the advantage of having your music "everywhere" if I still have to download it to each device.

While having streaming as an option would be better, you don't understand how being able to get a song that wasn't synced is an advantage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by -cj- View Post

Can you download whole playlists at once? It's no fun to recreate playlists, certainly not on the fly.

As of the current beta, yes. You can download whole playlists or whole albums, plus if you create a new playlist on your mac it instantly appears on your mobile device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianus View Post

As long as it plays seamlessly, as soon as you press it, isn't the difference still just a semantic one? My only question would be, what happens when you finish playing song 2 in an undownloaded multi-song album -- does it immediately move on to song 3 and download/stream that too? Or do you have to explicitly select each song you want downloaded?

Users have reported that you can play entire albums or playlists, it moves on to the next song.


Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I get all that, but why wouldn't I want to take my music with me? As I expressed I already take all my music with me and capacity will just continue to double every 2-3 years while song file size will trend upward much, much slower. It's video that is large and can't be stored on my mobile devices at all times.

Video and other files are a big part of the equation. My entire music library may fit on a device, but if I can put a much smaller portion of that library on it, that leaves more space for things like video that aren't in the cloud (yet).
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

While having streaming as an option would be better, you don't understand how being able to get a song that wasn't synced is an advantage?

I would think the key benefit of storing music in the cloud is so that i don't have to fill up the storage space on my device with music files. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the article, but it sounds like the way it works now is that there is a pause while the device downloads the song and then there is a physical file on your device for that song until you delete it.

It would be helpful if someone could clarify if the file that is stored is the full iTunes quality file, now that "streaming" has been eliminated. I know that earlier in the week it was just storing a smaller cached file. But if my iPod app recognizes it as a full file that resides on my device, I'm assuming it's the full size file that will consume storage space. Please correct me if this is wrong. I WANT to love the matching service. Honestly.
post #24 of 29
The way I see it is I am getting 25,000 songs backed up (which is up to several hundred gigabytes worth) for $25 per year.

To back that stuff up into any other cloud service (or say Dropbox) it would cost hundreds per year, and it wouldn't even be neatly integrated with iTunes and my mobile devices (iPhone & iPhone), not to mention I wouldn't get the quality of the songs bumped up.

And as I add music over the years, I will never again have to burn another set of DVD backups or waste my external hard drive's space on backing up my iTunes folder, not to mention the time it takes to copy all the files and the hassle of managing physical backups.

For $25 a year I have absolute piece of mind that all my music is always backed up and easily accessible from any device (provided I have an internet connection which lets face it is pretty ubiquitous these days).

Now if they did the same thing for iPhoto (which is 40GB on my computer) at this price, I would be able to get rid of my external HD completely.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conscript View Post

The way I see it is I am getting 25,000 songs backed up (which is up to several hundred gigabytes worth) for $25 per year.

» 3.5 minutes song average = 210 seconds x 256kb = 44,100kb per song x 25,000 songs = 131.43GB of storage.

» 4.0 minute song average = 240 seconds x 256kb = 61,440kb per song x 25,000 songs = 183.11GB of storage.

If for some reason you don't want a local backup and you don't have other data that needs to be backed up I guess it's a great fit.
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post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't understand why one would pay $25/year for what appears to simply be cloud storage.

Me neither. But I do a HUGE benefit to iTunes Match for those that have over 80 pre iTunes+ and/or self rips below 256k. $25 will get all (or nearly all) those songs upgraded to 256k permanently. Pretty sweet if you ask me!
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by -cj- View Post

I would think the key benefit of storing music in the cloud is so that i don't have to fill up the storage space on my device with music files. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the article, but it sounds like the way it works now is that there is a pause while the device downloads the song and then there is a physical file on your device for that song until you delete it.

It starts downloading the song immediately, and as soon as enough of the file has arrived for the decoder to start, the file will start playing, with the remainder of the file still downloading in the background. For typical broadband connections, the download in the background will finish long before the music finishes playing.

If you then skip to the next song in the playlist before the previous song had finished downloading, then presumably it will keep the original file in its download queue, but at the same time it will add the new file to the download queue as well. If you do this too many times in rapid succession, then you'll find you've got lots of files in the download queue simultaneously.

Quote:
It would be helpful if someone could clarify if the file that is stored is the full iTunes quality file, now that "streaming" has been eliminated. I know that earlier in the week it was just storing a smaller cached file. But if my iPod app recognizes it as a full file that resides on my device, I'm assuming it's the full size file that will consume storage space. Please correct me if this is wrong. I WANT to love the matching service. Honestly.

I suspect -- but cannot confirm -- that it was never a downsampled file. The file in the cache was always full-quality, full-size, exactly as it existed either on iTunes (for music originally purchased from iTunes, and for ripped music that was matched) or in your original ripped file (for ripped music that could not be matched).

The difference is, now the file that gets downloaded will be explicitly added to your device's library and it will need to be deleted manually when you're done with it; whereas in the earlier beta, the file was hidden in a cache which could be flushed automatically to make space for other cached files as needed.
post #28 of 29
Thanks for the extra info. Sounds like the download and play process is pretty smooth, but I'll still want the 32 GB version for storage. I wonder if I could get into the habit of removing music regularly to open up space for other stuff. I'm more likely to leave it on there and let it accumulate.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyb0731 View Post

Agreed though the real benifit of it is for the upgraded quality of tracks that were either ripped at a lower bit rate or obtained by legally murky methods

My question is how good/complete does the ID3 tag have to be in order for iTunes to match it? If it's only based on tags, then iTunes will have to deal with giving good quality files to a library of low-bitrate tracks.

Does this also mean that MP3 tracks encoded at 320Kbps or Apple Lossless will only get the lesser quality file in the cloud that iTunes offers? That is a deal killer for someone like me who undestands technically and aurally the differences in bitrate quality and has painstakingly spent long hours ensuring a high-quality digital music library.

And how does iCloud keep track of knowing where the master file resides as not to delete a song from the master library/hard drive when Match makes a mistake and deletes songs through iCloud?
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