How Apple Music and the iCloud Music Library work with iTunes Match

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited August 2015
On its website Apple describes Apple Music and iTunes Match as "independent but complementary," but in fact the services are closely connected through a third feature: iCloud Music Library.




Effectively, iCloud Music Library -- turned on via settings in iTunes 12.2 or iOS 8.4 -- incorporates iTunes Match, which makes a person's local iTunes library (including playlists) available for remote streaming or download whether the songs were bought from the iTunes Store, ripped from a CD, or otherwise imported.

If Match can't find a song on Apple servers, it simply uploads a user's copy wholesale, and downloads it the same way. Matched songs, however, are downloaded as 256 kilobit-per-second AAC files without copy protection (better known as DRM).

iTunes 12.2 for Windows
iTunes 12.2 for Windows


iOS 8.4
iOS 8.4


The same functions are available to Apple Music subscribers, but go a step further. For them iCloud Music Library is needed to add on-demand tracks to an iTunes library, and/or to save them for offline listening. Without Apple Music the feature can still make files accessible across devices, but only iTunes purchases.

An important distinction from iTunes Match is that any tracks matched by Apple Music do get DRM if users download them on another device, or the originals are deleted from a person's iTunes library. This is a consequence of Apple technology meant to ensure that once a person cancels the service, they can't keep all the tracks they saved for offline listening but never originally owned.

People can however subscribe to both Apple Music and iTunes Match, in which case matched files will always be DRM-free.

Apple Music is the more expensive option of the two, costing $9.99 a month for an individual listener, or $14.99 a month with a six-person family plan. iTunes Match by contrast is only $24.99 per year, but of course omits Apple Music's on-demand catalog.

Both services support mirroring personal libraries up to 25,000 songs, not including iTunes purchases. By the time iOS 9 is released in the fall, that limit will grow to 100,000.

Why some users may want to leave iCloud Music Library turned off

At the moment iCloud Music Library is potentially dangerous to turn on. Users have complained about it creating duplicates, assigning inaccurate metadata and artwork, and/or restoring previously-deleted music.

For people with large, carefully-tagged iTunes libraries, this can create chaos and undo years of work. In our own experiences, we've also run into some major issues in enabling the feature.

More seriously the option is in some cases not only deleting playlists, but causing the files in them to disappear. There are some workarounds to salvage a library, but it's unwise to try the feature without having a separate music backup in the event of disaster.

Ultimately, Apple Music still works without iCloud Music Library. It's not as convenient, but it's up to subscribers to judge whether the risk is worth it, or wait until the kinks are worked out.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,803member

    Serenity Caldwell from iMore has a similar article about this. Apparently there’s plenty of misinformation and FUD floating around about how Apple Music, iTunes Match, and DRM interact. Apple should publish a document explaining this relationship clearly in layman’s terms. We need to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Well, we can hope can’t we? And as we should have assumed from the start, the DRM thing is all about what happens after you cancel your Apple Music subscription. Obviously you should not be allowed to keep any streamed music or playlists downloaded for offline listening if you no longer subscribe.

  • Reply 2 of 48
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member

    I must admit...as someone subscribed to both iTunes Match and Apple Music, I find the situation a tad confusing. This article clears it up but...what about normal users who don't visit Apple sites? 

     

    There needs to be some kind of merger here, or at least 'Apple Music with Match' is or something...

  • Reply 3 of 48
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 304member

    I agree. Been using iTunes Match, for a couple years, and recently started the 90-day Apple Music trial. It would be nice to have a more in-depth paper discussing how these two interact...

  • Reply 4 of 48
    What I find weird is that songs matched via iTunes Match (~$2/mo) can be deleted and redownloaded without DRM but songs matched via ?Music (~$10/mo) cannot do the same.

    I understand if a track downloaded directly from ?Music (ie. It never existed before in your library) came with DRM but this seems unfair if a DRM-free track got deleted somehow and you could only redownload a DRM-laden copy. Especially since you pay more for ?Music than with iTunes Match.

    As a side note, clicking remove download in iTunes 12.2 will obliterate that copy of the track. It doesn't get moved to the Trash, it just simply disappears like it never existed. If you have Apple Music but not iTunes Match, you can redownload a copy but it will come with DRM.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    red oakred oak Posts: 641member
    It is baffling how Apple Music, Cloud Music Library, and iTunes Match work together. Apple has done an especially poor job explaining all this. I still don't understand it even after reading this article

    I signed up for Apple Music and turned on Cloud Music Library. Am I still paying for iTunes Match? I cannot find it anymore in iOS Settings. It went away when I downloaded 8.4 and subscribed to Apple Music

    Clusterf****
  • Reply 6 of 48
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    Serenity Caldwell from iMore has a similar article about this. Apparently there’s plenty of misinformation and FUD floating around about how Apple Music, iTunes Match, and DRM interact. Apple should publish a document explaining this relationship clearly in layman’s terms. 




     The problem with her article is that is deals with semantics instead of the bottom line result:

     

    - Yes, Apple does not replace DRM-free files with DRM'd ones in one go.

    - But, as AI mentioned correctly, in some cases playlists and content get deleted (there is obviously no clear idea in which constellations this happens, as it does not affect all users - I suspect some iTunes Match constellations with more than one source computer, but I can't back this up sufficiently). IF this happens, trying to play a previously deleted song will load a DRM'd version, so the net effect is that a non-DRM file got replaced. It just does not happen in one go. I have tried that and can reproduce it, but there is one caveat: matching is fairly unreliable when titles exist in multiple versions, so the DRM'd file might indeed be a different file altogether. I'm still trying to sort this out, but it really seems to be a matter of stars aligning perfectly. Let me clarify by one (real) sample: I had a ripped (Apple lossless) version of Bowie's Aladdin Sane (original vinyl from the 70s). iTunes deleted that (for whatever reason). When I tried to play the file, iTunes automagically downloaded a newer remastered version. This has DRM, which is somehow not even wrong, as this is not the version I own. Still, my original files are gone. So, how do we call that now? Was my music overwritten with a DRM version, or not? Anyhow, I would not call concerns about that FUD, because it is real, it happens and it can be reproduced.

  • Reply 7 of 48
    red oakred oak Posts: 641member
    red oak wrote: »
    It is baffling how Apple Music, Cloud Music Library, and iTunes Match work together. Apple has done an especially poor job explaining all this. I still don't understand it even after reading this article

    I signed up for Apple Music and turned on Cloud Music Library. Am I still paying for iTunes Match? I cannot find it anymore in iOS Settings. It went away when I downloaded 8.4 and subscribed to Apple Music

    Clusterf****

    Ok, just found my iTunes Match Subscription in my iTunes and App Store account settings. So, I'm paying for both Apple Music and iTunes Match

    Clusterf****
  • Reply 8 of 48
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member

    When I turned off iCloud Music Library (and Apple Music) it seemed to get the crap to disappear, and my playlists survived. When it was on all kinds of things happened I didn't want.

     

    Eddy's department seems to be the king of mistakes like this.

  • Reply 9 of 48
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,581member
    I already subscribed to iTunes Match and now Apple Music. All working as expected, I can redownload my iTunes matched library (without DRM) with no issues.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    asterionasterion Posts: 107member

    Wow! So... AppleMusic just seems like a whole bundle of fun!

     

    The lack of clarity over iCloud syncing... upload... 'on demand'... download... DRM... non-DRM... settings over here... preferences over there...

    Err... I think I'll just avoid all that, thank you Apple!

     

    Whatever happened to stuff "just working"?

  • Reply 11 of 48
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,016member
    asterion wrote: »
    Wow! So... AppleMusic just seems like a whole bundle of fun!

    <span style="line-height:22.399999618530273px;">The lack of clarity over iCloud syncing... upload... 'on demand'... download... DRM... non-DRM... settings over here... preferences over there...</span>

    Err... I think I'll just avoid all that, thank you Apple!

    Whatever happened to stuff "just working"?
    Music in this sense is quite confusing. I just want to do offline play. Spotify does this just great, but obviously doesn't need to integrate with iTunes, etc.

    Yes. Yes. I know I can turn on iTunes Match but no one seems to be able give a straight answer as to what will happen with my music and when. This article helps but it seems like ymmv.
  • Reply 12 of 48
    cy_starkmancy_starkman Posts: 489member
    the article makes it sound like iCloud music library is an optional switch you turn on.

    I declined the 3 month trial and yet the switch came activated.

    maybe that's because I was already a iTunes Match user.

    So I guess iCloud Music Library is fed by either/both Match and Apple Music.

    I think most people's issue are stemming from not having had Match and signing up for the 3 month trial. Match was never an instant win service, I've had to work with it and groom my library some.

    People forget where all their music came from and even if by some slim chance it was all ripped from CD it was ripped over time using all manner of software and codecs and tagging systems and customising.

    I am so glad I didn't sign up for Apple Music, there are no free lunches
  • Reply 13 of 48
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member

    To me, it only seems like common sense that if you have tens of gigabytes of meticulously tagged songs, and one is OCD about that, you would choose NOT to use Apple music and upload everything to the cloud. It's just asking for trouble, no matter how accurate the system is. iTunes Match would be enough. I have no sympathy for people that did this and lost "years" of work, while having zero backup for their data. Just like I have no sympathy for people that lose "years" of photos on their phones/computer, cause they were too negligent to ever backup anything. 

  • Reply 14 of 48
    It is all about music ownership: :)

    Do you own the music already? (i.e. is it on your PC already (from CD or whatever) or purchased through iTunes)

    Yes -> Do you pay for iTunes Match? -> Yes -> You have access to all the music you own on all your Apple Devices.
    -> No -> You have access to all the music you bought from iTunes on all your Apple Devices.

    (All your "owned" music will be DRM free on all your devices)

    No -> No access to owned music on your devices since you don't own any to play!
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    Do you subscribe to Apple Music (i.e. Rent your music) ?

    Yes -> You have access to all Apple's music on all your Apple devices for the time your subscription is active (all songs that you play that you do not own already will have DRM on them so they can be deleted when your subscription is done)

    No -> You only have access to your owned music as above (the 2 services are for 2 separate things (Buy versus Rent music) and will coexist for those people who want a combination


    So what is iCloud library for? Well whether you pick Buy or Rent, if you want to be able to play and edit the same playlists on all your devices, the playlists have to be stored in a central place. Hence iCloud.

    Can you use the old style "I buy all my songs and sync to my phone"? sure! (playlists will sync too but not dynamically as you change them)
    Can I rent all my music and just play whatever I want from any of my devices without iCloud? sure! you would just have to have independent playlists on each device

    So if you want a hybrid model of "I buy some of my songs from iTunes, some from CDs or other services", "I would like to rent some songs", and "I would like my bought songs and rented songs to be organized with dynamic playlists that I can update on any device" then you would buy iTunes Match, Apple Music and turn on iCloud Library.

    Playlists are sacred like the old mixed tape :) I would ALWAYS recommend you back them up before you install a new version of iTunes or use a new Apple service.

    Happy Music Playing!

    Shawn
  • Reply 15 of 48
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Aaaand the cluster-f*uck keeps getting' more clustered.
    F*ck...
  • Reply 16 of 48
    Edited as the issue has been corrected.

  • Reply 17 of 48
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post



    Aaaand the cluster-f*uck keeps getting' more clustered.

    F*ck...

     

    Anything Apple does is always a "clusterfuck", because of a tiny percentage of people whining on the internet. Odds are 95% of people using Apple Music absolutely love it and have no issues. If one would take the overall views of this forum on Apple, the company would have been bankrupt a long time ago. Thankfully, the internet tends to be an extremely negative, distorted image of reality. 

  • Reply 18 of 48
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,850member
    Still don't understand what the big deal is about on-demand music. Oh well.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mike1 View Post



    Still don't understand what the big deal is about on-demand music. Oh well.



    Me either, to some extent. I used the service for all of 36 hours and turned it back off.

  • Reply 20 of 48
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 752member
    How can I determine if a downloaded song in my library has DRM on?

    I have Match and want to see if the issue that others have reported above, of losing the DRM-free version of a song in their library after a re-download, has happened in mine.
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