iTunes Match: One Week Later

One week. That’s how long it took me to come to the conclusion that iTunes Match is not at all what I was hoping. It’s great for those with extra large music collections and extra small portable storage, but for the majority of people I can’t imagine there being much need. Issue number one for me, no Genius Playlists. For the uninformed a Genius Playlist is basically a radio station iTunes creates dynamically for you based on a genre of music. All of the music is from your library. If you’re anything like me and download the entire albums of the artists you enjoy, this is a great way to unearth some long lost treasures. Anyway, now they’re gone.

Number two, lag when changing tracks. I know it’s still in it’s beta form but come on Apple, if Rdioand Spotify can change tracks with little to no lag, why can’t you?

Last but not least, no streaming. For some reason I was under the assumption that there was going to be live streaming of your music. No need to download the tracks and waste valuable space on your mobiles storage. Clearly this is not the case. While it can stream the initial download, a nice feature indeed, you need to manually remove the track from your storage when done. This would be great if they offered a “local cache quota” or a way to control the amount of space allowed for downloaded music. Once your quota is reached it would automatically remove the least played tracks one by one. Just an idea.

Some notes on the setup, it took a long time. If I had to guess it was over five hours, but I let it run while I was asleep so I can’t be certain. While I do understand it’s still early, the fact remains that is didn’t match over 1,500 of my songs. That means all of those had to be uploaded to Apple’s servers. Meanwhile most of these tracks had album art provided by Apple. It clearly has the capability to identify them just not using Match. Kind of odd.

Apple will be resetting the Match cloud on Monday, September 26. While I can’t be certain why, I would guess they improved their matching algorithm, producing better matched and saving Apple valuable space. They have asked we turn off all Match on all iOS devices and iTunes library. Also curiously all iCloud backups were reset yesterday morning. iOS 5 must be close.

If you were thinking about the service, I would definitely wait until it goes live officially (October 7th anyone?). In it’s current form it’s functionality is brutally limited and frustrating at times.