My original set-up was simple. An iMac, an iPhone and an iPad. All my music resided on my iMac, and selected playlists went to my iPhone, and a few top albums to the iPad. That’s it.
Cue my Macbook Air! As a photographer, not having a notebook made it very hard to stay competitive, so the most portable 13” notebook came into my life, and pretty much on day one I found I wanted and needed iTunes Match.
iTunes match is basically scans your iTunes for any songs, and matches them with their versions in the iTunes Store. On every device you have iTunes Match turned on, you see every song you have, with a download button. One click or tap later and you have a crystal clear iTunes version of your song, ready to listen.
Wherever I am, I have music on. Especially when I’m working I use music to tune my mind. Having two separate iTunes libraries where not a real option. So the yearly €24.99 was an easy decision to make.
Adding a new album can be done from either computer, it will just update or upload your iTunes Match results. Play counts and ratings also follow, which is a breeze.
If you look at the competition, you have sites like Grooveshark and Spotify, which require an active connection just to stream. On the other hand you have all the latest music, with no limits. But my personal problem with this service is simple. I own a lot of music. If not digital, in our house we have a few thousand jewel cases filled with great music from the last 70 years. Of course I have my favorites digitized, and loaded up in the cloud.
However, if you’re going to rely on the iTunes Match servers on the road, you’re going to have a bad time. At moments iTunes just zones out, and you have to restart, and have a stable connection. That’s why I have a smart playlist showing all my Local music (so all music downloaded on my Mac), where a few favorites reside. Another ‘problem’ is the use of multiple accounts. I have three active iTunes accounts (US, UK and Belgian) and a regular Apple ID. So if I want to switch stores I have a problem with my entire iTunes Match, making me re-match everything. Ugh!
In the end, the problems are just growing pains, and the promise of having your music available where you are, without sacrificing disk space is something I love. So I know already I’m going to renew this service when it expires. Let’s just hope the server connection will be more stable in the end, and they get their Apple ID’s working like they should.
Price: $24,99 / year
Worth it? If you don’t like streaming services, have a large iTunes library, and multiple devices? Yes.