What is iTunes Match?

iTunes Match

Take a look at the photo above. For many music enthusiasts, this scenario is a common sight: having too much music and not enough storage. If editing down your music library to free up space is out of the question and you desire complete musical synchronicity across all of your Apple devices, iTunes Match is the perfect solution.

iTunes Match is a subscription service that scans a user’s entire iTunes music library and uploads it to the cloud. This means that any Apple device associated with your Apple ID will have access to your complete music library - no matter how large – and it will not take up any of your precious storage space. The phone pictured above would save a whopping 32gb of storage space by using iTunes Match. At only $25 a year, iTunes Match is a tremendous value for those individuals who own small storage devices with huge music libraries.

For those individuals with massive libraries filled with songs uploaded from CD’s – iTunes Match can actually improve the audio quality of certain songs. During the initial scan, iTunes Match “matches” songs in your library to songs in the iTunes store. If there is a match, you are granted with the iTunes version of the matched song, which will play at 256Kbps at a high audio quality even if the original file in your library was of poor quality. iTunes Match also grants users with album and artist photo covers, creating a synchronized and complete music library across all devices be it an iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, PC, iPad or Apple TV. The $25 a year iTunes Match subscription also covers a subscription to iTunes Radio, where you can discover new music without any ad interference.

To access iTunes Match, open iTunes on your computer, click on the “store” menu and choose “Turn On iTunes Match.” From here, you’ll enter your Apple ID and click “Subscribe.” ITunes match will then begin the scanning process, which can take quite a long time depending on the size of your music library. If you have over 6,000 songs – expect the process to take up to a day. Luckily, you are still able to use ITunes, download new songs, and edit your library while iTunes Match is scanning. Any song that iTunes is unable to “match” to a song in the iTunes Store will be uploaded as is to iCloud. Certain songs may be unable to upload to the cloud. Cloud icons that tell you the upload status are displayed alongside each song in your library as the scan concludes. The meanings of these icons are displayed below:

iTunes Match icons

Once your library is completely scanned and uploaded, turn on iTunes Match in your iOS devices by going to the “Music” section in the Settings and making sure that the button by the “iTunes Match” field is turned on. Now, as long as you have cellular service or WiFi access, you will be able to stream any song in your library from the cloud and your library will not take up any space on your device. You are able to download songs or albums directly from iCloud to your device by clicking the icon displayed below, which will be accessible alongside any song or album in your library that is stored on iCloud.

Downloading songs with iTunes Match

iTunes Match is a must have feature for anyone owning multiple Apples devices and boasting a sizeable music library. The ability to free up storage space on your devices by hosting your library in iCloud will free up the space necessary to carry around other things you love like games, videos and photos. Overall, iTunes Match is an awesome service that will make you feel like a rockstar when you are able to cram hundreds of gigabytes of music onto a 8gb device.