iTunes Match is an Apple created service that allows customers to maintain a cloud-based collection of their entire music library for $25 per year. iTunes Match differs from Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music, because the service doesn’t necessarily require the user to upload their own music, nor use a web-based player to stream their cloud-based music. The service has been available for a few years and dedicated users, as well as new users, will be pleased to see a major upgrade to the service coming soon.
Apple announced via Twitter that it was working on increasing the limit for iTunes Match and other Apple Music scan-and-match features from a respectable 25,000 songs to a whopping 100,000 songs for iOS 9.
Despite this, when iOS 9 was launched, no such announcement was made, and a number of news outlets have reached out to Apple in order to clarify when it will be released. Apple’s response was that the company was working on it and that it would happen before the end of the year.
An upgrade from 25,000 songs to 100,000 songs is a pretty significant move for Apple Music and will be very helpful for those with large music libraries.
The iTunes Match service itself is a very helpful service for those that have multiple devices, and it allows users who have things like a CD collection to add their songs to iTunes, after which the corresponding songs on Apple’s servers will be made available to users on any device, where they can stream the song or download it to that device. Songs that aren’t available through iTunes are uploaded to the cloud, where users can again either stream or download the files. iTunes Match itself costs $25 per year.
Unfortunately, however, the service has been limited to libraries of up to 25,000 songs, a limitation that has been in place since iTunes Match launched back in 2011. While that certainly is a lot of songs, it can be used up pretty quick for those that are very interested in music or who consume a lot of music. So far those with larger music libraries have had to use workarounds like using two iTunes accounts. If iTunes Match upgrades to having a 100,000-song limit, however, users wouldn’t have to resort to these kinds of workarounds.
It’s important to highlight why iTunes Match offers different advantages to Apple Music. When it comes to Apple Music, users can stream Apple’s entire music catalog for $9.99 per month. iTunes Match allows users to stream their own library. Some people might want to use both however. For example, users that have a lot of unknown music that might not exist in Apple’s music catalog will make good use of iTunes Match, as it allows them to upload that music to be able to stream.
Those that do want to take advantage of iTunes Match are easily able to do so. To switch on the feature users simple need to head to the “store” menu from iTunes and clock on iTunes Match. After that, users can select the option to use iCloud Music Library. Users then need to add their computer, and music will be uploaded and matched automatically as new songs are added to the user’s music library.
After that, users can add additional devices by signing out and then navigating back to the iTunes Match menu item mentioned before. After that, users have to select the $24.99 option once again, and they will be reminded by Apple that they have already subscribed after they enter their Apple ID and password. Users then need to click “Add This Computer” in order to connect their computer’s music library to the iTunes Match feature.
It’s important to note that there are a number of things that users cannot do with iTunes Match. For example, users cannot use iTunes Match along with Family Sharing because of the fact that each Apple ID is separate. Not only that, but in some countries users cannot use iTunes Match.
As mentioned it’s not yet known exactly when Apple will up the music limit to 100,000 songs, but it will likely be before the end of the year unless there are any major issues. In the future it’s expected that the feature will eventually not have a limit on how many songs can be uploaded, and eventually the feature might be baked into Apple Music and may be accessible at no extra charge. This is especially true considering the “race to zero” when it comes to cloud storage, with companies racing to offer cheaper and more online storage to a point that eventually cloud storage is expected to be free.
Of course, users who really only listen to popular music won’t have any use for iTunes Match, however those that don’t will be looking forward to the new feature.