For any avid collector of digital media, the recent launch of iTunes Match is the perfect solution for making your digital library readily available whenever, wherever you are. And for someone (and by someone I mean me, of course!) who has more than 5,000 CDs, plus thousands more songs downloaded, iTunes Match is a lifesaver.
I’m a tactile person: I like having something to hold when listening to music. Maybe it’s because I’m a big opera aficionado, which means that the only way I can keep up with the story and the music (usually in Italian, French or German) is to follow the libretto. For years, I detested the movement to phase out CDs but it seems inevitable at this point. According to reports, the world’s largest music labels are planning to switch over to digital download services completely by the end of 2012.
During the past few weeks, Apple, Google and Amazon each have launched their own wireless mobile music service. I was quick to sign up for iTunes Match for $25 a year because I own mostly Apple devices, and I use iTunes to manage my digital library and purchase digital content. Here’s how it works. After you sign up for the service, iTunes scans your library and matches songs it has in its catalog (this is a little bit controversial in that iTunes will also match songs downloaded illegally and actually improve their quality). Songs not already there will be uploaded from your computer. You can store up to 25,000 songs on the service – plus an unlimited number bought from iTunes. Once the matching process is complete, you can listen to songs not present in your iPhone or iPad on the go.
A few caveats, though:
- Uploading songs to the iTunes server takes a long time. Maybe it has something to do with my Internet connection at home, but it took me two days to upload 6,000 songs. And that’s just the music currently in my computer. I have no idea how long the process will take once I start uploading more than 300 GB of music on my external hard drive
- You can only use the service with Apple devices. Not a problem with me, but it is for those with Android-based devices
- You cannot stream songs on your mobile devices. Unlike Spotify, you have to download songs before you can start listening to them. While it’s true that downloading songs is pretty fast, it would be great if there’s an option to just stream music so it doesn’t eat up any more memory in your mobile device.
- The $25 fee is only good for a year. What will happen to your music when the year is up and you decide not to continue paying for the service?
My experience has been good, so far. I’m still exploring the service and I know iTunes Match will only keep getting better. One thing I’m really looking forward to is how iTunes Match will be expanded to include movies and TV shows. Now that would be a match made in heaven.
How about you? How do you manage your digital library? Do you subscribe to online music services such as Spotify and Amazon?
A little bit about me: As much as I’m disappointed with the Apple location-data brouhaha, I can’t help but love Apple. My iPhone and iPad never leave my side—at work, shopping, out on a run and in bed. Passionate about consumer technology. Hardcore opera aficionado (Verdi, Mozart and Puccini NOT Andrea Bocelli). Bookworm. Blue Bottle addict.