iTunes Match and track metadata
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: Just read your response to reader’s question regarding iTunes Match. It clarified a few concerns I had. I do have an additional question, however. Assuming iTunes scans my entire music library, and assuming I delete my library to preserve HD space, when I later download some tracks back onto my HD, will it download in the original form in which it was matched/uploaded? In other words, I’m very particular how my music is tagged (i.e. I tag my albums differently than the iTunes has its albums tagged), so when I download a particular album back onto my HD, will it download that
particular album containing my tags, or will it just download with iTunes’ tags?
A: While you should be fine in terms of your custom track metadata and tags, it’s important to note that you won’t likely get all of your tracks back in their exact original form.
In order to avoid having to store millions of redundant copies of tracks on Apple’s servers, iTunes Match takes advantage of the very large catalog of music that is already available on the iTunes Store. When you setup iTunes Match, the iTunes application goes through your library and tries to match as much of your library as it can to music that Apple already has available. If a track can be matched, it’s simply “linked” to the version that is normally sold on the iTunes Store; only those tracks that cannot be matched to something already available on iTunes are uploaded directly to Apple’s servers.
Despite this, however, iTunes maintains a virtual copy of your iTunes library database in the cloud as part of the iTunes Match service. Much like the iTunes library database on your Mac or PC, the cloud-based iTunes Match database contains all of your track metadata such as name, artist, album, genre, artwork, and even play counts, last played dates, and playlists. When you download an iTunes Match track to any iTunes library, even your original one, the metadata is filled in based on the information you provide. Note that this applies even for tracks purchased from the iTunes Store—if you’ve customized the metadata for those tracks, that’s what will appear in your iTunes libraries and other devices connected to iTunes Match.
In the case of “Matched” tracks, if you delete the original track from your iTunes library and re-download it from the cloud, you will get the same 256kbps AAC version being sold on the iTunes Store, but the track will have your customized metadata applied to it. For most users this is effectively an upgrade to a higher quality version, but if your library already consists of higher bit-rate tracks, you’ll definitely want to preserve those elsewhere before deleting them.
On the other hand, this won’t be an issue in the case of “Purchased” or “Uploaded” tracks. For Purchased tracks, what you have in your library should already be exactly the same as what’s on the iTunes Store since that’s where you got it from in the first place. For “Uploaded” tracks, iTunes has in fact uploaded an exact copy of what was in your library to Apple’s servers, since it couldn’t find a copy to match it to, so when you download it into iTunes, you actually are getting that exact copy right back.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple Music creative team discusses the service’s exclusives, future
- Apple raising UK App Store prices by more than 25 percent
- Iovine fuels speculation about Apple’s interest in scripted TV shows
- Report: ‘iPhone 8’ to include upgraded water resistance
- U.S. appeals court resurrects App Store antitrust lawsuit against Apple
- Apple increases maximum tvOS app size to 4GB
- Apple releases fourth iOS 10.2.1 beta
- Apple looking to produce original TV content for Apple Music subscribers
- FBI releases heavily redacted information about cracking iPhone
- Apple partners with Tresorit to offer encryption option to CareKit developers
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10