iTunes Match to use Gracenote MusicID technology | iLounge News


iTunes Match to use Gracenote MusicID technology

Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service will use Gracenote’s MusicID technology to identify and match songs in users’ iTunes libraries to copies on Apple’s servers, according to a statement from the company. In a reply to a Facebook user inquiry as to whether iTunes Match uses Gracenote’s technology, the company said, “Yes, the iTunes Match service uses Gracenote MusicID to help recognize tracks in a user’s existing music collection.” According to the company’s website, MusicID “has the capability to recognize, categorize and organize any music source, be it CDs, digital files, or analog streams,” and “provides track level descriptive and factual metadata, including artist name, track, title, genre, origin, era, artist type, mood and tempo, and uses Gracenote’s global genre system to categorize music based on regional preferences.” According to Cult of Mac, Apple already uses MusicID to add song and artist data to songs ripped from physical CDs, and also employs it for its Genius recommendation system.

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What I want to know is whose tags will be on the file that I download to my device, mine or Gracenote’s.  I am *very* particular about my tags and I’d rather not use the service at all than have my tags replaced by Gracenote’s.

Posted by hardcle on June 20, 2011 at 9:17 PM (CDT)


Maybe it’s time that Apple revises what’s allowed for tags - multiple genres would be a great addition.

Posted by Daniel on June 21, 2011 at 8:54 AM (CDT)


@hardcle (#1): Actually, the answer would be “Apple’s.”  The iTunes Match service simply matches your songs to what’s already in the iTunes Store, so what you’re in effect getting is the iTunes Store versions of those tracks, just as if you had purchased them from iTunes in the first place.

The only exception is music in your collection that’s not actually available in the iTunes Store. Apparently you’ll be able to upload this content yourself, and I would assume that in this case, your existing tags will be maintained, since you’re basically just re-downloading the same file that you put there in the first place.

Posted by Jesse Hollington on June 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM (CDT)


As a classical music fan and ripper of my personal CDs, I can say that Gracenote frequently identifies the correct album.

Posted by Danny Goodman on June 21, 2011 at 1:04 PM (CDT)


Regarding tags, yes, this is one of those cases where Apple has completely missed the forest for the trees (one wonders if they’re not if in the middle of the Sahara looking for giant Sequoias).

The ability to recognize and/or “back up” someone’s entire 25K or less song collection for only $25/year is only useful in so much as you’re “backing up” *their* collection. When their carefully organized comments, BPM, ratings, genre’s, title and album naming conventions, etc., are all effectively wiped by actually taking advantage of the service, Apple has effectively made the service pointless for the very people most likely to otherwise jump at the service.

And, again, the latent programmer finds this beyond silly. Storing everyone’s personal metada is chump change on the server side (maybe 25MB for the size library we are limited to) and applying everyone’s personal metadata would, at most, add a few seconds per track during a library restoration (in reality, the overhead of applying personal metadata would probably never be seen by the consumer since the file transfer speeds would be the only real bottleneck). They’ve already implemented a personal ownership database where a list is compiled of which file ID’s on the Apple servers you “own”, so it’s not like matching a node of personalized metada to an Apple server file ID would have taxed the capabilities of their programmers or applying such personal metadata the abilities of their servers.


@Jesse, do you happen to know the answer to this question: If you have music that Apple technically has, but only in another region, will the match service upload your personal copy, or will you be provided an Apple version? I have a great deal of music that has never been released in the United States but that foreign Apple stores do carry and am curious what happens if I use the match service.

Posted by Code Monkey on June 21, 2011 at 1:25 PM (CDT)


Based on what I saw at the WWDC keynote, Apple is not promoting iTunes Match as a backup service, but rather simply as an access service.  The goal of iTunes in the Cloud seems more about providing users with the ability to get at anything in their library, from anywhere. 

Relying on it as a backup would actually be an exceedingly bad idea even aside from the tagging issues, since Apple only guarantees availability for as long as a track remains on the iTunes Store. So previous purchases that are no longer available from iTunes for whatever reason would not be available for re-download.  Presumably if you also subscribed to iTunes Match there would be some way around this—perhaps simply uploading your own copy for those tracks that disappear—but it’s unclear right now how this is going to be handled.

As for the question of iTunes Match with content on foreign stores, I don’t have a firm answer to that, but I would heavily bet that it will not be an option.

The whole iTunes Match service exists as a function of agreements between Apple and the music industry, and the majority of recording executives are such shortsighted, hebetudinous morons that they’re unlikely to have made such concessions. Keep in mind that the whole reason the concept of being able to re-download music you’ve already purchased is such a “new” thing is because the record labels have been digging their heels in for years insisting that a digital media purchase should be treated the same as a physical media purchase.

Consider that iTunes Match itself isn’t even available outside of the U.S. at this point, most likely due to licensing issues and the need to negotiate separate agreements with international labels. Content that is not available on the U.S. iTunes Store but available in foreign iTunes Stores is simply not licensed to Apple by the U.S. labels, and it’s unlikely that foreign labels would be able to permit matching music for U.S. based customers any more than they can allow Apple to sell that music to U.S. customers.

Posted by Jesse Hollington on June 22, 2011 at 5:15 PM (CDT)

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