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iCloud Music Library Screws Up Album Artwork

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I am starting to see changes to songs that I purchased from the iTunes Store in my iTunes library. In addition to album art, info I changed in the tags are reverting back to the way they were originally. Music ripped from CDs seems fine so far. My iCloud Music Library is a complete disaster, but I'm not going to get too upset about that. I am very upset that the changes I made to the songs I purchased are being reverted on my Mac.

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I'm seeing changes to CD rips as well as purchases.


Kirk, Do you do the "embed artwork trick" for all your CD rips? The one where you select all the tracks for the album, right click and choose Get Info, go to the the Artwork tab, press the Add Artwork button, select the image file and watch while it processes each track. I found 1 album that I ripped which was messed up because I forgotten to do that when I ripped it.

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The artwork problem is a big one. It seems completely random. The cover of Dylan's Nashville Skyline was changed to the cover for the Silver Linings Playbook movie (which I don't own). There are other absurd changes like that. Also, I am finding different cover art on my iPhone than on my Mac for the exact same album.


I hope they fix this fast!

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Match user (28k+ tracks with meticulous tagging and artwork), waiting for Apple Music to not potentially cause issues. I take it that solid evidence that it is ok to go in the water has not presented itself yet. I have tried Apple Music under a different Apple ID and my 90 day trial has expired. Had hoped that things would clear up regarding iCloud Music Library not negatively impacting existing metadata in a Match library. Haven't found anyone saying it is OK now, right?

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  • 3 months later...
Has anyone given this a shot yet with new 12.3.3?

My guess is everyone is sacred to try. I know I am. I tried iCML for the 3rd time a few weeks ago and still the same issues - changes album art, track and album ratings, deletes playlists. Just a mess. If 12.3.3. Has miraculously fixed these issues it would be great to know!

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My guess is everyone is sacred to try. I know I am. I tried iCML for the 3rd time a few weeks ago and still the same issues - changes album art, track and album ratings, deletes playlists. Just a mess. If 12.3.3. Has miraculously fixed these issues it would be great to know!


OK, I must be a glutton for punishment because I just turned on iCML on my iPad. I loaded up a couple of dozen albums that I self-tagged and embedded artwork into.


Sure enough, turning on iCML and choosing either Merge or Replace library with iCloud terribly screws up artwork :(


Even worse, with iCML on, I simply cannot play many of my "somewhat obscure" tracks. They are simply grayed out with a message "Item Not Available - This time can't be played" error message when selected. Is this for real? Anyone using iCML has no way to listen to certain local tracks?


Rant on/ I don't mind paying Apple $10 a month, but to no longer have access to my own tracks, and have my local music screwed with is just unacceptable, if I'm paying money /Rant off.

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  • 5 months later...
Reporting back to say that iOS 10.0.1 still has this issue. And I'm starting to think the cover art issue is getting even worse.


Such a mess. If Apple didn't fix it with iOS 10, I'm starting to think they do not have any intention of doing so. :(

That's too bad. I hoped the combination of switching to acoustic fingerprinting for matching and new ios and macos releases would address the problem. Guess not.

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  • 1 month later...
Alas, your experience is not uncommon.


Kirk - - any news whether the rollout of revised matching algorithm is complete? Or maybe it wouldn't impact my scenario. Earlier post 12/2/15 above. Match user and never turned Apple Music on in primary iTunes library on Mac OS. Also have never used Match or Apple Music on iOS devices (I still load iOS devices from iTunes cabled connection to iMac). If I turn on Apple Music (in iTunes prefs General tab checkbox iCloud Music Library), will my already Matched / Uploaded tracks be untouched, or will checking the box cause a rescan of entire library and be at risk? If it will just port over the existing Matched library now since Apple made this change this summer then I should be ok, right? I've been holding out waiting on completion of the rollout just in case. But maybe since I never engaged Apple Music subscription, then I automatically will use the revised / updated matching scheme if further matching occurs. Any thoughts or insight on this?

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I haven't heard anything, but I would expect that the rollout is complete. Since you don't have an Apple Music subscription, however, this doesn't affect you.


Theoretically, iTunes will simply make your library available on the other computer. If there are existing tracks, they'll be scanned, and either matched or uploaded, unless they're already in the first library.

I write about Macs, music, and more at Kirkville.

Author of Take Control of macOS Media Apps

Co-host of The Next Track podcast.

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