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Apple Music Usurps Matched Songs without even a single download, but via stream

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I have added one album and 3 playlist, but I have not downloaded any "Apple Music", I have only streamed Apple Music.

I have iTunes Match since it's been available.


Today, I created a Smart Playlist to watch for "Apple Music" on my Mac.

To my horrid surprise there were two songs with an "iCloud Status" as "Apple Music".

  1. Ventures - "Pipeline": Originally bought via iTunes Purchase is an "m4a"
  2. Reservoir Dogs Sound Track - "And Now Little Green Bag ...": Originally bought via Amazon, Matched via iTunes Match and is an "mp3" yet iCloud

I recently listen to these via two an Apple Music Curated Playlist which contained the mentioned songs:

  • "Best of '60s Surf Rock"
  • "Best of Music from Quentin Tarantino Films"

I believe this is what caused the issue, I listen to both of these songs from the above Playlists via Stream on my iPhone where they were not downloaded, but were iTunes Matched in iCloud


I never downloaded them, though the "iCloud Status" appears to have been flipped to "Apple Music".


Ventures "Pipeline" is shown as "Purchased" and "Apple Music"

Reservoir Dogs Sound Track - "And Now Little Green Bag ..." is shown as an "Mp3" and "Apple Music"


Ventures "Pipeline" - Attempt to recover with no "Apple Music"

  1. DELETE from iCloud Music Library
  2. Go to iTunes Purchase to re-download: GONE! Every other song from the album is there but "Pipeline" is GONE
  3. Recover from Time Machine
  4. Syncs with iCloud Status as Matched
  5. Still GONE from Purchased


Reservoir Dogs Sound Track - "And Now Little Green Bag ..." - Attempt to recover with no "Apple Music"

  1. DELETE from iCloud Music Library
  2. Recover from Time Machine
  3. Syncs with iCloud Status
  4. Syncs with iCloud Status as Matched

What a potential, but what a mess!

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It's definitely an intermittent bug. This week while working around the yard, I streamed quite a few Apple Music playlists using my iPhone 5s. This morning I checked my "Apple Music" smart playlist and found only one song taken over by Apple Music. As you can see by the attached snapshot, the MP3 tag attributes contain nothing indicating it's an Apple product from the iTunes Store, other than the fact that I ripped it from CD using iTunes v7.0.2. It's a ripped mp3 tagged as "Apple Music".

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I know Apple just released 12.2.1, but I am thinking this is an iCloud issue, though who knows where all this code resides.


At a very high level you would think the algorithm would be something like this:

  1. User selects an item from "Apple Music" on their device
  2. The device indicates it's not available locally and makes a request to "iCloud Music" for the correct source for the music
  3. "iCloud Music" must determine if the music is available via:

    1. via a "Matched" source
    2. via a "Purchased" source
    3. via an "Apple Music" source

[*]Then download/stream from appropriate source

  1. Now if it's sourced from "Apple Music" then iCloud Music probably publishes/syncs to all device libraries that this particular item is only available from "Apple Music" and updates the meta-tags as "Apple Music".

I am thinking it might be a tricky/sloppy algorithm that determines which song source to use.

Or maybe each source uses a different search algorithm based on the info given via "iCloud Music" and when each source is searched they are each indicating that based on the search information about a song that it's not "Matched", or not "Purchased"


I would imagine that not every song is not uniquely identified, so determination might be via meta-data, hash signature, a combination of items, or who knows what.

This might explain why items like MP3's and Purchased Music are showing up with published "Apple Music"


Just guessing out loud?

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Surely a database is used and is very likely corrupted or inaccurate.

The main db is most likely the centralized iCloud Music DB


From a still very high pseudo level based on explanation above:


select song from iCloud.Music where user_id = foo and song_id = bar and status in ('matched', 'purchased')



Not Found



insert into iCloud.Music (user_id, song_id, status) vaules (foo, bar, 'Apple Music')



Send sync to update users device music db with added 'Apple Music' Song


Yes, so I was trying to get at possible one of many causes of the corrupt or inaccurate info

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I think you'll find a lot of information here:




In that article, I examined the actual sqlite database on my iPhone, and you can see that there are artist, album, and track IDs, all of which are obtained from a central iTunes Store database, at least when syncing with network access. But, there are not multiple IDs for songs; each one is present just once, or at least there's a canonical version that is used. Hence the songs that come back with the wrong album tag, or with different versions than the ones matched.

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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Go to iTunes Purchase to re-download: GONE! Every other song from the album is there but "Pipeline" is GONE

  1. Recover from Time Machine
  2. Syncs with iCloud Status as Matched
  3. Still GONE from Purchased

What a potential, but what a mess!


Submitted a trouble ticket on the song 'Pipeline' that was missing from iTunes purchases.

Got a response back to check my hidden purchases.

That's where the song 'Pipeline' was located, though I have never hidden it.

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Yes, I did delete the song 'Pipeline' when I saw that it was marked as "Apple Music" in my "Apple Music" smart playlist, but when I deleted it, I was never prompted with the dialog and button"hide" only the dialog to remove the song was displayed.

It appears that the OS X iTunes saw the tag/db as "Apple Music" and just deleted it locally, but when it propagated the changes to "iCloud Music" it appears 'iCloud Music' handled the event as a "Purchase Hide".

I thought about checking purchase hide, but I knew, I never hid it using the old method and I was unaware of the new 12.2 method you explained of hiding purchases.

Though, according to your new article, it appears this start of this issue may have been caused by the iOS 8 meta-matching algorithm which switched the purchased song to be marked as 'Apple Music'.


Also, I have never seen the "Replace" or "Merge" pop up dialog on any of my Apple devices.


Thanks for the info!

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