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Previously purchased track somehow converted to Apple Music track

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(I’ve been an iTunes Match subscriber for a year and a half, and turned on Apple Music day one)


I was looking through some playlists tonight, and in a smart playlist for [iCloud Status][is][Apple Music] I found one of my ITMS-purchased tracks!


I called up the info for the track, and sure enough. Its kind was “purchased,” it had a purchase date, but its status was “Apple Music.”




Looking at the album listing, the song was there but its star ratings were dimmed (so were three other tracks… what’s up with the dimmed stars?)




I made a copy of the original file in the Finder and told iTunes to Remove Download. Sure enough, iTunes lost all ambiguity about the file and reported it solely as an Apple Music file.




I first tried option-dragging my backup file into iTunes. iTunes changed the location of the song to that of my backup file on the desktop (ignoring “Keep iTunes Media folder organized”) and set the iCloud Status icon to “ineligible.”


My second attempt was to make another copy of the backup file and move it to its proper location in the Media folder hierarchy before dragging it to iTunes. This was more successful and I now had two versions of the song showing in the album.




iTunes beachballed for a couple minutes, and when it came back, all the tracks with previously dimmed ratings had their ratings removed entirely.




I deleted the first, failed, “ineligible” replacement track and re-added the star ratings for all tracks. A few minutes later I went back to the album list and saw that the second replacement track’s status had changed to “removed.”




Fine. I right-click and tell it to add the song to iCloud. Opening the song’s info now shows the song’s purchase date, but now it’s Matched instead of Purchased.




Going into my iTunes Music Store purchase history I see that this track no longer appears (the other songs with dimmed ratings do appear… what was their deal?) Did this process remove the track from my purchase history? Or was whatever caused the removal from my purchase history the catalyst that set this ordeal in motion?




Searching for the artist in the store tells me that I’ve purchased the entire album.




… but my purchase history and iTunes Match tells me that no, I have not.


So now I’m worried both about future tracks magically degrading to Apple Music files, and also the random loss of my track ratings.


There’s another ITMS-purchased double-album of mine that caused issues when I first signed up with iTunes Match. The first “disc” was studio and the second was live recordings. I remember that a few years ago the long version was removed from the store for a while, being replaced with just the single, studio album. Later, it returned in the store, but with the “ (Live)” text removed from the latter-half of the tracks. My ITMS purchase history shows only the studio tracks and all the tracks in iTunes are listed in this weird matched-but-with-purchase-date state. Looking up this album in the store gives no indication that I’ve purchased it. If I play a song from this album off iCloud, will it get converted to an Apple Music track in iTunes too? I hesitate to find out.

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So this is the big problem with Apple Music and the iCloud Music Library that I reported on here:


The Real Difference Between iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library: DRM


I've been told that it's a bug, but I have no idea when it will be fixed. The problem is that once the tracks are shown in the library as Apple Music tracks, then the fixing isn't simple; your entire library needs to be resynced.


I'm surprised that the track in question doesn't show in your Purchased list though. I'll have to look at mine again and see if that's the case for any of them.

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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It’s frustrating that the ITMS purchase history isn’t really a record of purchases. It’s more like

this-is-what-you-bought-that-still-has-a-counterpart-in-the-store. Dimming the item with a “No longer available by label” indication would be preferable.

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