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iCloud Music Library better with iTunes Match?

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So I subscribed to Apple Music on launch day, and as was apparently the case with many people I had my iTunes library pretty much destroyed. Had to re-enter a lot of metadata and reorganize things. Even then, I've kept having problems with my other devices not displaying the correct artwork or the correct artist photos, and getting mismatched tracks.


After Apple released iTunes 12.2.1, I tried resetting my iCloud Music Library using the method descbribed here, hoping it would help improve things:




Unfortunately, that didn't help at all, even after resetting it twice. So I tried one last thing, which was to subscribe to iTunes Match (I've never been an iTunes Match subscriber before). I really didn't expect it to help, as I figured it must use the same algorithms as iCloud Music Library and so would have the same problems, but I figured what the heck, let's give it a shot. So after subscribing to Match, I reset and rebuilt my iCloud Music Library once again and surprisingly, I got an almost perfect sync of my iTunes library with my other devices through iCloud Music Library.


Before subscribing to iTunes Match, even some tracks purchased on the iTunes Store would get the wrong artwork or even the wrong music on my iPhone and iPad through iCloud Music Library. Now with iTunes Match, they display the correct artwork and play the correct music.


The only two problems remaining are:


- John Williams is represented with a picture of Yo-Yo Ma on my iPhone and iPad (!) when sorting by Artist view.


- Ennio Morricone is represented with an old B&W picture of some lady on my iPad, although it is represented with one of my Morricone album covers on my iPhone. No idea why it's not the same picture on both devices.


Has anybody else tried activating iCloud Music Library before and after subscribing to iTunes Match? I'm wondering if others are experiencing this. I'm not sure if iTunes Match's algorithms are different than Apple Music's, or more strict when trying to match song titles, or why it would work better after becoming an iTunes Match subscriber...

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I find the information in your post very interesting. I already had an iTunes Match subscription when I turned on Apple Music and the iCloud Music Library feature. I did this before all the horror stories started to appear, and I experienced no problems at all. I don't know why I was lucky and others were not, but your post makes me suspect that maybe iTunes Match was what saved me. I had already put a lot of work into tweaking my library over the past year or so, tracking down and fixing the occasional failure of metadata to sync, etc.


In any case, I'm very pleased with the combination of Apple Music and iTunes Match and will definitely renew iTunes Match when it comes up for renewal. Of course things could blow up at any time, so I'm keeping backups. But so far so good.

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The matching algorithms are exactly the same. I had terrible problems when I turned on iCloud Music Library, but I have discovered the cause, and I will be publishing an article about that, either today or Monday. (Not trying to be a tease, but I'm still waiting on confirmation of a couple of things.) I think that article may explain why many people had the issues they do, though there may be other problems that aren't the same as mine.


In any case, I'm very, very hesitant about anything that changes tags and artwork...

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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Thanks Scott and Kirk for your replies.


I'm also eager to read your article, Kirk. I've had all sorts of problems when first turning on iCloud Music Library. For example, I use the "Sort by" field to sort artists and composers by "last name-first name" even though I display them by "first name-last name ". iCloud screwed that up on several tracks and replaced my "Sort by" fields with the main Artist and Composer fields. A lot of work just to re-tag my "Sort by" fields.


Maybe the most ridiculous problem happened well after turning on iCloud Music Library. I added the soundtrack to "The Book Thief" to "My Music" from Apple Music in iTunes. Everything played fine there but after it automatically synced to iCloud Music Library, my iPhone and iPad played track 21 as music from one of the Indiana Jones soundtracks. So it doesn't only screw up your existing iTunes library, but it can't even correctly sync new music you download from Apple Music. I managed to get a correct sync of that track only after subscribing to iTunes Match.

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