Finally... weeks later - and with the re-ripping of a couple of The Mavericks CDs I still needed... I'm done.
- when I started, I had 5,000+ songs less than 256bit
- now that I'm finished, I have 250+ songs less than 256bit
- when I started, I had 3,000+ songs less than 256 AND were 'matched' in iTunes Match service
- now that I'm finished, I have 7 songs less than 256 and still matched by iTunes Match service
- I downloaded approximately 3,000 songs from iTunes Match service to replace lower grade/quality songs
Now on to what I learned over the course of the process...
- Some of the finite details do not work. List play count from an iOS device no longer syncs up with your library, this bothers me greatly.
- I would never pay monthly for this service. At 25 bucks a year, or even 50 bucks a year, I can handle it. It it was a 100% flawless service. Okay, so perhaps monthly (at a good rate), I might consider it.
- For whatever reason, some of the songs that are in the iTunes catalog will not "match" the songs in your library - therefore you can't download it at a higher bitrate... but upload it. Dumb.
- Get your library in pristine condition prior to signing up. It will make everything so much easier.
- The songs from iTunes, though DRM free, still have your account associated with it in the metadata.
- The finite details with iTunes Match can be annoying as you're trying to get things up and 'perfect', thus why I brought up the first point in this section
- If you love music, the service as a whole is indispensable.
- Having a library above 192 bit, I never thought it would be that much better. It is, in a big way, IMO. I hear things in songs I haven't heard before.
- It completely revamped my music. Or another way of putting it - it made my investment in music worth more.
- The songs from iTunes, downloaded, are of MUCH better/higher quality than the ones that had previously.
- (I can only state this since I used Verizon) Even with 1 bar of 3G, or no 3G, iTunes Match still works! It's... amazing.
Doing all of this really helped me get almost 9,000 songs in order. I found that I had a lot of duplicate titles from various songs that were on an albums - so those could be deleted. The same goes for some of the songs that I simply don't listen to anymore (or never have). Old "bootlegs" of songs that I was desperate for at that time (of rather horrible quality in comparison to the rest of the library) are gone. With pretty much everything at >256, it easily exposes lesser quality music. I'm over 8,800 songs now, so getting rid of 200 songs was worthwhile, IMO.
Now my library is a tight, fit, streamlined, library of music. No "crap", horrible bootlegs, songs never listened to / never gonna listen to, etc. Everything in there has a purpose. Songs, albums, metadata have been updated, broken track listings fixed. It's fit! It can easily bench press 400 pounds! 🙂
To handle almost 4,000 new files of bigger size, I also had to clean my hard drive. Having to clean it turned out to be a plus. At the start, I was really low on space (5GB) - but now I have a good 44GB left after all is done.
Even my wife loves this service, as it has completely changed the way she listens to music. It took her 32GB iPhone and gave her a music library of 88GB, and now she can't live without it. In addition to her phone, her 16GB iPad can now be used as a radio. This is new for her, as her iPad has now been taken to a new level of cool.
Fun tidbit... I had a modest collection of The Frames' music but I didn't know some of the B-sides that I had at really low quality were matched. I downloaded them with iTunes Match, and BANG! Then, I found out they re-released their first three albums remastered. I then bought the second album (as it had a rare song on it - as in it was part of the 're-release'). I only ever had a sucky 128 bit version of it (unmatched)... and wow... that song was awesome and it completely changed the entire album for the better.
As you can probably tell by now, I can just go on and on with this.
So to wrap it up, if I was asked "Is iTunes Match worth the trouble?" - I'd say a very resounding... "YES... very much so. Especially at 25 bucks".
This concludes the fourth installment of My Music Library Refresh Series reports, but stay tuned over the coming weeks/months for more thoughts on this continuing experience. If you missed the first three parts of the series, have a look at them here: iTunes Match Part One, iTunes Match Part Two, & iTunes Match Part Three.