My Music Library Refresh with iTunes Match – Part One

I recently signed up for iTunes Match so I could update all the music in my library that is less than 256 bitrate. Being the perfectionist that I am when it comes to music, this is the only way to go. This idea exposed me to the fact that a lot of music needed to be re-ripped, as I used to rip my CDs at 192 back in the day. So, for all of the music that I own on CD, I had to re-rip back into iTunes at 320. For all of the music that has been downloaded previously lower than 256, I had to use iTunes Match to download. This process will be both fun and educational, so I figured I'd keep track of what I find and share it here on Vegau's Tech Blog.

And so, the documentation of my experience begins...


This is going to be almost as much work as it was back in my first music library refresh back in 2004. Now, eight years later, and approximately 60GBs more music/files, it's going to be time-consuming. So far I'm in the letter 'C' in my library.

Before I go any further, I'll give a brief set of thoughts behind the iTunes Match service. iTunes Match, when it works (I've had no failure BTW), works awesomely and is perfect for a music-lovin' guy like me. With it enabled on my iPhone, I now have iTunes Genius playlists, (not to be confused with regular Genius playlists). To me... this is the ultimate awesome.

I approach my music just like I do my movies - I only own it if it's worth my money and hard drive space. Period. With iTunes Genius playlists, I literally have a radio station of music genres, with ALL with MY music (not just 16 or 20Gbs worth locally). I have no idea what is coming on, but chances are, I'll like it because I own it. To me, this is the ultimate in music bliss and well-worth the price of 25 bucks a year. This is what I am most stoked about, hands down.
verizon lte towerAgain, Verizon delivers. Although their network is not as fast as AT&T's, it's definitely more reliable. It's this reliability that allows for a flawless iTunes Match experience whilst traveling. See... this isn't just my "local" music... it's my entire 80GB music library. Since I don't listen to 80GBs of music at a time, I didn't think I'd care about having such a large library.

I probably listen to 35GB of my music, but having all 80GB on a Genius Playlist is pure perfection. I just increased my library of Genius pulling stock 55% overnight. I'm not talking about iTunes selecting "radio hits" from my library - I'm talking deep cuts off of albums. This... this is awesome. The combination of radio singles and deep cuts by similar artists- not in my local iPhone library - is the ultimate. To sum up, I have never had a love affair like I do today with my music. I compare it to my iPod Touch back in 2008.

When it came to setting up iTunes Match, it took three solid days of it just running in the background. By day two I thought something was wrong. I stopped it, rebooted my Mac several times, etc.  In the end, nothing worked but time. I read online in a plethora of places about many people having the same issues - so all it took was time... and that's completely fine by me.

Now that all the music is scanned and "matched", I can delete any song and redownload it from iTunes at DRM free, 256Bit. I set up a Smart Playlist (luckily, more on that later), with it showing my library with less than 256 bit music, that is "matched". I've been deleting those songs, and then redownloading them with absolutely no issues whatsoever.

The only issue I've had so far is that Smart Playlists don't work all the time. THIS pisses me off. I never thought turning on a function would break another here in Apple's "MacLand".  It did though - and apparently it's a known issue in the community. Smart Playlists still work - it's just that "new" Smart Playlists sometimes don't work. I wish I had known this beforehand, but I'll keep learning as I go.

That's my initial report. Stay tuned over the coming days for more of my Music Library Refresh Experience.


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