Apple Match Review

For the past couple of months I have been using the music subscription service Spotify as my primary source for listening to music.  With its ability to wireless sync with my iPhone and its offline playlists, I seriously considered it might replace iTunes completely, which I have never been a fan of.  However Apple recently came out with a service called Match which has me using iTunes again.  Match allows more functionality on your iPhone, replaces the arduous chore of manually syncing  to ITunes, and keeps all your music backed up in the cloud at a low cost.

More Functionality

Once you turn on Match on your iPhone  you get the functionality that you have been waiting for. My new iPhone 4S holds 16GB of data so it is impossible for me to put all my music onto it.  However with iMatch,  my iPhone lists my entire music library.  If I click on a song that I don’t have on my iPhone, Match will download it. 

image I have Kermit Ruffins on my  iPhone but do not have The Killers, King Floyd or Kings of Leon.  Therefore there is a picture of a cloud by those artists.  If I were to click on any of them,  I could download the tracks onto my phone.  You can download over 2/3G, it does not have to be WiFi.

When my device starts to fill up, I can delete a song, an album,  or all songs my a particular artist. 

If I want to delete a song from my iPhone,  I just swipe across it and the Delete button shows up.  I can delete a Song, an entire Album, or an entire Artist.  image

I can also create Playlist from my iPhone and add or delete songs from them.  These playlist will get synced back to iTunes and my other iPods/iPads.  So, I now have access to my entire music library on my phone and can create and edit playlists on the fly.

No Syncing 

Two years ago I was getting ready to run New Orleans Crescent City Classic. I was syncing my iPhone which took a large amount of time and when I got to the race, I found out that my entire music library was wiped out. I djay using iPhones and iPods and almost every time one of the devices is missing music. Manually syncing your iPhone with iTunes is unreliable and time consuming. When you turn on Match, you will never syncing your phone to get music again. Instead Match will leave the music that you have on your phone and when you want to get new music, you will click on the cloud button to download it.

image You can download a song at a time,  download an entire album, or an entire playlist.  I have a Playlist called 2011 which is all the music I purchased in 2011.  I simply have to click on Download All to get all of those songs on to my phone.  I don’t have to download each one. 

When you create a playlist in ITunes, it will almost instantly show up on your iPhone. If you want the songs on it, just click the cloud icon to download them. You have a 10 device limit you can use with Match, which includes macs and pcs. Match frees you from syncing your phone.

Seamless Backup

When you turn on Match, it scans your entire music library.  If it identifies songs that Apple has in its store,  it does NOT upload them.  Apple only uploads songs that it cannot identify.  This is pretty brilliant because instead of 100,000 people uploading Party Rock Anthem,  Match is smart enough to recognize that it already has it, and therefore you don’t need to upload it.  This is not limited to songs you purchased from iTunes so if you bought Party Rock Anthem on a CD and ripped it,  Apple could still recognize it and prevent you from having to upload it.  Unlike most services, there is no data limit.  You are not buying a locker that holds 10gb of digital music.  You are buying the ability to upload 25,000 songs.  If you purchased a song from iTunes,  it does not count against your 25,000 song limit.  I used about 7,000 songs, however I have purchased a lot of music from ITunes.  If you were to purchase a new laptop with a large hard drive,  you could download and install ITunes,  and it would download your entire music library.  You don’t need to worry about backing up your music anymore.

Conclusion 

Match costs $25 a year which makes it quite affordable.  It has a couple of little glitches but in general is a great service that I would recommend to other apple users.  The only big downside to Match is that it does not allow you to stream anything.  So if you click on a song on your iPhone, it will download it and not stream it.  I have a dell laptop with a solid state hard drive that I use as my main pc which does not have a lot of space.  Every song I click on will download,  it will not stream so I still have to do some management to free up space. 

 

Notes

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Obviously Turning on ITunes Match will start the service on your iPhone.  Show All Music allows you to see all music in your library no matter if it is on your iPhone or in iCloud.  If it is just in iCloud and you click on the song,  it will download to your iPhone.  If you turn off Show All Music, you will only see music on your phone and nothing else. 

It took me one night to get match setup which is a lot shorter then the experiences I heard with Amazon’s Cloud Locker.  Match only needs to upload songs that it does not have have.

I had some issues with Album art displaying on my phone.  This kind of resolved itself over a couple of days.

Match is really separate from iCloud which confused me.  I thought when I started using iCloud match was include, but it is really a separate service.   

Match works on your Apple TV, so it does not need to see a computer to play music.