What is iTunes Match
iTunes Match is Apple's cloud-based music collection service. It lets you store music in Apple's servers for $25 a year. However, it is different from Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player. Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player work on the basis of uploading your music to the cloud and using a web-based player to stream the music. iTunes Match is different because it scans the music you already have in your music library and then tells Apple servers that you've got legitimate copies of your music files. Apple then gives you access to the music in their collection which is all encoded in 256 kbps AAC files with no copy protection whatsoever.
The service is excellent for people who have lower quality music files because it gives you access to the same files but in higher quality. Apple has a collection of over 43 million songs on iTunes worldwide, so there is a huge chance that it has high-quality versions of most of the songs you own.
If iTunes Match doesn’t have a higher quality version of a song you own, it will upload a copy of your music as well as store and sync it. With iTunes Match, all of your music will be streamable on any of your iOS devices and any machine running iTunes. This means that all of your music is safe in the event of a hard drive crash. As long as you’re an iTunes Match member, you’ll be able to get it back with no problems.
So why do I need iTunes Match?
Whether you need iTunes Match or not depends on your situation. iTunes Match has the benefit of easy synchronization and access to your music library at a high bit rate. It’s also relatively cheap at $25 a year. This comes up to a little over $2 a month which is quite a bargain. If you’re already heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem, it’s a great choice when it comes to a cloud-based music service.
It’s not all good news though. iTunes Match doesn’t let you stream your music in the same way as its competitors do. Whenever you try to stream a song, it downloads a copy of that song to your devices hard drive. This can get frustrating if you’d like to listen to a song and not have a downloaded copy sitting in your hard drive. It’s also a little annoying that you can’t stream your music through a web browser, you can only stream your music through your computers and Apple products.
Is iTunes Match worth it or not?
If you’re heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem, iTunes Match makes a lot of sense. It’s one of the best services on Apple devices to keep your music collection safe, and at $25 per year, it’s cost of upkeep is negligible. It will also work well with all of your devices. It saves you the hassle of uploading your entire music collection as it keeps your music backed up and synced without any fuss.
If you haven’t committed to Apple’s ecosystem, it doesn’t make as much sense. If you use an Android device, sorry about that but Apple makes it a little harder on Android. You need to download Apple Music on Android to use iTunes Match. If you use both PC and MAC and throw in an iPhone here and there, you should be fine.
However, a service like Spotify makes more sense as it acts as a hybrid with its premium service. If you don't like Apple forcing you to use iTunes software to manage your music, then you should stay clear of iTunes Match.