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iTunes Match Expands To Latin America, Netherlands, Baltics

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the en-el-mundo dept.

Cloud 47

Sir Mal Fet writes "iTunes Match, Apple's service that allows re-downloading all your music, ripped CDs, and other music files across all your libraries using the iCloud service, has been made available in most of Latin America, the Netherlands, and the Baltic states. " Here's one user's review of the service. Is it worth the $25/year? Do you use the service?"

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Speed? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725344)

Can /. give me a real world speed report?

On a relatively modern linux desktop at home, google music manager uploads about 100 songs per day at 128 K limited upload (a fraction of my upload pipe, and I like to keep it that way).

Thats 128 kilobits per sec / 8 bytes per bit * 1024 bytes per kilobyte * 60 secs per minute * 60 mins per hour * 24 hours per day / 100 songs per day = 13.5 megabytes per mp3 file. Wait a second, somethings not right there. Hmm. I should be uploading more like 1000 songs per day at 128K upload but I'm only getting about a tenth that.

I can't run itunes (easily) on my linux desktop at home can someone advise me how fast itunes match "matches up"? I can't use it so I don't deeply care, but it is interesting in an abstract sense.

Re:Speed? (4, Informative)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725882)

Can /. give me a real world speed report?

On a relatively modern linux desktop at home, google music manager uploads about 100 songs per day at 128 K limited upload (a fraction of my upload pipe, and I like to keep it that way).

With iTunes Match, if a song in your library matches a song that Apple already has in it's library, it doesn't upload it all. It registers that you own the song and will download a 256Kbps DRM free version to your other computers/devices -- whether or not you bought the song from Apple.

Re:Speed? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726070)

Which is why I wonder how they could possibly have gotten approval from the labels to do that. They have shut down similar services in the past that provided less service.

Re:Speed? (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726220)

Leverage. You don't just say no to your biggest retailer [arstechnica.com] . It also makes business sense because the labels get some of that iTunes Match money, all without any effort from their part. Just goes to show what we could have had by now if someone had stood up to these guys before Apple came along.

Re:Speed? (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726564)

In other words, there's some side benefit to allowing Apple to create a monopoly in that particular market. I wonder what would have happened if instead we told Apple to stop abusing their monopoly and actually allow owners of competing products to buy from the ITMS early on.

Re:Speed? (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727240)

That's not a monopoly. Monopoly = 1 seller, many buyers. Owners of an iPod could buy music from anywhere + the iTunes store, owners of other devices could buy music from anywhere except the iTunes store (for DRM'ed music, other players could play non-DRM AAC files.) It's more like an exclusivity agreement.

Re:Speed? (2)

vakuona (788200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38728274)

Actually, owners of other devices can buy music on iTunes too, all without DRM. Video is another matter, but Apple has considerably less clout with the film companies.

Re:Speed? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726322)

Which is why I wonder how they could possibly have gotten approval from the labels to do that. They have shut down similar services in the past that provided less service.

Apple's paying the labels for it. They paid a good chunk ($250M?) for the priviledge of setting up iTunes Match, and an unspecified sum every year in licensing fees. That's all it takes. The other lockers (Amazon, Googke, etc)? They're not paying a thing. Legal right or wrong, if you pay up, they leave you alone.

And while it could lead to music laundering, do remember that all the matched tracks "disappear" when you cancel iTunes match. What I mean is that you lose the right to download the higher quality matched music - the m4a files that are already on your hard drive will stay (iTunes won't delete them). So if you want to cancel, remember to download from iCloud before doing so.

An interesting thing - iTunes Match will PRESERVE metadata. It doesn't overwrite any metadata in matched files with that from the iTunes Store. So if the matched songs all have "RELEASED by MusicWaReZ!" in the id3 tags, the m4a's will also have that. (The upside is that your careful cataloging work won't be disturbed). Of course, this also leads to change instability where updating metadata may not get synced back to iCloud.

What I'd like to know is if "Complete my Album" works with iTunes match (I'm guessing it doesn't). That would allow those of us who bought CDs and ripped them to get at the "digital album bonus" by simply paying for the missing track or two and such.

Re:Speed? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726574)

$250m for all you can pirate music doesn't seem like a very good deal for the recording industry. You may very well be right, but it just surprises me that they would allow it after all the fight they've had over such things previously.

Re:Speed? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727394)

The labels have lost that revenue anyway, convincing people to "legitimize" pirate content is an uphill struggle (most people can't afford to anyway.) At least this way they get some revenue out of it. And they can still come after you for that content since there's no record of it being officially bought. So they lose nothing but gain revenue.

Payment is per user.... (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727846)

$250m for all you can pirate music doesn't seem like a very good deal for the recording industry.

That was just a guess on the OP's part.

In reality since everyone is paying $25/year for the service, you know the music companies are getting some cut.

Even though it seems like a small amount it's a lot of money they were not seeing previously. And most people will be buying tracks anyway.

What I'm curious about is if indie labels get anything from this if iTunes ends up Matching something they own.

Is iTunes on the web yet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725380)

Is this still the store which doesn't work with web browsers, or have they fixed that by now? Last time I looked at iTunes, there was no way to use it without a special client program. You couldn't buy, download music.

People think I'm crazy but it is(was?) really like that. How the hell are they taking over the world while ignoring the web?

Re:Is iTunes on the web yet? (1)

whargoul (932206) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726558)

You can but if you'd rather bitch than look for it then I'm not going to give you the link.

Re:Is iTunes on the web yet? (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727596)

Honestly, I don't have much of a problem with that. Maybe it's because I only use iTunes for syncing my iPod, and it makes sense to me that an external device would need a special client to handle the sync. Also maybe because I buy most of my games through Steam, so I'm used to having a special client for that too...

Apple doesn't have to take over the web to "take over the world". They invented the iPhone. Now you carry iTunes AND the web with you in your pocket.

Convenience vs Cost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38725486)

They basically are charging you for the ability to redownload music and the convenience to autodownload all your files onto all your devices (rather then having to manually transfer it). Now, you could argue that it should work like steam and not be charged for what should already be yours (license? product? who knows at this point). That said, there is a cost associated with each transfer, though an insanely small once. Some might find it convenient especially those who care not to backup their music and desire less hassle. I, however, find it pointless though as i'm the type that keeps backups of any files i like to keep unlike the vast majority of consumers.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (4, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725540)

I find it useful, because it basically keeps my phone and my laptop (my main pc) in sync without me ever having to do anything. (such as plug the phone into the laptop and take the sync manually)

Most on /. won't like the idea of living in Apple's ecosystem, but if you're using an iPhone anyway it's convenient.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725662)

They basically are charging you for the ability to redownload music and the convenience to autodownload all your files onto all your devices (rather then having to manually transfer it).

No, that's basically a description of the free google music system. It works pretty well if you have the patience to upload (it has a cap of 20000 songs and I've calculated that would take me something like 6 months to upload at my current measured real world upload rate)

I thought the advantage of paying for itunes match was you get to automagically upgrade your cruddy 128K rips to 384K or lossless or whatever.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725830)

I thought the advantage of paying for itunes match was you get to automagically upgrade your cruddy 128K rips to 384K or lossless or whatever.

I actually had one record that was ripped at 56 Kbit/second. Had to manually convert it to 128 KBit/sec because iTunes match doesn't touch anything at less than 100 KBit, but then it was matched and replaced with 256KBit/sec.

It also matched many songs that come straight from LPs. But that is a bit hit and miss; I think the song length must be right, and a separated them by hand. If you are lazy and just record one LP side as one 20 minute song, you obviously won't get any match.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726140)

It also matched many songs that come straight from LPs. But that is a bit hit and miss; I think the song length must be right, and a separated them by hand. If you are lazy and just record one LP side as one 20 minute song, you obviously won't get any match.

Song matching definitely isn't perfect. I have one album for which one half of the files matched and the others didn't. But overall only 15% of my library didn't match which is pretty good considering a big part of that is local bands and demo's that wouldn't be on iTunes anyway (also AC/DC apparently isn't sold through iTunes at least in my part of the world.)

Re:Convenience vs Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38726098)

No, that's basically a description of the free google music system. It works pretty well if you have the patience to upload (it has a cap of 20000 songs and I've calculated that would take me something like 6 months to upload at my current measured real world upload rate)

6 months to upload? Are you on a 56k upload? Welcome to old-school ...

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38729874)

limited it to 128K. If I calculate the numbers its only using about 20K which is weird.
I have I2P and freenet and VOIP and a ton of other things trying to share the same bandwidth.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727134)

No, that's basically a description of the free google music system. It works pretty well if you have the patience to upload (it has a cap of 20000 songs and I've calculated that would take me something like 6 months to upload at my current measured real world upload rate)

I had similar concerns, but it's not that bad if you do it right. I had about 15,000 tracks to sync (I have diverse musical tastes, and yes, I have actually listened to all of it) and it took me a few nights at max upload and a week or so of minimum during the day while I was using the computer for other things.

Unless you're actively using your internet connection 24 hours a day, or have a lame-ass bandwidth cap, you might as well max out your upload when you're not actively using the internet connection. If you're on shit-tier DSL or dial-up, though, I concede that you will be sitting there for years...

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725908)

No there's other services. I also have access to my entire music library from my iPad, because it downloads songs directly from Apple if you want to hear it, rather than just the songs that I could fit on the iPad manually. And I have also "upgraded" a lot of my music from crappy mp3's (with bitrates like 128kbit and below) to shiny new 256 AAC files through Match. Overall I'm pretty happy with the service though I'm waiting to see how often I end up downloading songs to my devices over the course of year to see if I'll justify renewing the subscription next year.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (0)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726388)

People talk shit about Steam a lot, but you can always redownload your games and content at 0 charge. The lack of this is one of the things that prevented me from getting an iPod/iPhone and using iTunes at all.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726518)

Downloading past purchases from the App Store, iBookstore, and iTunes Store [apple.com]

"To download previously purchased apps, books, music or TV Shows to your computer

Open iTunes 10.4 or later on your computer. (You can download the latest version of iTunes here.)
If you're not already signed in, click Sign In and enter your Apple ID and password.
After you've signed in, click Purchased on the right side in the iTunes Store under the QUICK LINKS the section.
From your Purchased page, click the tab for the content type you're looking for (Music, TV Shows, Apps, or Books).
Click Songs or Albums to change the page view and All or "Not in My Library" to view your purchased content that currently is not downloaded on your computer.
Click the download icon to the right of each item to download that item."

People talk a lot of smack about Apple too. Often based on poor information.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727672)

Oh my. I seem to recall a time when this wasn't possible. You think it would have been done with a little more fanfare.

It is a bit convoluted, though. It'd just be easier to list everything in the library and grey out what you don't actually have downloaded like Steam does. Nice that you can actually redownload with iTunes now - I'll have to reconsider my purchasing decisions, then.

It was always possible (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727796)

Oh my. I seem to recall a time when this wasn't possible.

Even in very early days of iTunes you were allowed to re-download everything once or twice a year. It was a more manual process then though (I think you had to call).

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38728032)

It is a bit convoluted, though. It'd just be easier to list everything in the library and grey out what you don't actually have downloaded like Steam does.

That's the way iTunes Match does it too. To be honest iTunes itself is showing its age (11 years old now), I think Apple has a hard time rebuilding it each to keep up with the times.

Re:Convenience vs Cost (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727648)

I think the main thing people worry about with steam is what if the steam authentication servers go down, or Valve goes out of business, or something just plain up and corrupts your account for whatever reason? If you have games on that account that you didn't have downloaded then you're out of luck (If you did have them downloaded then you're fine, just tell Steam that you don't have an internet connection).

Didn't MP3.com get sued to pulp over this? (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725646)

Apple are as Gods among men if they got the record companies to agree to this, even for $25/yr.

Re:Didn't MP3.com get sued to pulp over this? (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725974)

I think they've been selling files without DRM for a while now. Old files that were bought in the DRM era still have it, but I think you can do things to the DRM-free ones like convert them to MP3 now without having to burn them to a CD and then re-import.

Maybe there was some agreement made with the record companies at the time they changed up the DRM policies that is in play here.

Re:Didn't MP3.com get sued to pulp over this? (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726060)

They stopped selling DRM'ed files a while ago now. If you still have DRM'ed files you can upgrade them through iTunes to non-DRM files for a small fee per song (something like 10 cents, I forget the exact amount) or if you have match you can delete the song and redownload the non-DRM version after it matches.

Re:Didn't MP3.com get sued to pulp over this? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727352)

No, Apple just waited until the time was right. The music industry is slowly realizing that they have to update their business model, and Apple being a major distribution channel is helping them realize that quickly.

The labels must be kicking themselves for not realizing this sooner, but at the same time they can say they had a choice back then and don't now.

And who knows, Apple may have been trying to do this for a while, and finally succeeded, and we only know about the success.

Re:Didn't MP3.com get sued to pulp over this? (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 2 years ago | (#38732958)

Big problem is that the music industry has long relied on media upgrades to bring in big income. LPs -> cassette tapes (once more popular than LPs) -> CDs -> digital files. It was generally easier to buy new, get better features, rather than upgrade on your own...

Unfortunately for them this can't really go any further... High quality 256k AAC from very high quality masters is about as far as normal humans can use. And I doubt there's going to be some new kind of physical media that is inherently better in some magical way than flash memory is...

Re:Didn't MP3.com get sued to pulp over this? (0)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727420)

I been using Spotify 10 dollars month unlimited music. Apple lately seems to be trying to rip people off every service from Apple seems to cost lately. Spotify and Rapidity are the future of mobile music market.

Spotify is totally different (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727750)

Spotify lets you listen to any music they have in their library, from anywhere. It all goes away when you stop paying for Spotify.

iTunes match lets you listen to any of YOUR music, anywhere. That includes rips of CD's no longer sold, live recordings, etc. If you stop paying for iTunes match you still get to keep everything you downloaded (which you should have anyway since you uploaded it to begin with).

Nice but with teething issues (4, Informative)

mccalli (323026) | more than 2 years ago | (#38725758)

I'm subscribed. When I subscribed, I had about 3.7k files < 256kbps (I remember the numbers because looked to see if it was worth it). After the matching, I now have ~ 1k files at < 256kbps. Of those, most are non-commercial tracks that have never appeared in any other form (hello http://remix.kwed.org [kwed.org] ) - I download their quarterly playlists.

So overall, a good job and I'm satisfied it saved me a ton of time upgrading my own rips. However that's the good - time for the bad.

Artwork. Artwork has been a mess. When I initially matched, I noticed a lot of my tracks had poor quality artwork (not due to match, they always had them). I went through and fixed them all - a few moments later, Match came back and blatted everything - right back to poor quality artwork again. Making it accept the newer high quality has been very hit and miss, usually involving deleting the track frmo my library and Match then re-importing - even then it doesn't always work.

That's artwork everywhere. Now to specific problems with the iPhone. I turned off Match due to a bad wi-fi area I was in - I had a connection, but couldn't get anywhere. As soon as I turned Match off, all artwork was wiped from my phone. Turning Match back on again appears to have randomly reinstated some artwork and not others.

Sorting. I had some hassle again and turned Match off on the iPhone. I then put it back on again, and suddenly the sort order of my artists was massively out - I have artists starting with K appearing under the 'I' section. It's not random, the artists are actually sorted in alphabetic order, however if you use your thumb to scroll down directly to letter 'M', for example, the first artist listed is James Newton Howard. Hmm....

The other thing is that I'm not sure I'll stay subscribed next year. As a labour-saving initial hit, the price was worth it for me. Now my files are matched anyway, I'm not sure it's worth it for me any more -I'm just as happy with the wireless syncing.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Nice but with teething issues (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38729040)

So, you're going to bugreport.apple.com and writing bugs about the artwork problems, right? You only need a free "online only" account. While there is also "provide iTunes feedback" in iTunes, sending a bug report via bugreport.apple.com will go more directly into the bug system and I think makes feedback (was it fixed/dup/etc.)/more questions easier or even possible at all.

It sounds like you have some pretty specific good details about the problems that could help solve them in the future.

Yeah, products should work perfectly before they're released.. But I think having an official way to report bugs is good (e.g. TiVo doesn't, and while I'm a huge TiVo fan, I could report a ton of reproducible bugs, even though many are not showstoppers, I'd love to get them into an official bug system).

Didn't see the point ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726058)

Is it worth the $25/year? Do you use the service?

When they announced this, I didn't really see the point.

I'm not buying new music from my iPhone (because I don't have one) and expecting it to show up on my computer ... I'm not buying songs on my computer either. Pretty much all of my music is ripped straight from CDs I've bought, and my music library is currently > 70GB.

So, if I need to update my iPods or my iPad, I just plug them into my computer. My iPod classic holds the entire library anyway, and my smaller iPod and iPad get sync'd with what I tell them. At a certain point, the 16GB or so of music they each have is days worth, so it's not like I run out.

I'm obviously not the target audience for this (not least of which because I'm not willing to pay) ... but I don't know the benefit of having my music "in the cloud". The only cloud stuff I've ever used is DropBox, and even after a few months, I barely used that anymore.

Having said that, I'm sure that for someone this is a highly useful feature ... but I think you'd have to be purchasing content on the go a lot more than I can even conceive of.

Re:Didn't see the point ... (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38729080)

I haven't signed up for it myself, either. It seems like you're missing something, however. If your CD-ripped music is ripped in a lower quality, it will "automagically" be upgraded, if it matches the iTunes library. Yes, you'll have to then download it (which some could argue is just as bad as having to manually upload everything to the other services, but it seems slightly different to me, since you already have all of your local music to use in the meantime, as you upgrade to the higher-quality versions over time).

If you already ripped everything as lossless or higher than they're provided, then maybe yeah, it's not for you. (Though it seems to me you would be able to sync your "smaller iPod and iPad" over the air, and change what they have live, rather than only when you manually sync to a computer and iTunes.. would be useful to some.)

Re:Didn't see the point ... (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38731332)

If you purchase music on the go (from iTunes) you don't even need iTunes Match to enjoy the benefit of over-the-air sync. Stuff you buy on one iDevice is 'pushed' to your other iDevices (and PC) anyway. iTunes Match is really aimed at people with large CD-ripped libraries.

I think it's worth it (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38726422)

I subscribed, and I was glad I did when I was able to upgrade a bunch of my MP3s to iTunes Store AAC files, with whatever quality improvement there is in going from an amateur's MP3 encoding to a studio's AAC release. Mostly, I find that the music sounds a little louder, which could be the result of other factors like the store using a newer remastering, for example.

It's nice having my entire music collection on my iPad, but I actually have so much music (about 100GB), apparently, that I often crash iTunes on my iPad 1 when I first load it. It comes up on the second launch.

Re:I think it's worth it (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 2 years ago | (#38733030)

[...sounds a little louder....]

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war [wikipedia.org]

Consider that what iTunes store has is the most recent remasterings, and not the old ones from your old CDs.

Most of my music was ripped by me from CDs I bought in the '80s when CDs were new tech. A lot of horribly crappy quality CDs were turned out then, and which thus fail to "iMatch" for me now... :(

Can't disable iTunes Match (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727404)

The "iTunes Match" option NEVER disappears from the menu bar at the left.

Even after you've disabled the iTunes store under "parental controls", it's still there. Even after you click "No Thanks" it's still there, asking you to subscribe for $25/year. (this is itunes 10.5.1.42 on windows).

Either shoddy programming, or an insidious attempt to get more money out of you despite the parental controls.

Works for me (4, Interesting)

MikeMo (521697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38727628)

First, the match part replaced bunch of crappy rips with their higher-quality stuff, and I'm not just talking about bit rates. A lot of rips out there just sound bad, and the ones I did from vinyl have the obligatory vinyl noise - the match is clean.

Second, I have way more music than fits on my iPhone. Having the stuff in the cloud solves that problem very nicely.

Third, it just works the way it should - stuff I buy or "acquire" on one device is automagically available on all of my other devices. Makes the notion of doing syncs - wirelessly or not - seem quaint.

I'd say it's worth it (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38728294)

About 60% of my music is cd-ripped, and I don't have the discs anymore, so if anything happened to my hard drive I'd lose the lot. For £21/year, that music is up converted to 256kps (I ripped at 128kps years ago - my bad) and downloadable to my phone too, at any time. Plus, and more importantly for me, it's backed up offline.

As an insurance policy, I think £21 is pretty good value.

Interesting experience (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38741996)

Yesterday, I had something funny happen with iTunes match. I was streaming Weezer's "Perfect Situation," off of their "Make Believe" album. I heard a chorus at the end of the song that I'd never heard before. I then hopped over to my computer with the actual rip of the CD that I made, and low and behold, the chorus at the end of "Perfect Situation" wasn't there!

iTunes match also can't handle pausing while streaming. Often I have to restart the song if I pause it while streaming.

I also found streaming from iTunes match on my iPhone to be somewhat sketchy, so I disabled it and switched to Android.

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