I took the iTunes Match plunge this week. I was anticipating the service as Apple enthusiast and a commuter who listens to music in several different locations. Since the demise/theft of my iPod Classic, I have only been able to access my full music library from home.
I was initially frustrated with the service, but with a few days under my belt I’m warming to it. Pros and Cons below:
- Access to your whole iTunes library on up to ten devices. For me that includes my Macbook, iPhone 4, iPad 1G Wifi, Apple TV, and work Windows 7 PC.
- Inexpensive at only $25 a year
- Plenty of storage space for my music collection, which is about 6,000 songs
- High quality audio content
- Access to Genius Mixes from several locations
- iOS Device downloading and streaming can be a huge pain. iTunes Match initially deletes all the music on your iOS device, and forces you to manually re-download each song. There’s really not an easy way to do this. And since 3G speeds can be spotty and slow, it’s too difficult to download as you go. Especially if you listen to your music in the subway or on a plane without access to the cloud. Data limits can be a huge problem as well. My best work around has been to set up a playlist with all the music you want on the iOS device and download all while sleeping. This isn’t full proof either, since your iPhone will occasionally time out and ask for a password. You also have to turn off auto lock. It would have been much better if Match could have just read your current library and filled in the missing songs with the cloud icons.
- No adding audio files manually. Related to the above, but still annoying.
- No audio files over 200mbs. Not a huge deal, but I have a couple of home grown audio books with huge files. I need to figure out a way to edit these files myself.
- iTunes Match is buggy as hell in Windows. It continually timed out and froze while initially communicating with the cloud. I had to let it sit in the “not responding” stage until it finished. I’m blaming both Windows and iTunes equally. But I think it’s something Apple should have figured out prior to launch.
- Doesn’t store podcasts in the cloud. You still need to manually sinc your device if you are a podcast enthusiast.
I know their seems to be more cons than pros, however, I still think iTunes Match is a worthwhile and overall beneficial service. It just has a few bugs and requires a little more initial set up than I would have expected from Apple.
I think my biggest disappointment is that iTunes Match doesn’t “just work”. Something I’ve gotten spoiled with since my switch to Apple products. It doesn’t quite feel ready for the prime time. This worries me that one of the first major product releases since the passing of Steve Jobs came out this buggy.