updated 08:00 pm EST, Thu February 2, 2012
Apple said to be working on a fix
A flaw in iTunes Match may inadvertently replace "explicit" tracks with "clean" versions for some users, according to reports by Cult of Mac reporters and corroborated by users elsewhere. A later update on 9to5Mac indicates that at least one user has heard back from Internet Software and Services head Eddy Cue's office that acknowledged the issue and said the company is working on on a fix.
The "clean" and "explicit" tags on songs in the iTunes Music Store are there to help buyers determine which version of a song they want (as in the case of Cee Lo Green's recent chart-topping hit "Forget You," which started off as a more explicit song) or help parents prevent children from accidentally downloading music laced with profanity or graphic sexual terms. Though the tags are provided by Apple, it is the record companies that generally do that tagging themselves, and they who determine which songs are "explicit."
The flaw, however, appears to originate in the iTunes Match software, ignoring user preference and replacing the stored "cloud" version of a song that might be "explicit" with the "clean" version. The local copy on a user's computer is not altered unless the user replaces it with the iCloud version. The iTunes Match service has proven popular with users, offering a way to both backup music purchases (whether from iTunes or not) and access large libraries using mobile devices, saving users from having to "swap out" music and use up valuable storage space for songs.
The service, considered an "add-on," goes beyond the free iCloud's automatic "cloud backup" of iTunes purchases and offers to store a user's entire music library (including up to 25,000 songs iTunes can't immediately match) regardless of size or source of the music files. The service costs $25 per year, provides access to the user's music on any of their authorized devices with an Internet connection, and uses the high-quality 256kbit AAC iTunes copy of a song if available, even if the source file was ripped at a lower bitrate.
The bug has been around for at least a couple of weeks, and has primarily been reported by rap music fans, though profanity or explicit lyrics are often found in other genres as well. An unnamed engineer responded to a complaint from one user, saying the company is investigating the issue and working on a fix. However, he offered no temporary workaround for the issue. Whether the user's original intention was retained and is simply ignored or whether users will need to indicate to iTunes Match which version they'd prefer was not specified. [via Cult of Mac]