Tag - ITunes Match
Following the release of the first e-book volume of MacNN Pointers, we are offering another, shorter publication intended to help users -- a free PDF file called iTunes: More Than Just Your Music, a guide to exploring the various free and paid options for streaming music available through iTunes on OS X and through some third-party programs. The guide focuses on the differences between the built-in and free Internet Radio guide, the currently-free iTunes Radio feature (which will soon be folded into the subscription Apple Music section), Apple's flagship Beats 1 station, and of course the paid Apple Music services iTunes Match and Apple Music.
Apple is slowly rolling out upgrades to iTunes Match to its users, multiplying the track capacity of the cloud-based music storage service by four. Previously able to hold up to 25,000 tracks in the online music library, some users are starting to discover again that their account song allowance has been raised to a new maximum of 100,000 tracks in total, just as Apple said it would complete "before the end of the year."
In addition to today's update of the iOS 9.2 beta, Apple has also released a developer-only third tvOS 9.1 beta. The upcoming update, expected to be released early next year, will add promised but thus far missing features such as Siri control of Apple Music (Apple has already added Siri control of general searches and iTunes Match support). Also found in testing was some support for "app folders" as seen in iCloud.
In a follow-up response to his earlier remarks that the library size for iTunes Match and Apple Music subscribers will be vastly increased, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue now believes that the upgrade, originally thought to be planned for release with iOS 9, should come "before the end of the year." The change would allow subscribers to either service to store many more songs matched, but not purchased, through the iTunes Store for access on multiple devices.
We reported last week on fellow Mac journalist Jim Dalrymple's particularly bad issues with iTunes 12.2 and later on the Mac, centered around the arrival of Apple Music and Apple's attempts to blend the paid service's ability to store songs for later streaming or offline use with some customers' existing or previous iTunes Match libraries, which appears to cause much confusion, ranging from mislabelled entries in the iTunes library to missing songs in some cases.
A feature from the iOS 8.4 release pruned by Apple was Home Sharing for music. While possibly removed for licensing reasons, the true reason for the original omission was unclear. However, the feature has been reinstated to all devices, not just the Apple TV, with the new developer beta of iOS 9.
[Update -- not all problems are fixed] A problem in the new iTunes 12.2 update -- which including a substantial behind-the-scenes change to the database part of the program to accommodate the new Apple Music features, and which caused confusion in metadata and album art in song files -- has allegedly been fixed in a new update, bringing the program to version 12.2.1. The update, now available through the Mac App Store, is also said to correct a problem where uploaded DRM-free music in users' iCloud Music Libraries had been replaced with DRM-enabled Apple Music versions.
The heralded Apple Music service launch has accompanied a merger of iTunes Match with Apple's new streaming service. However, possibly to appease record labels, some significant changes have been made to iTunes functionality, including the removal of Home Sharing for music on the iPhone and iPad, as well as substituting iTunes Matched songs downloaded to a device with DRM-laden versions.
Just spotted on one of our reviewers' Facebook page: a music fan has written "so long Spotify, it was good while it lasted." Time will tell -- specifically three months of time, as that's how long Apple's giving for free -- but we're already impressed with Apple Music. Not so impressed, however, with the expected problem of it being difficult to download the necessary updates while everyone else in the world was trying to grab them too. Actively disappointed with the unexpected issues facing some unknown number of iTunes Match users, as well. Yet in terms of what Apple Music does, and what it's like, we actually are impressed.
The launch on Tuesday of Apple Music appears to be wreaking havoc with existing users of iTunes Match, the company's virtual music cloud storage service. Reports beginning yesterday and worsening today indicate that users who have not or are unable to currently update their iOS version to the just-released 8.4, as well as Apple TV users, are seeing issues including duplicate entries for artists and playlists, inaccurate album art, and a general inability to download or stream songs.