What Happens When You Quit iTunes Match for Apple Music

iTunes Matched Out

I signed on with iTunes Match the day it became available in Japan on May 2, 2014 then signed on with Apple Music when it went live in 2015. With all the startup bugs and teething pains of iCloud Music Library I kept both services running, but over time it settled down enough that I considered dropping iTunes Match. Serenity Caldwell’s iMore piece Do I still need iTunes Match if I have Apple Music? sez Apple Music does it all so I let my iTunes Match subscription expire. It did not go well.

Problems

  • No Longer Available: tracks in iTunes that were previously iTunes Matched showed on iOS but could not be played. iCloud Music Library Status in iTunes incorrectly listed them as No Longer Available without an iCloud icon
  • No iCloud Status: tracks in iTunes that were previously iTunes Matched showed on iOS and could be played but not downloaded. iCloud Music Library Status in iTunes incorrectly lists them blank when they should be listed as Matched
  • Incorrect iCloud Status: the vast majority of tracks (more than 1,000) in iTunes that were previously iTunes Matched showed on iOS and could be played. iCloud Music Library Status in iTunes incorrectly lists them as Apple Music when they should be listed as Matched

Workarounds

  • No Longer Available: I deleted the 121 tracks in iTunes, dragged the files out of the Trash, and added them back to iTunes. Warning: do not delete using “Remove Download” which instantly vaporizes local music files into oblivion instead of Trash, use the delete key instead.
  • No iCloud Status: They play on my iPhone but don’t download, left as is
  • Incorrect iCloud Status: They play on my iPhone, left as is

Conclusion
iCloud Music Library is supposed to be seamless but 3 years after the Apple Music launch the seams still show between the iTunes Store and Apple Music catalogs. They don’t always match up. The transition to Apple Music match should not be a problem if you do not have a large library of iTunes Match curated music. If you have a large iTunes Match library of carefully curated content however, prepare yourself for some iCloud Music Library downtime and cleanup as you transition to Apple Music match.

If you have a cataloging fetish, keep your iTunes Match subscription and your sanity.

UPDATE
The “No Longer Available” problem is more insidious than I first thought, “No iCloud Status” tracks suddenly stop playing and become “No Longer Available” tracks for no apparent reason. This is not fun.

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