Apple Music metadata is messing up your music

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Harsh terms, but probably not illegal.
Apple Music uses a less accurate method for song matching than iTunes Match.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

If you’ve been having problems with Apple Music and iCloud Music Library incorrectly matching songs in your library, you’re far from the only one. It turns out the reason is that Apple Music doesn’t use the same method for matching songs you own as iTunes Match does. This results in significantly more errors and frustrated users.

Though iTunes Match used acoustic fingerprinting to identify songs you own and match them for all of your devices, Apple Music uses the metadata of those songs. That means if you change something as simple as the title and artist, it could match to an entirely different song despite the unchanged audio. It’s not clear why Apple chose to ditch the more effective method for song matching in favor of the surface-level metadata.

Calm down and rock on; Apple isn’t adding DRM to your music

icloud-music-library-itunes-match
The only problem is when you start deleting files without a backup. Don't do that.
Photo: Apple

No, you won’t lose all your DRM-free iTunes music. At least, not without deleting your actual files and not having a backup. Apple isn’t adding DRM to your iTunes files, either.

The reality here is that Apple will not automatically remove any iTunes music files you own on your computer and replace it with a digital rights managed (DRM) file.

However, the convergence of iTunes Match, Apple Music, and the new iCloud Music Library can be confusing, and there is a small potential to re-download files you’ve deleted from your Mac as DRM-protected Apple Music files.

Luckily, the folks at iMore have a pretty fantastic, clear explanation of what’s going down here, and a pretty neat way to check and see which of your music files have been matched, uploaded, or purchased. Even John Gruber linked to it, so you know it’s good.

Mall Santas, ‘rollover’ data, and our most-wanted gifts on The CultCast

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Photo: izismile.com
Photo: izismile.com
Photo: izismile.com

Merry CultCast, boys and girls! This week: Santa gets a little “grabby”; Apple wins a major lawsuit; our iPhones deserve “rollover” data plans; the incredibly low payouts artists get from Spotify; and the high-end gifts we really want but will never get on an all-new Get To Know Your Cultist.

Thanks to Audible for supporting this episode. Audible, the home of over 150,000 audio books from practically every genre in existence. Grab our Leander Kahney’s book, Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, for free with a 30-day Audible trial.

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Catch the full show notes ahead.

Eddy Cue blames record labels for craptastic iTunes DRM

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itunes

Apple was forced by major record labels to implement digital rights management technology in iTunes, according to testimony in an ongoing class-action lawsuit that accuses Cupertino of stifling competition with competing music services.

Apple contemplated licensing its DRM, called FairPlay, to other companies, “but we couldn’t find a way to do that and have it work reliably,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services.

Escape Amazon’s evil Kindle empire with the cheeky Kobo Aura

Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Kobo's ebook reader trumps even the best Kindle on several fronts. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I just switched from Kindle to Kobo. Why? Amazon. It’s currently extorting publishing house Hachette by delaying orders and refusing to allow pre-orders for certain titles. The exact machinations are secret, but many people agree that Amazon is demanding discounts on ebooks.

I don’t want to see authors forced to get a second job to survive, so I switched. No more Kindle ebooks. I switched to Kobo, which has a great e-ink reader, a deep book catalog, and – most importantly – breakable DRM.

The results are mixed, with ups and downs for both the service and the hardware.