Apple Music finally gets audio fingerprints from iTunes Match


apple music app
This fix might stop Apple Music from garbling your library.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple Music’s matching software has a terrible history of replacing artists’ live songs with a studio version, but that will finally be a thing of the past, thanks the addition of audio fingerprints from iTunes Match.

A quiet rollout of the iTunes Match audio fingerprint to all Apple Music subscriber is currently underway, fixing the less accurate metadata version of iTunes Match that was currently used on Apple Music.

Apple engineers visit iTunes user to troubleshoot issues


Get ready rock.
Apple is trying to solve its music issues.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Never let it be said that Apple doesn’t go above and beyond the call of duty in troubleshooting problems for its users in the name of achieving customer satisfaction.

After James Pinkstone, director of design service Vellum, posted a terrifying story on his company blog claiming that iTunes Match stole his files, Apple sprang into action — sending two engineers to his house to troubleshoot the problem.

The power of bad publicity, eh?

Apple Music metadata is messing up your music


Apple Music was one of 2015's biggest apps.
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.

Update makes iTunes Match play nice with Apple Music


Tired of Apple Music's playlists? Try something even more indie.
iTunes Match users get a fix with new iTunes version.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

While Apple hasn’t been adding DRM to your music, there must have been some issue with the service when paired with iTunes Match.

iTunes 12.2.1 is out now, and it contains a fix for any iTunes Match users who saw iTunes change some songs from Matched (which gives you access to high-resolution audio files that you own) to Apple Music (which will disappear if you let your subscription lapse).

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


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.