How-To Computing: Upgrade Your Music With iTunes Match

11/15/2012 9:23:06 AM

How to trade-up your old, low bit-rate songs for a set of high-quality tracks

After a long wait the iTunes Music Store has finally reached our shores, together with iTunes Match. iTunes Match lets you upload your music to Apple’s iCloud, so you have full access to your music library wherever you are – as long as you have an iDevice and internet access. iTunes Match can also upgrade your low- quality music tracks to higher-quality 256kps AAC versions from Apple. Assuming you’ve signed up for the service, here’s how to do it.

Consolidate your Library

This step is optional; you only need to do it if you plan to delete all your lower quality files off your hard-disk later and let them be replaced completely with Apple’s new files. In iTunes, go to File > Library > Organize Library. Check both ‘Consolidate file’ and ‘Reorganize files’.

Once you do this, iTunes will copy your music tracks into its own folders; in effect you have two times the number of music files on your hard-drive so make sure you have lots of space. At this point, you can choose to hang on to your first copy as a back-up, or you can delete them off your hard-drive to save space.

Description: Consolidate your Library

Consolidate your Library

Have You Been Matched?

Before we continue, you just need to make sure that the iTunes Match process has been completed on your library. Basically, whether iTunes has analyzed your tracks and uploaded your library to the cloud. To check, click on the iTunes Match icon on the left pane to see your upload status. If you don’t see the iTunes Match icon, go to Store > Turn on iTunes Match.

Description: Have You Been Matched?

Have You Been Matched?

Get Smart

Make a Smart Playlist be going to File > New Smart Playlist. Use these rules:

·         Bit Rate is less than 256kbps

·         Media Kind is Music

·         Any of the following are true (to create this rule, PC: ALT + click or Mac: OPT + click on the plus button): iCloud status is Matched, iCloud status is Purchased.

Doing this will show the tracks in your library which are low-quality, have be uploaded to iTunes and thus and can be upgraded.

Delete the Old Files

Here’s where step one comes in handy. We’re going to delete all the tracks listed in your Smart Playlist, and you can choose either to delete them permanently or just off iTunes. Select all the tracks in the Smart Playlist, then hit delete to get them off iTunes but keep them on your hard-drive.

To delete them off your hard-drive, press PC: Shift + Delete, Mac: OPT + Delete. When iTunes asks, choose not to delete them from iCloud, but move them to trash. If you didn’t do step one, the option to move them to trash will not show.

Bring Them Back Better

After you’ve deleted the old tracks from iTunes, you can select all off them again, then right-click on the selection and choose Download. This will download new, higher quality versions of your old songs from iTunes Match. If you have a lot of songs, you can do steps four and five in batches.

If the music tracks disappear from the Smart Playlist after step four, you can create a second Smart Playlist to show them again. Use these rules for the second list:

·         Location is iCloud

·         Location is not On This Computer

·         Media Kind is Music

You can then right-click on the files shown to download them.

iTunes Match Icons Explained

When you turn on iTunes Match, you’ll see s whole bunch of new cloud icons appear next to your music. Here’s what they mean.

Description: Inaligible

Meaning: This song is ineligible for upload

Description: Removed

Meaning: This song has been removed from iCloud

Description: Error

Meaning: This song might be corrupt or there was an uploading error

Description: Duplicate

Meaning: a duplicate of this song exists in your iTunes library

Description: Waiting

Meaning: This song is waiting to be matched

Why can’t my song be upgraded?

What if you have lower quality tracks which just don’t match? There are a few reasons why this could happen. The first is that your song isn’t simply in your country’s iTunes Music Store. Not all countries get the same store, and some have larger libraries than others. Japanese artists, for example, aren’t in the Singapore music store at the moment. Another reason is that the song might simply be too low or even to high-quality; songs encoded at 96kbps and less or songs larger than 200MB aren’t eligible for upload. A song will also not be uploaded if it contains DRM (Digital Rights Management).

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