I’ve been using iTunes Match for a couple months now, and wanted to post some thoughts.
The initial matching and uploading process was pretty slow. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken if I was uploading everything like Amazon or Google’s music services. I had around 21,000 songs, and something like 3,000 did not match and therefore had to be uploaded. It took a long time.
After getting the initial process done, I’ve been using it in several places. My actual files have been hosted on a Mac Mini in my living room. Previously, I used Home Sharing (and Shared Libraries prior to that) to play my music on my laptop. To get music on my iPhone, I had to sync with my living room computer, which was a little bit of a pain.
iTunes Match results in several positives compared to that. 1) I can stream music from the cloud on my laptop. My Mini doesn’t have to be running to serve those files out over the LAN. 2) None of my music currently resides on my iPhone, but if I need to play any songs, they’re listed to be downloaded and played. I can also choose to download an entire playlist in one shot, as long as I have time to wait for it to download. 3) My PC at work has iTunes installed, and after signing in with my Apple ID, I am able to stream all my music at work, despite not taking up any hard drive space with my files.
I have also noticed a couple drawbacks. Even though iTunes says it matched my songs, I’ve noticed that some of the “matched” songs playing from Apple’s servers are censored versions of songs I had that were not censored. Mildly annoying, but not really a deal breaker. Update (May 12, 2012): This problem seems to have been remedied. I read in an Apple support forum that it was a known issue, and I’ve noticed over the last week or so that I am getting the right tracks now.
One thing I would like to see added to the service is some kind of podcast sync. I would like for all the podcasts i listen to to be available on all my devices, and I would like my position to be synced. I move from device to device and it would be nice if podcasts could pick up where I previously left off. I’m sure that’s something that will be added sometime in the future.
Overall, I’m very happy with the service, and I’ll definitely let it auto renew for the foreseeable future.