How to subscribe to and set up iTunes Match

Since Apple just recently launched their iTunes Match service for users in the United States, you might be curious how to subscribe? Luckily, subscribing to iTunes Match is just about as easy as making an App Store or iTunes music purchase. Once you're all paid up -- it's $24.99 a year -- and set up, you'll be able to access an online version of your iTunes library via iCloud from devices such as your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and AppleTV without physically having a computer to stream from.

  1. First launch iTunes on your computer and make sure you are running iTunes version 10.5.1 or higher.
  2. Next you should see an iTunes Match section under Store in the left hand pane. Select it. (If you don't see this, you can alternately go to the iTunes Store homepage and select iTunes Match from the Quick Links section on the right. This option was missing for me at first and then magically appeared... weird.)
  3. Next you'll need to click Subscribe to iTunes Match for $24.99. You'll be asked to input your iTunes password. (You'll only see the not taking subscriptions message when the servers are slammed. If you get this, just try subscribing later.)
  4. Next click iTunes Match in the sidebar just like you did to purchase it and you should now see an option to add your computer. Do so by clicking the Add this Computer button.
  5. iTunes will begin Step 1: Gathering information about your iTunes library. In this step Apple scans all your songs to see what's in your library.
  6. In Step 2: Matching your music to songs in the iTunes Store, Apple compares your library to the massive iTunes Catalog. Anything that already exists in the iTunes Catalog is immediately made available to you in standard iTunes format -- 256Kbps AAC with metadata and album art.
  7. Step 3: Uploading artwork and remaining songs takes any other music in your library -- anything Apple couldn't match with the iTunes Catalog -- and uploads it to Apple's servers so it will still be available to you from the cloud (albeit in its original format, if that format was worse than iTunes standard.)

Troubleshooting iTunes Match

A few things you'll want to pay special attention to:

  • iTunes Match can only handle 25,000 songs. If your library is bigger than that, iTunes will refuse to match it. About all you can do right now is create a new iTunes library on the same computer with a subset of your songs -- no more than 25,000 -- and use that library to set up iTunes Match. (Just make sure you don't copy your music into new folders, leave it in its existing folders or you'll waste a lot of disk space.)
  • iTunes Match isn't currently doing a great job actually matching a lot of songs. It could be an issue with metadata, if the song information is really different between the iTunes Catalog copy and your local copy. You could try updating the metadata on your local copies before going through iTunes Match, but it can take a lot of time and results may still vary. (Anything iTunes doesn't match gets uploaded to Apple's servers, so you still have access to it, but in its original form, not the iTunes Catalog copy in 256Kbps AAC with "official" metadata)

That's it! iTunes Match should be happily processing, matching, and uploading your library. In the meantime, let us know how the setup went for you, and if you have any issues, jump into our iTunes Match Forum and get some help!

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 28 comments. Add yours.

Daniel says:

Isn't it 25$ per year?

Schump939 says:

$24.99 a month or $24.99 a year?

Not says:

It's $24.99 a YEAR, not month as you wrote in the opening paragraph. Wake up before you write!

Guest says:

Wow. I sure wish I was perfect, such as yourself. Sheesh.

DiveBum says:

A couple of things, Your article says " Once you’re all paid up — it’s $24.99 a month..." I believe it is $24.99 per year.
Something else, you can not pay for iTunes Match with an iTunes gift card. You are required to have a credit card on file with the iTunes store. I found this out yesterday.
~B

Dancó says:

"Once you’re all paid up — it’s $24.99 a month"- it for 1 year

John_7711 says:

If my girlfriend and I share my iTunes account, but we have separate iCloud accounts, do we just pay one $24.99 fee for us both to use iTunes Match?

Moogy123 says:

Why didn't you wait until you finished uploading before you made a video ?
It would have been nice to see how it actually works on the ATV

cardfan says:

Apple tv doesn't need tp stream from cloud, since it streams from PC. All other iOS devices have to download to device that need this ability. Pointless..

cardfan says:

Apple tv doesn't need tp stream from cloud, since it streams from PC. All other iOS devices have to download to device that need this ability. Pointless..

DiveBum says:

So it (iTunes) will take the money out of what you have as "credit" prior to tapping the credit card?

RC46 says:

My results were terrible. Itunes only matched about than 50% of my collection of 8000+ songs. On top of that, I have 3000 songs that were ripped from my vinyl album collection. Itunes did not match a single one even though all of them have perfect meta data and artwork attached. I wish I could get my money back.

ChrisxJacobsen says:

You can get your money back within 15 days of signing up by contacting apple.

RC46 says:

My results were terrible. Itunes only matched about than 50% of my collection of 8000+ songs. On top of that, I have 3000 songs that were ripped from my vinyl album collection. Itunes did not match a single one even though all of them have perfect meta data and artwork attached. I wish I could get my money back.

Amar Shah says:

iTunes Match deleted my playlists on my phone since I have them set to manually sync! Apple always is trying to delete shit!

MacHarborGuy says:

I have my playlists set to automatically sync, and it still deleted those.
it also doesn't let me keep my podcast playlists (although the podcasts are still on my phone).

albertda says:

"Step 3: Uploading artwork and remaining songs takes any other music in your library — anything Apple couldn’t match with the iTunes Catalog — and uploads it to Apple’s servers so it will still be available to you from the cloud (albeit in its original format, if that format was worse than iTunes standard.)"
Does this use your personal iCloud storage space or some other vacant Apple server space?

Dancó says:

It uses your personal iCloud storage space

Thom says:

Thanks for the info. So does this mean you don't have to store the songs on your iPhone and iPad?

Moogy123 says:

I think if you would like to hear them, they must be downloaded

Moogy123 says:

I think if you would like to hear them, they must be downloaded

Thom says:

Okay thanks for the info.

Thom says:

Okay thanks for the info.

LanceWebb says:

iTunes Match results "No Music" !!!!
The only thing I can think of is that my music is not locally on my computer, it is on my Windows Home Server. Ideas?

Bill says:

I'd pay $25 once to match the music I've already purchased. I won't pay $25 each and every year. I'll pass on iTunes Match.