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Apple Music wish list: iTunes needs a "mismatch and force upload" button

I've been really lucky when it comes to my library working well with iTunes Match and Apple Music, but other users haven't been so lucky. One of the biggest complaints I've heard since Match's launch—and echoed with more force after Apple Music debuted—is the "mismatch" problem: Essentially, you have one song in your library, and when Apple Music or iTunes Match analyzes it, the services accidentally match it with a different song in their collection.

Learning curves

As bugs go, this is actually not very surprising: Apple's matching algorithms are smart, but they're going to make mistakes—all services of this type do. Live tracks seem to continually give Apple's music matching feature trouble, as do tracks that are differently mastered (the Beatles Mono set comes to mind; iTunes Match insists on matching it with the iTunes Store's stereo copies).

Here's the problem: Apple currently offers users no way to easily report this issue. The best you can really do as a non-developer is to go the Apple Service and Support page and let the company know, but that's cumbersome and involved. Developers and beta-testers have access to Apple's Bug Report radar system, but even that requires submission of several written steps and device information.

Apple does suggest resetting your iCloud Music Library{.nofollow} as one way to fix temporarily mismatched tracks, but it's not addressing the root of the problem—tracks the algorithm simply fails to match properly.

Solution: Take a page from Maps

When Apple was premiering Maps, the company knew its map tiles were inevitably going to have mistakes, bad directions, and incorrect places data. As a result, the company built a "Report an Issue" button right into the main section of the Maps app. If users find something that's incorrect, they have only to tap the button at the bottom of a place-of-interest pop-up, or via the information button on the main Maps screen itself.

There are still a few questions to answer, yes, but it's an easy way for users who care about this stuff to give Apple information, in-app, and hopefully get their problem fixed.

Apple has this system in place for the Maps app. Why couldn't the company bring it over to the Music app and iTunes on the Mac?

In a perfect world...

I add a new live version of the Mountain Goats's "Cotton" (opens in new tab) to my Mac's iTunes library. iCloud sees this, and scans the track, accidentally matching it to the studio version from We Shall All Be Healed.

I see the error, right-click on the song, and select "Report an issue with Matching". iTunes submits the report, then a pop-up asks me if I'd like to replace the match error by forcing iCloud to manually upload the track, rather than match it.

I say yes, the live track uploads, and I go on with my day.

Doesn't that sound a whole lot nicer and easier than our current situation, Apple?

If you agree with me, or you're an Apple engineer who can make this magic happen:

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Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

9 Comments
  • I want a "Shuffle all music" button on the top of the My Music page.
  • I'd also like some way of telling them that they've failed to match something AT ALL.
    I have over a dozen albums, that I know are on the iTunes store, yet my iTunes match status goes 'Matched, Matched, Uploaded, Matched, Uploaded, Uploaded, Matched, Uploaded'. I've also located a few songs, that claim to be matched, but when I stream the supposedly matched song, it's a completely different song (in one case, not even the same artist). So yeah... they've got work to do alright.
  • Even more important - why can't my family member (with a family sharing plan on Apple Music) see our home library?? I've been an iTunes Match subscriber since the beginning. Now that we've gone to Apple Music, and she's using her own iTunes account (with family sharing turned on), why can't she see our library of matched music??
  • I'm a DJ who uses iTunes Match to keep things synchronized between all of my devices. At my last gig I tried to play Cee Lo Green's Forget You. I did not want to play the NSFW other version, F You, but that's what ended up playing. Even thought it was clearly supposed to be "Forget". Nothing I could do after it started playing and I realized what was happening. Now I don't really trust my local files to be exactly what they say they are.
  • This. A 100 times this. Apple has mismatched some of my favorite songs. One of the craziest is "Up The Junction" by Squeeze, from their greatest hits album, which it replaced with a live version. If you can't even match an artist's greatest hits properly, what chance do deep tracks have?
    Another fail was "Fire Door", from Living In Clip by Ani DiFranco. It matched it as the studio version from a different album, instead of the live version, which is completely different and one of my all-time faves. If a track is listed as part of a commercially available album, why would you even look outside that album for matches?
    It really should be just as easy as Ren describes. Until it is, I'm not cancelling Google Play Music, which has gotten it right every time.
  • At least give us the option to pick our own match from the iTunes store. That would solve my problem.
  • I even purchased tv shows from iTunes this weekend and they were missing the season. I had to go put it in manually. I used to be able to option click in recently added playlists area and delete something but delete no longer comes up when I option click since the update. : ( Hope they will keep working on the bugs.
  • I figured out my "Living In Clip" issue. It's a 2 CD set, which I own. I ripped it, and the two CD titles were named with "(Disc #)" appended. iTunes, being digital, has it as a single album; no Disc 1 and Disc 2.. Also, iTunes lists the track as "Fire Door (Live)", Basically, these are all differences from whatever library my PC drew from when ripping the CDs. So, no matchy. To set things right, I removed my version from my iPhone, added the iTunes version of the album to My Music, then Make Available Offline. This is about as good as it can get if Apple Music is relying on their names to do matching. I did the same with Squeeze, deleting my version and downloading theirs. Not ideal, as it will disappear if I stop paying, but I have a feeling that music as a subscription is going to be the norm for a while.
  • I also want a "Force Upload" option. I had a hunch Apple Music matching would screw something up, so I created a new iTunes Library just for Apple Music drm tracks, and slowly subbing in music I own that isn't available for streaming (i.e., the Beatles catalog). Every track should have uploaded in mono from the Mono Masters box. With iTunes Match, nearly every mono track was matched to a for-sale stereo version. Not what I wanted. Apple Music match had an average of one song per CD that Apple Music matched to a stereo version — a version that *should not* be available at all to be matched for streaming.