January 15, 2012

iTunes Match – Track Upgrades

I subscribed to the new iTunes Match service recently, and today figured out a cool outcome for previously ripped music from CDs. For $25 iTunes scans your music library and will match and upgrade your music (if necessary) to the iTunes Plus format, which is 256kbps AAC, without any DRM.

I then wanted to know which tracks had been replaced / upgraded, and the answer is that iTunes doesn’t automatically overwrite your locally stored ripped tracks, but uses the replacement iTunes Plus AAC format across all your other iDevices (iPhone, iPad) when you stream or download tracks.

So I though, how do I actually upgraded the tracks on my Mac? The answer is this:

  1. Click on your Music collection and use the List view, with the columns at the top
  2. Right mouse on the column headings and add the “iCloud Status” column
  3. Look for the “Matched” items
  4. If you right mouse click and look at the summary tab, you can see the date and format that you ripped these
  5. To replace a track, delete it from your library, but not iCloud (right mouse click and Delete)
  6. Then, click the cloud icon to download the 256kbps AAC replacement
  7. When you right mouse properties on the track the format will now say “Matched AAC Audio File”
  8. If you want to do this in bulk, select all the Matched tracks and delete them from iTunes, but not iCloud
  9. Select all the Matched items again and go to File->Download (I think) and it will add all of them to the download queue

The end result is all the tracks you ripped in the past are now upgraded to 256kbps AAC, without DRM, and even better, if you decide to leave the iTunes Match service, you keep the tracks you upgraded.

Of course this all assumes the format and bit rate you ripped your CDs at is of lower quality that a 256kbps AAC – personally I’d used 192kbps & VBR in the past which I was happy with, but for this price an upgrade to a higher bit rate is a good deal.


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