As up-to-date as I stay on music, I’m not always an early adopter when it comes to the latest music technologies. When everything went digital, I had a hard time giving away the tangible feel of CDs, which now I would never waste time buying, but at the time seemed like a huge thing to sacrifice. Now that everything is going to the cloud, I am again having a hard time of giving away the possession of an MP3 file.
While I haven’t quite committed to a monthly streaming service like Spotify or Rdio, I did become an early adopter in going ahead and taking the steep $25-a-year plunge on iTunes Match, iTunes’s cloud service. iTunes Match does primarily a couple things; it allows you to stream your entire iTunes library from your iPad or iPhone without having to take up space playing them, opening up space on your device, and allowing you to add and remove music files wirelessly so you don’t have to stream at any time.
While I’m no Apple-head (I am typing this on a PC and I didn’t cry when Steve Jobs passed), I am more than grateful for many of Apple’s products, most obviously the iPod and iPhone inventions, and constantly have both with me at all times to my wife’s disgust. iTunes Match, however, is not one of their finer creations, and is actually not much better than a virus you pay for.
Here are the three reasons I can’t stand iTunes Match:
It’s not intuitive
Apple is renowned for usability and I would say it is the one characteristic that separates the iPhone from every other smartphone; every app is intuitive and extremely easy to use.
When it comes to iTunes Match, it is extremely painstaking to add and remove music from your Apple device (you have to do it one artist, album, or song at a time). Whereas most Apple devices require little to no instruction to use, I have had to search extensively how to do a number of basic functions with iTunes Match.
Streaming is useless
When streaming music on my iPhone, I literally feel like I have gone back in time to the mid-90s when I would try to stream video on a 56K dialup modem. The streaming speed is so slow and buffers so often it makes the service utterly useless. You can also choose to download the songs onto your iPhone, which is the better route to go, but you still wait several minutes for this to complete and then the music is taking up space on your iPhone (which completely cancels out one of the main reasons for having iTunes Match).
It’s impossible to get rid of
Not only is the streaming useless and the software completely difficult to use, but it’s a cancer to my music library; I can’t shake it. After using iTunes Match for ten days and being completely and utterly dissatisfied, I attempted to get rid of iTunes Match on my iPhone and in my iTunes. I have tried three different methods, and still that stupid cloud shows up beside several of my music on my iPhone, indicating that iTunes Match is still on there. Not only that, but music magically decides to appear and disappear from my iPhone completely on its own accord. I know Florence & The Machine is independent, but I didn’t know she had the ability to appear and disappear from my iPhone music library whenever she wants to. I would pay $25 bucks again just to get it out of my life.
All these things not to mention mediocre sound quality with streaming, incredible amount of bugs with what does and doesn’t show up on your iPhone and show up correctly, and a total data suck if you don’t have an unlimited data plan, and you have a pretty worthless service. This is something that maybe in five years when 3G is 6G and there are a wider range of benefits to be provided with this, then I could see this being a halfway worthwhile service. But at this point, use the $25 on worthwhile Christmas gifts for your loved ones, not a music virus.