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iTunes Match: What It Is, How It Works, And How To Determine If It Will Recognize All Your Music

iTunes Match: What It Is, How It Works, And How To Determine If It Will Recognize All Your Music

iTunes Match, a $20 annual paid service announced at WWDC 2011 that backs up even your non-iTunes music purchases to iCloud, promises to scan your music library and match it to content in the iTunes store. Will it be able to match all your MP3’s? Read on to find out!

What Is iTunes Match?

This new service from Apple will serve to make all your ripped CD’s, converted vinyls, and other non-iTunes music available to you to access from all of your iDevices without having to store a local copy. One of the lingering questions surrounding iTunes Match is exactly how it will handle content not available from the iTunes store. In the WWDC Keynote, it was mentioned that it would scan your library and attempt to match your music, and then upload the remainder to iCloud.

Worried about how much uploading you are going to have to do when iTunes Match becomes available this fall? CultofMac reports that GraceNote, a software developer that offers a $30 iTunes plugin (more on that later) has provided a way to check on how iTunes Match will treat your precious audio files before it is released.

How Does It Work?

iTunes Match works by scanning your iTunes library and determining what is and is not available in the iTunes Store. Any music that is matched will be automatically added to your iCloud library for access anywhere, and most of your music is probably already in iCloud. iTunes will then provide high-quality 256Kbps quality matched files to fill your library with.

The technology, according to developer GraceNote (from their Facebook page), will be based on GraceNote’s MusicID software, which it will use to make its identifications and match your tracks. Gracenote’s MusicID is a fairly advanced music recognition tool. It can identify songs from audio streams, MP3, or titles ripped from CD, and match them against their own library of music metadata. Interesting, it’s already built into iTunes, where it is used to identify song and artist data for your ripped CD’s, as well as being integral to the iTunes “Genius” music recommendation function.

Ok, How Do I Determine Whether It Will Match My MP3s?

Gracenote’s MusicID also powers an interesting $30 iTunes plugin called TuneUp, which fixes mis-labelled tracks and albums, updates your song metadata, corrects items such as spelling errors and wrong album release years, and so forth.

The plugin as available now for both Mac and Windows, and because its based on the same technology, should provide a pretty decent idea about how iTunes will be able to handle your present iTunes library. If TuneUp can recognize your music, there’s a very good chance that iTunes Match will as well.

TuneUp shows up in the iTunes sidebar, and simply dragging your tracks over to it is all that it takes to tune up your iTunes library. It runs a “fingerprint: scan on the files, and patches up missing or erroneous data, then provides a log telling you what it did. Any song that it cannot recognize will remain unaffected.

You can see a video of it in action below:

What about you? What are your thoughts? Will you be signing up for iTunes Match when it becomes available? Sound off in the comments!