The Rough Road to Apple Music

On Tuesday last week Apple MUSIC was released. On Wednesday I updated my MacBook Pro to Yosemite 10.10.4 and the new iTunes 12.2. When I launched iTunes after the update it prompted me to enable iCloud Library. And I’m like, hey this sounds like a good idea. Just like with Photos, right? Everything in the cloud, synced to all my devices.

No. Not great. Far from great.

It didn’t take long and what I saw was a completely blown up iTunes Library.

I mean thousands of songs with wrong track names, marked as duplicates, wrong artwork, playlists destroyed or wrong content. iTunes looked like after an atomic war. The work of 10 years – gone.

It turns out, Apple customers who previously had subscribed to iTunes Match, then cancelled it, and had it expired, were affected by this. At scale. There were reports on Apple blogs and publications, and there was at least one long discussion thread on the Apple Support Forums. I have detailed how I finally recovered from this disaster at WARNING: iCloud Music Library just destroyed my Mac’s iTunes Library. Yes, I do think this should have been tested before. Just considering the number of customers who have had iTunes Match and then cancelled, should be quite something. Plus the intern knowledge about a cloud that obviously hasn’t forgotten, just hidden it from customers. But regardless.

If you have had a subscription to iTunes Match anytime in the past, do not upgrade to Apple MUSIC’s iCloud Library yet.

Other observations, during or after my journey to a working iTunes iCloud Library:

iTunes still comes with some pre-defined Playlists, e.g. 90’s Music, Classical Music, and a few more. This is nonsense. Historical. Why is iTunes asking me about my music taste, where I removed that type of music, just to create a playlist for me that I’m always deleting right away. Stupid.

iTunes keeps messing with my Artwork. I have spent a lot of time, anytime I ripped a CD or imported MP3’s I made sure iTunes could download the appropriate Artwork, or I manually searched for it and imported into iTunes. Now much of that is gone.

Deleting tracks from my iCloud Library isn’t all that easy. Just as with the Artwork, this is wide-spread phenomenon. Many users on the Support Forum have seen the same issue. I had better experience with deleting smaller chunks for tracks, not thousands at once. But ultimately, when I delete – and confirm that this will remove the tracks from iCloud and all my devices – shouldn’t it just stay like that? Deleted? Not come back over night? Another stupid bug that should be fixed.

Generally, Apple – or whoever I trust my Music files – DO NOT MESS WITH MY HAND-TUNED META DATA, track/album etc. names, Artwork, etc. Not at least without giving me an option to opt-out of this, or reject a prompt asking me to overwrite data. Good Lord, who are you to touch MY data. Yes, this is an angry complaint.

Along the way, enabling iCloud Library on my iPhone prompted me to merge or replace my Music. I chose replace, thinking that – since I now have all my Music in iCloud – this would make sense. Well, Apple thinks different. I then had both, previously synced tracks from iTunes, plus the content from my iCloud Library. So I had to disable it again, sync with iTunes to disable Music sync from there. Then re-enable it to get to a clean state.

At the end of the day, I now have all my Music in the cloud. Easy access to Music. A very nice family sharing subscription. And like my daughter recently said: “Why do you even think. You’re going to pay until you die. And when that happens, I just take over.”. Good point!

Apple MUSIC. Locked in. Forever.