I’ve used iTunes Match for quite a while now because my music setup is fiddly.
My iTunes library is quite large, so until a couple of weeks ago, the files reside on a RAID connected to my home Mac mini.
My main computer isn’t the Mac mini, however, but a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. Even though it sports a 512 GB SSD, I don’t want to sacrifice disk space to music I’m not going to listen to, so I use iTunes Match to keep the two libraries connected. I can download what I want to my laptop, or delete something I don’t, all without affecting the home library directly.
That was fine until a couple of weeks ago, when I upgraded to a NAS and put my 2-disk RAID out to pasture. Now, my iTunes library resides on the NAS on its own share. The Mac mini is running the iTunes application, pulling the files via SMB2 over Ethernet.
(It works shockingly well now that I read that sentence back.)
However, it came to light this weekend that the copying of my iTunes library hadn’t gone smoothly. I had some files missing, and others with bad metadata all of a sudden.
I couldn’t nuke the music from the home library with iTunes Match-supplied files — or files from my notebook — because the service had spread the bad metadata around my little ecosystem of pain.
I should point out that this isn’t iTunes Match’s fault. Really, the system worked just as it should have: iTunes detected a change in my library and synced it across my devices.
However, I wasn’t able to get iTunes Match to see correct data if manually changed. I would straighten out an artist just to watch iTunes Match sync and change it back.
So I started over.
Like every other cloud service Apple offers, there’s no man-behind-the-curtain preference pane to reset things. There’s no toggle labeled “Reset iTunes Match” anywhere.
However, iTunes Match can be tricked into being reset.
I started by launching iTunes from the Dock with the Option key held down, which let me create a new iTunes library. With this new, empty library, I logged into iTunes Match. This displayed my music collection as iCloud sees it. I hit Select All and delete, removing the files from iCloud.
It took a little while for iCloud to notice all my music was gone. I use iTunes Match on my iOS devices, so I erased all my local music on my my iPad and left it awake on my desk to keep up with what iTunes Match was doing. After about 20 minutes, the iPad showed no music.
Once it did, I turned off iTunes Match in the new library. I then copied my music from my known-good, local iTunes library into my new, completely empty iTunes library. It took a little time (and considerable disk space) for iTunes to copy all my music over.
Once the import was done, I re-enabled iTunes Match and let it scan my library. On its first pass, it only picked up purchased music, so I created a Smart Playlist to tell me what wasn’t on iCloud:
I selected all this music, right-clicked and selected “Add to iCloud,” forcing iTunes Match to take the music. After the service did its thing, my iTunes Match data fully matched my local, known-good library, ending the cycle of bad meta-data and mis-labeled songs.
All in all, I like iTunes Match, and this issue wasn’t the service’s fault, but Apple should allow users access to reset their data when things start to spiral. All of the juggling I had to do took a good amount of time and bandwidth, and it shouldn’t have to be so hard to straighten things out when needed.