Yesterday I signed up for Apples highly anticipated iTunes Match service. This service takes all of the songs stored in your iTunes library and puts them in the "cloud". These songs are then available to play back at a high-quality 256-kbps on all of your computers and mobile devices (even if the original song you had in iTunes was of a lower quality).
The idea is great but I have had some compaints since subscribing.
First, I thought that I would be able to stream the songs from match to my iPhone. This is not the case, after turning match on, your phone wipes all old songs out of memory but when you try to play a song from the cloud it doesn't stream, it downloads to your phone. You can listen to the song as it downloads, but so far my experience has been that, on a 3G cellular connection, the download is slower then the playback. I am guessing that the download is slow because the file has been upgraded to a higher quality (larger file). As such, listening to songs on my ride to work today was very frustrating with lots of breaks in the music.
Another odd point, this song that downloaded now stays on your phone. One of the initial reasons I got match was because I wanted to free up some space on my phone by eliminating music. Now it looks like, if I want the music to play seemlessly, I will need to download all of the songs again. Whats really odd is that, since the quality of many songs has been upgraded, this will cause me to have even less available space on my phone then I did before!
On the Mac computer I CAN stream songs as opposed to downloading them. This is great and allows me to delete all of the old songs. Unfortunatly this is unnecessary - I am not concerned with space limitations on my Mac, it's my mobile devices that are running out of room!
I would point out that in my house I have a great wifi connection and the playback from match on my iPhone is seemless. This is nice, but unnecessary. In fact its redundant because in the past when I was at home I NEVER needed to have any music stored on my iPhone (or iPad)! I could utilize Apples Home Shareing capabilities (which allows you to stream music from your computer to any iOS devices) to achieve the exact same result. One better, when using Home Sharing, a copy of the song I just listened to wasn't left on my iOS device.
The one fix that I think could make iTunes Match alot better? - iTunes Match has to have the ability to stream to iOS devices and - like Netflix - the stream needs to adjust quality to the speed of the connection to avoid pauses in the playback. This will allow me to free up space on my iOS device but still give me access to my entire music library. If I want to, I can still download a high quality copy of any of my favorite songs that I feel I want a prestine version of on any of my mobile devices.
Anyone else using match? What are your thoughts?