Apple begins rolling out iTunes Match with audio fingerprint to Apple Music subscribers

One of the biggest complaints about Apple Music over the past year was that it wouldn’t properly match songs subscribers had in their existing iTunes libraries. That problem is being fixed by Apple.

Apple has been quietly rolling out iTunes Match audio fingerprint to all Apple Music subscribers. Previously Apple was using a less accurate metadata version of iTunes Match on Apple Music, which wouldn’t always match the correct version of a particular song. We’ve all seen the stories of a live version of a song being replaced by a studio version, etc.

Using iTunes Match with audio fingerprint, those problems should be a thing of the past.

If you had songs that were matched incorrectly using the metadata version of iTunes Match, the new version will rematch to the correct song. However, it will not delete any downloaded copies of songs you have in your library. This is a very good thing—we don’t want songs auto-deleting from our libraries.

This is, in fact, the same version of iTunes Match that iTunes users could pay for as a separate subscription since Apple began offering it years ago. I am one of those users. However, all subscribers to Apple Music will get the new version of iTunes Match at no extra cost. This update also means that all Matched songs will download DRM-free.

If you are a current iTunes Match subscriber and subscribe to Apple Music, you can let your Match subscription lapse when it comes up for renewal and still receive the same benefits. If you don’t subscribe to Apple Music and still want the benefits of iTunes Match, hold on to your subscription.

Personally, I’ll be holding on to my subscription for the near future, just to be sure.

If you subscribe to Apple Music, you don’t need to do anything to receive the new version of iTunes Match. Apple is switching over 1% to 2% of its users every day, automatically.

Apple is watching the rollout very closely as new users are brought on and are cognizant of the user experience during the changeover. Switching millions of customers over is going to take some time, so be patient, but know it’s coming.

If you are currently an iTunes Match and Apple Music subscriber, you probably won’t see much of a difference. We were already getting the benefits of iTunes Match, so there won’t be much change for us.

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber but don’t have iTunes Match, you will start to see “Matched” in the iCloud Status column of iTunes on your Mac as the service rolls out.

Apple has made a lot of improvements to Apple Music over the past year, but this is by far one of the most significant updates to come to the service since it was introduced.

  • Gary Bowen

    This is awesome. I’ve noticed some of my studio songs that were matched as live songs are now playing again as regular studio songs. Although I only ever had this issue on an iOS device in the music app, not in iTunes; But it’s working now on iOS for me.


  • havenyoung

    What about the DRM-free feature that iTunes Match provides? Will Apple Music now match the song as DRM-free as well?

  • This is cool. Do you think they’ll allow a shared iTunes Match subscription now? My family uses a shared iTunes Match library. We are willing to subscribe to the Family version of Apple Music, but in the past, this would lock out everybody but the original subscriber. Have they thought this through?

    • Ashley Flores

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  • jjoelson

    This is great to hear. I’m still baffled as to why Apple Music rolled out in the first place without the acoustic fingerprinting that they had already implemented for Match. The issues with live recordings/bootlegs improperly matching studio recordings was so predictable, and it’s difficult to believe that no one at Apple ran into that issue during testing.

  • CJ Ogle

    Can you reference your source on this information? I don’t see anything different on my machine, and don’t see anything mentioned in Apple’s website that would back these claims up.

  • princessgleek

    I have a question, will it only match songs which are streaming on apple music or will it also match songs which are only avaliable to buy stuff as Prince’s albums

  • Being an iTunes Match user from the get-go, today will be the very first day I contemplate signing up for Apple Music.

  • Michael DeRosa

    Does this mean I need iTunes to rescan my music library? I have some songs on a live album labeled as “Apple Music” and match to the wrong version. I deleted them from iTunes (copying the files to a new directory) then re-added them and then it correctly uploaded the right version of the song.

  • I just got charged $27.99 (CAD) for my annual subscription for iTunes Match. Is that a mistake? I thought Apple Music now incorporates the same functionality included in the $9.99/month subscription?

  • The Gnome

    I’d like to share my experience in meeting iTunes Match expire while keeping Apple Music. Exactly a month after my iTunes Match expired, my iTunes library blew up. Songs that were previous matched or uploaded now said “Apple Music”. I had to re-build from scratch and only about 80% of my music re-matched properly. Come to discover much of the matched music is available via iTunes Match, NOT Apple Music. e.g. Big Head Todd – quite a few albums not in Apple Music.

    Long story short I wish I hadn’t read these reviews and left iTunes Match in place. Now I’m still re-constructing my library of over 15k songs but at least having both in place is re-mathing things better than when I had just Apple Music.

  • Donald S. Andrews

    So, I buy a $16 CD and store it on my Apple device. Then, to back it up on iCloud I pay another $25? Rude.