Yesterday, I posted about how to set up and use the iTunes Match service. In addition to having your music available in the cloud, there is another reason why you might consider subscribing to the iTunes Match service, if even only for a year – it’s a great way to upgrade your existing iTunes library.
Jason Snell from MacWorld posted an excellent article a couple of months back on how to upgrade your music tracks to iTunes match so I decided to give it a try. What this does, is allows you to replace any tracks in your iTunes library with the 256 kbps version. In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that when iTunes finds a match for a song in your library, the 256 kbps version is added to your iTunes Match cloud, regardless of the encoding of the original. What this means is that you can delete the original and download the higher quality version that iTunes Match has provided. Following Jason’s article, I have outlined below the steps I took to upgrade my own library.
Step 1 – Backup your iTunes library!
This process involves deleting your original files so make sure you backup your library first.
Step 2 – The Smart Playlist
The first thing I did was to create a Smart Playlist for all of my files whose encoding was less than 256 kbps, whose iTunes status was “Matched” and whose type was music. Below is an example of the Smart Playlist that I used.
The result was every music file in my library that was less than 256 kbps and matched by Apple. I discovered that I had over 4,000 files that met this criteria
Step 3 – Deleting the Originals
OK, this is where things get scary. You are now going to delete all of those < 256 kbps files that are matched by iTunes Match. To delete the files, select them first, hold down the Option (or Alt) key and then press the Delete key on your keyboard. Make sure that you DO NOT CHECK the box that says “Also delete these songs from iCloud”.
Once you delete the files, a download icon will appear next to them.
If you are reluctant to delete thousands of songs at once, you might want to delete only some of the items in the Smart Playlist at a time, or set your smart play list to only show 25, 50, 100, etc. items at a time.
Step 4 – Downloading the 256 kbps songs
Once you’ve deleted the originals, you are now ready to download the high quality version of your files. To download them, click the little download icon next to the song name. Or to download multiple files, select all of the files with the download icon next to them, right-click and choose Download from the contextual menu. Once you begin re-downloading the tracks, they will come in at 256 kbps encoding, without DRM.
When you deleted your songs from the Smart Playlist, the list may have refreshed itself too quickly causing the files you just deleted to vanish from the list. No worries – just jump to your main Music library, sort the file list by the iCloud Status icon and then download your files. If the iCloud Status column is not visible, choose View > View Options from the menu and click the checkbox next to iCloud Status.
You can also create another smart playlist (which I did) that displays only those music files that are on the cloud but not on your computer. Then, select the songs, right-click and choose download. Below is the Smart Playlist that I used:
I mentioned that I had over 4,000 matched files in my library that were less than 256 kbps encoding. But rather than download all 4,000 songs at once, I downloaded a couple hundred at a time so as to not type up my computer (and bandwidth) all day.
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