Do I need iTunes Match if I already have Apple Music?

Several years ago, I subscribed to iTunes Match. At the time, I had many CDs, which I transferred to my hard drive, and then to the cloud using iTunes Match. This has been an efficient way to have my music on all my devices.

In January of this year, I subscribed to Apple Music, and have saved a bunch of albums, etc. into my music library. So the current library consists of music that I own, as well as the Apple Music stuff (rented music for lack of a better phrase).

So my question is: Do I still need iTunes Match if I have Apple Music? The renewal for iTunes Match is coming due in December, and I’d like to figure out if I still need it. Any advice or insight is appreciated!


No, this functionality is already part of Apple Music.

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Does iTunes Match handle alternative versions of the same track better than Apple Music? I am constantly annoyed by AM substituting studio versions for live tracks etc.

Thanks for the responses. It looks like iCloud Music includes Apple Music and any iTunes Match subscription these days.

Also, I looked at my iTunes Account page, and the automatic iTunes Match renewal selection is no longer there, so it’s not clear to me whether iTunes Match just went away when I subscribed to Apple Music, or if something is amiss.

Keep in mind, the one critical difference between iTunes Match and Apple Music is that Apple Music songs are DRM restricted, and iTunes Match songs are not.

Practically speaking this is what this means:
You have Apple Music and you let it match up your library. You delete a local copy of a matched song (not an uploaded song), and redownload it, the copy you’ve just downloaded is now DRM-controlled and will not be accessible to you outside of Apple Music. Similarly, if you had a second mac, and rather than moving your iTunes library over you just log into iTunes and use iCloud Music Library via Apple Music, then everything you download (other than uploaded tracks) on that new system is DRM.

In contrast, with iTunes Match, if you delete a local copy of a matched song (not an uploaded song), and redownload it, the copy you’ve just downloaded is DRM-free and you can do whatever you want with that file (which is great if you are wanting to upgrade the quality on ancient 128kb MP3s you ripped in 2001). Similarly, if you had a second mac and downloaded your files via iCloud Music Library and iTunes Match, then everything you download on that new system is also DRM-free.

So think very carefully about what your needs are and subsequently how you manage files and local copies!

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Exactly. :heart_eyes: If you have a large library of poorly-ripped music, or low-quality downloads you ripped (or torrented), it’s well worth paying for a year of iTunes Match, then re-downloading your entire library from iCloud to get those nice, big high-bitrate songs. (Of course best practice first is to copy your old music library files somewhere and hold onto them … Just In Case Something Happens.)

Is this still true? I remember the early days where there was a difference on DRM vs non-DRM. I thought this was resolved a couple years ago. From the imore article linked above:

Apple Music switched to using iTunes Match’s algorithm. Rather than using the DRM-laden Apple Music catalog to match your purchased and ripped tracks, it now uses the iTunes Store’s DRM-free catalog.

Am I missing something Scott?

After Apple was permitted by the music labels to sell non-DRMed music there was an option for a time in iTunes to convert one’s DRMed songs to non-DRM versions for a price of something like 10¢/song. But now there are just two options to de-DRM old songs

  1. burn them to CD and reimport them, a free (lossy?) workaround that’s existed since the iTunes Store came into being
  2. iTunes Match

So that appears to refer to the matching algorithm and the library that is being matched against. It doesn’t actually say anything about which files are provided nor how they are provided (e.g., which directory on disk downloaded files end up in).