iTunes 12, iTunes Match and “Removed” Files

Apple hasn’t said whether iTunes Match has changed at all, but I’m seeing an issue with a number of purchased tracks in my library with iTunes 12. I have about 60 tracks that show an iCloud Status of “Removed,” and which, while they are in my iTunes library on my Mac, they don’t show up on my iOS devices that use iTunes Match. The Removed status means, according to Apple:

“This icon appears when you remove a song from iCloud (from a different computer). Songs deleted from iCloud are immediately deleted from associated iOS devices, but will remain on other associated computers until you manually delete them.”

As you can see here, Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks album, which I purchased from iTunes, shows several tracks as Removed. Some show as Purchased, as they should.

removed 2.png

This is a bit confusing; I only use iTunes Match with one computer. Since they’re all purchased songs, I think this has something to do with iTunes Match itself, and since I didn’t see this in iTunes 11, something has either gone wrong on my Mac, or on the iTunes Match back-end. I did turn off iTunes Match and turn it on again, and that did nothing.

I found that if I select one of these tracks, then right-clicked and chose Add to iCloud, it gets added to my iTunes Match library as Matched, not Purchased. When I deleted some of the tracks, then re-downloaded them from my Purchased list, they showed up correctly as purchased. This is a problem, however, because most of these tracks come from Bob Dylan: The Collection, a digital box set of Dylan’s music I bought years ago, which isn’t tagged by album. So to find the exact tracks in my Purchased list, I’d need to spend a lot of time, as there are multiple versions of many of these songs.

I’m also seeing some tracks that show up twice, once as Purchased and a second time as Matched.


And on a number of albums, tracks show up as Matched twice. There is one copy in my iTunes library, and another in the cloud, and the durations of the tracks differ by four or five seconds.

Different times

None of these problems occurred with iTunes 11. It looks as though iTunes 12 did something to whatever database is stored on Apple’s servers, which contains information about your iTunes Match library. I have no idea how to fix this, other than, for the Removed tracks, re-downloading them.

As for iTunes Match matching, I tried with some albums where some tracks matched and others were uploaded – this shouldn’t ever happen; if the album is on the iTunes Store, every track should match – and I saw no change. This suggests that the iTunes Match matching algorithm hasn’t been improved, though it would require more rigorous testing to prove this conclusively.

So, if you use iTunes Match, think twice before upgrading to iTunes 12 (though if you do upgrade to Yosemite, you don’t really have a choice). Feel free to post comments if you’re seeing the same problems.