What Happens When You Get to 25,000 Tracks on iTunes Match

Apple’s iTunes Match is a $25 a year service that lets you match tracks from your iTunes library with music in the iTunes Store, store your music in the cloud, and stream or download it to different devices. It can be practical for people who want access to their music on the go, as long as they don’t have too much music. My iTunes library is currently around 70,000 tracks, so I’m nebula non grata; I have a second iTunes library that is almost as large. So iTunes Match doesn’t work for me.

That 25,000 track limit is a brick wall. When you get there, strange things happen to iTunes Match. I was reminded of this when Dave Hamilton tweeted something today.

Screen Shot 2015 01 27 at 3 16 16 PM

First, Dave didn’t actually go above 25,000 tracks. While the iTunes window tells him there are 25,003, he told me he has about 500 purchased tracks. iTunes doesn’t count them against your limit.

So in another 500 tracks or so, he will hit that wall. When that moment arrives, iTunes Match can act very strangely. Here are some of the things that users have reported.

  • iTunes Match may no longer upload new tracks, even after a user has deleted tracks from the cloud to get under the 25,000 track limit.
  • iTunes can seem to update iTunes Match without any progress.
  • Downloads may not always work.
  • Syncs of songs and playlists stop working correctly among devices.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on how many tracks you have in the cloud, so you don’t exceed the 25,000 track limit. To do this, check the iTunes Match screen, which you can see above, but take into account how many purchased tracks you have. To find this number, you can make a smart playlist with the following conditions:

Screen Shot 2015 01 27 at 3 26 40 PM

In my iTunes library, it shows that I have a whopping 4,176 purchased tracks. (I bought a few big “digital box sets,” such as the Dylan and U2 sets, which, together, make up about 1,200 tracks.)

Subtract this number from the total to see how much wiggle-room you have.

Next, you may want to delete some music from the cloud; music you don’t listen to often. Keep local copies of it, then delete it from your iTunes library. Select the tracks, then press Command-Shift-Delete (Control-Shift-Delete on Windows). When you see a dialog asking if you want to delete the tracks, check Also delete these items from iCloud.

Screen Shot 2015 01 27 at 3 29 59 PM

So, iTunes Match can be useful, but if you have a lot of music, and continue to acquire more, keep an eye on that 25,000 track limit.

6 thoughts on “What Happens When You Get to 25,000 Tracks on iTunes Match

  1. I’m pretty sure I’m hitting the limit, I’m probably a couple thousand songs away after subtracting the iTunes purchased songs.

    I’ve really backed myself into a corner by living in the Apple iTunes world. The only reason I still buy CD’s is that I want to rip them in a higher sample rate. I also find old or imported blues and jazz music not generally available on iTunes.

    I already maintain two iTunes libraries, one ACC and the other AIFF. I I guess I’ll be pruning the ACC/iMatch library. What a shame. Having access remotely to my entire music library via iMatch was really nice.

    I would gladly pay for the ability to store more music in iMatch. I suppose it is Apple’s iTunes universe and they don’t owe me anything The bottom line is they make no money other than user fees if I don’t buy ACC files from me. I guess it it like bringing in wine into a restaurant. I’d pay Apple a “corkage fee” 😉

  2. I’m pretty sure I’m hitting the limit, I’m probably a couple thousand songs away after subtracting the iTunes purchased songs.

    I’ve really backed myself into a corner by living in the Apple iTunes world. The only reason I still buy CD’s is that I want to rip them in a higher sample rate. I also find old or imported blues and jazz music not generally available on iTunes.

    I already maintain two iTunes libraries, one ACC and the other AIFF. I I guess I’ll be pruning the ACC/iMatch library. What a shame. Having access remotely to my entire music library via iMatch was really nice.

    I would gladly pay for the ability to store more music in iMatch. I suppose it is Apple’s iTunes universe and they don’t owe me anything The bottom line is they make no money other than user fees if I don’t buy ACC files from me. I guess it it like bringing in wine into a restaurant. I’d pay Apple a “corkage fee” 😉

  3. I’m sure the 25,000 track limit was imposed by the labels. Remember how everyone was able to upgrade their library to iTunes Plus, regardless if those tracks came from questionable sources?

  4. I’m sure the 25,000 track limit was imposed by the labels. Remember how everyone was able to upgrade their library to iTunes Plus, regardless if those tracks came from questionable sources?

  5. I didn’t want to different libraries for my itunes. I want everything backed up and available via the cloud. To resolve this I added google play and I which allows 50,000 songs. problem solved.

  6. I didn’t want to different libraries for my itunes. I want everything backed up and available via the cloud. To resolve this I added google play and I which allows 50,000 songs. problem solved.

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