iTunes 12.2 and iCloud Music Library: A Disaster for Your Music Collection

| News

iCloud Music Library was introduced with this week's iTunes 12.2 and Apple Music release, and it's turning out to be a big bag of hurt. Instead of giving us a unified music library across all our devices, it's scrambling albums and tracks, and even adds DRM to songs you already own which will lock you out of albums you ripped from CD if you ever drop your Apple Music subscription.

Thinking about trying iCloud Music Library? Don't. It's a bag of hurt.Thinking about trying iCloud Music Library? Don't. It's a bag of hurt.

iCloud Music Library's problems start showing up after installing iTunes 12.2 on your Mac or Windows PC. Apple's forums are full of comments from users saying their album art, song names, and album titles get jumbled. The Who's Quadrophenia album art, for example, could be replaced with Billy Holliday's Lady Sings the Blues. Try to play Cream's Sunshine of Your Love, and you might hear Vertigo from U2 instead.

Some forum posters are saying other metadata for their songs and albums has been scrambled, too, and multiple copies of songs are appearing in their libraries.

One Apple forum poster said,

Got home and installed 10.10.4 and iTunes 12.2 on my iMac. It asked to turn on iCloud Music Library and I accepted. All of the sudden it starts overwriting my album art with completely wrong art (example: Weezer showed art for a Radiohead album) on both my iMac AND my iPhone, screwing up metadata by putting random songs in albums where they didn't belong (there was a Cursive album where the first track was listed as a Foo Fighters song). Even worse, when I'd click to listen to certain songs, it would play the wrong song/artist, like the metadata was hijacked.

The only fix so far is to restore your iTunes library from a backup and don't reenable iCloud Music Library.

As if that isn't enough of a headache, music uploaded to iCloud Music Library gets wrapped with Apple's Fairplay DRM copy protection. That means all of your music stored in iCloud Music Library copy protected regardless of the source. Translation: CDs you own and rip to your iTunes library will get copy protection added so if you stop using Apple Music you'll be locked out of your own songs.

In contrast, iTunes Match simply stored your copy of songs (assuming they aren't available through the iTunes Store) or gave you DRM-free versions from the iTunes Store. You didn't need to worry about maintaining subscriptions just to play the music you already own.

Kirk McElhearn offers up a great description saying,

With iTunes Match, when you download a matched or uploaded file, you get either the iTunes Store matched copy, or the copy that iTunes uploaded of your original file. When you match and download files from iCloud Music Library (without having an iTunes Match subscription), however, you get files with DRM; the same kind of files you get when you download files from Apple Music for offline listening.

In retrospect, the DRM layer Apple is adding to the music we own shouldn't have been a big surprise. TMO's Dave Hamilton found a big hint in Apple's updated iTunes terms and conditions that said, "You shall not be entitled to burn Apple Music Products."

iCloud Music Library is a part of Apple Music, so as such Apple is simply enforcing its new terms. Unfortunately, those terms are a little overreaching since they're also applied to music we own outside of the iTunes Store ecosystem.

Apple Music's streaming music stations and Beats 1 Internet radio may be running just fine, but it's clear iCloud Music Library still needs some serious work. If you're already using iTunes Match, don't transition to iCloud Music Library for now—and if you aren't using either, leave well enough alone and stay out of Apple's online music storage.

Update: And now I have a follow up to my disaster assessment.

Popular TMO Stories

Comments

furbies

I won’t be enabling iCloud music or iTunes match cause I don’t want/need either, but is it better to hold off updating to 12.2 for the moment ? In case Apple pushes out an update (12.2.1 or 12.3 ?)

Jeff Gamet

It sure can’t hurt to wait just in case there are other bugs that haven’t been caught yet.

BurmaYank

‘In retrospect, the DRM layer Apple is adding to the music we own shouldn’t have been a big surprise. TMO’s Dave Hamilton found a big hint in Apple’s updated iTunes terms and conditions that said, “You shall not be entitled to burn Apple Music Products.”’

Eddie Cue! Eddie Cue!
Apple, fire him ASAP!  - Fire him 10 years ago!

Steve Jobs should be rolling over in his grave about us not being able to burn our own music now - & that would be because Eddie Cue is kicking his corpse over & over by doing this travesty!

Scott Forstall! Could you rescue Steve Job’s Apple from Eddie Cue’s death grip?

BurmaYank

‘In retrospect, the DRM layer Apple is adding to the music we own shouldn’t have been a big surprise. TMO’s Dave Hamilton found a big hint in Apple’s updated iTunes terms and conditions that said, “You shall not be entitled to burn Apple Music Products.”’

Eddie Cue! Eddie Cue!
Apple, fire him ASAP!  - Fire him 10 years ago!

Steve Jobs should be rolling over in his grave about us not being able to burn our own music now - & that would be because Eddie Cue is kicking his corpse over & over by doing this travesty!

Scott Forstall! Could you rescue Steve Job’s Apple from Eddie Cue’s 100% mercenary 100% anti-ergonomic/user-contemptuous death grip?

BurmaYank

FYI TMO:

I did NOT post the previous comment twice (I only pushed the “Submit Comment” button once). What gives?

BurmaYank

Jeff, is there anyway you could please delete these last three of my four comments, today?

pattii

Lucky Steve isn’t around. If they scrambled his Bob Dylan with Donna Summers or something he’d be swinging the ax on somebody’s head! smile

palmac

Apple Music is handling TMO’s comment section now?

This has been a big disappointment for me.  You’re permanently stuck with My Music choices Apple gives you, no way to access sub-genres or input your own artist.  No way to search playlists, no way to find that specific kind of music you enjoy (try looking for “Surf” or “Electro Swing,” you can’t).  And now this.  Apple Music never should have been released in this state.

Mike Weasner

The loss of Home Sharing is my biggest complain against Apple with the iOS 8.4 release. I’ve seen reports that it was removed due to licensing issues with streamed Apple Music.  Well, duh, Apple, ever hear of using an “if-then” statement in your software code? If no “Apple Music” then allow “Home Sharing”. 

I will not be subscribing to Apple Music so I should be allowed to share my legally purchased and public domain Old Time Radio shows on my home network.  Of course, I suppose Apple would like ALL my audio files in their cloud, especially since my iTunes music library is 101 GB.  They would love to force me to buy that much storage space!

Come on, Apple! Stop dumbing down!

Lee Dronick

I wonder if I could create a new iCloud account and use that to listen to their radio then logout when I want my playlists. It is kind of clunky workaround, if it would work, hopefully Apple will fix the problems.

Jag120

Thankfully I came across this article (Thanks, Jeff!) before doing anything.

As a quality buff, I have burned and/or purchased many high resolution files (AIFF or FLAC format), and some of the AIFF files reside in my iTunes library.  Does the new Apple Music / iCloud Music Library reduce the resolution of your existing files the way iTunes Match did?

geoduck

How can you tell when software has become bloatware?
When it no longer can handle its core functions reliably.

iTunes12 is horrible. I didn’t think there was a way to make it worse but they apparently did. What happened to the slim, simple music player app we started with? It’s buried under too many tasks, too many duties, too much. I’ve said for several years now it’s time to scrap it. Throw the whole code base away and start over with a simple music player app, a film and video app, an app for each of the other things that iTunes does. If you want to share a DB, fine, but split the functions into separate Apps. Most of all START OVER. What they have now is useless.

And seriously, what moron thought they’d get away with DRMing people’s own music?

Does anyone know of a simple music player that will access iTunes library without iTunes functional Multiple Sclerosis?

Frank V

I have quicktime as player for music files, because I hate it when iTunes starts when I click on a MP3 file.

Thanks Jeff, I have many files I ripped from CD’s and I was planing to stop the Apple Music after 3 months.

geoduck

Something just occurred to me that I found interesting:

Recently here there was an article about cleaning up your Hard Drive because newer systems have SSDs that while fast aren’t as roomy as the big TB sized spinning platters of old. So I was looking through my stuff and I suddenly realized that I was debating on whether I should remove my iTunes Library. It’s over 100GB of stuff but you know I just don’t listen to music on my Mac any more, I don’t even bother putting it on my devices. As I thought about it I started wondering WHY? Why don’t I listen to music as much any more? It’s not that I don’t like music. It’s not that I’ve suddenly gone deaf. It’s not that my tastes have gone to some obscure genre that I can’t find anywhere. That’s when I realized something I find rather disturbing.

I listened to music in College on records, and tapes, and CDs.  I stopped as they got to be a hassle to deal with. Then the iPod and iTunes came along and suddenly I had my music with me all the time. It was great. But over the last five years I’ve stopped listening again and the question I found myself asking is why. I realized that it was the same reason that I stopped in the early 90s; it’s no longer simple and convenient.

From being the thing that brought me back to listening and having tunes around all the time, iTunes is so unpleasant that I stopped listening. It has become as annoying as hauling a pack of CDs and a Walkman around was. I go to concerts, I have music around, I enjoy it when other people play music. But I haven’t listened to my collection in a long time JUST BECAUSE APPLE HAS LET iTUNES GET SO BAD.

I find that to be quite disturbing.

Jamie

I don’t know what to say except, yup, yup, yup. Apple has once again totally screwed the pooch. i refuse to believe that one man was holding everything together before he passed on. What’s up, Apple? I won’t be using Apple Music, ever, and I remember the days when Apple used to set the trends, not scramble to keep up with them. How about a few less Hollywood quality videos explaining how you are changing the world and a few more instances where your tech speaks for itself in that regard? Pathetic. Has anything launched post Jobs actually worked? I used to take pride in being a Mac/Apple user, mainly because it was the best stuff one could buy. Lately I find myself mostly scratching my head.

jdb8167

I have a relatively small library, about 5000 tracks in about 700 albums. I saw a bit of mess but nothing drastic like these reports. Most of the wrong album art was from “Best Of…” albums instead the actual albums. There is no good reason why my album art or already entered metadata should have been changed though.

One thing you can do to see if you’ve been overwhelmed with Apple Music tracks is to create a smart playlist to list out Apple Music. New Smart Playlist, choose iCloud Status _is_ Apple Music. I don’t see anything unusual there.

Andhaka

@Geoduck: there’s a lot of little music players that handles iTunes Library format. Like Ecoute, Vox, Sonora.
Most are quite svelte and simple, but if you search for iTunes alternatives you’ll find quite a market of choices. wink

Cheers

Misha

http://www.imore.com/no-apple-not-adding-drm-songs-your-mac-you-already-own

Lee Dronick

I am not liking the new Music app on my iPhone. Of course a lot of that is unfamiliarity, but part of it is the big nudge towards iCloud Music. Well at least the form doesn’t expire.

Sam Proud

I too have had this problem, and Apple’s recent update/fix didn’t work. In short it is a real mess by Apple, and it’s not OK to screw up so many users iTunes Libraries.

I think we should make Apple pay attention to this. Please sign this petition, and spread the word.

https://www.change.org/p/tim-cook-dear-apple-it-s-not-ok-to-destroy-my-itunes-library?just_created=true

Ruby Yang

It is a liar, we pay for the service, but we are not able to burn Apple Music songs to disc. I found an article in Google about how to remove DRM restriction and burn CD successfully. It shares a different way to figure out the problem, it is worth to give it a shot.
http://www.apowersoft.com/burn-apple-music-to-cd.html

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account