Sunday, December 18, 2011

ITunes Match: How to "clean up" the MP3

One of the interesting aspects of iTunes Match is its ability to restore luster to the music tracks that were encoded in low quality. It is this faculty that has earned this new service from Apple the qualifier of "washing" or "washerwoman." An "old" MP3 may indeed be turning into an AAC brand new and much better sound quality. All in a jiffy and with the blessing of joint Apple and labels. However, under certain conditions a blessing, magic has its limits. Explanations ...


When iTunes Match found a correspondence between a song on your hard drive and the same piece on Apple's servers, you can delete the first and replaced immediately by the second, after a download. This exchange is final, even if you stop your subscription iTunes Match (€ 24.99 year).


This may be interesting to at least two levels. First, when a still smaller MP3 or low quality, because we will get the same or better album. Then for AAC songs purchased on iTunes at a time when they were still DRM and encoded in 128 Kbps. Upon abandonment of these protections, Apple had passed this encoding at 256 Kbps and proposed to acquire the versions 'iTunes Plus' tracks already purchased for a few tens of cents extra. If one subscribes to Match iTunes there is no need to pay again to get these songs 'More'. However, if you are among those that encode in Apple Lossless, go your way, iTunes will offer not match any better.

How does it work?

It should first wait for iTunes Match has completed its job of matching your music with those of the iTunes Store. After that, if no cloud symbol appears next to a song (a sign that there was a problem) is that it is available in 256 Kbps on the iTunes Store. These pieces are called "matched" (to get the column information "Status icloud" go to the View menu> View Options). Select the song and delete it. An alert will ask for confirmation. Acknowledge, but do not check the box on the abolition of the file on icloud, it is precisely that we want ... A second window will ask where to put the local file to delete: leave it in the iTunes folder ( but it is no longer referenced and therefore more visible in the application) or send it to the trash. In both cases, it is an assurance not to lose this file immediately if we wanted the récupérer.Sitôt suppression enabled, iTunes displays a cloud in the column icloud, indicating that this piece can be re-download. Note that the encoding quality now shows 256 Kbps instead of 192 kbps previously. Clicking the cloud starts the download from Apple's servers. The song in 192 kbps is replaced by a version with 256 Kbps. iTunes takes care to keep the passing score given to the piece, the meter readings, the jacket, lyrics and other metadata. Also keep in mind that the weight of your iTunes library will swell, in proportions that depend on the quality of departure compared to arrival, and the number of securities and processing.

Smart Playlist

If we want to judge the volume of files that can benefit from this treatment, just create a smart playlist (File menu) which will include all (click for larger image).

The pieces must be less than 256 Kbps, type 'music' (to avoid clips or memos) and we define two sub-conditions (click on the "+" by pressing alt) where Files must have a match on icloud or have been bought on iTunes.

At this point, we take the previous method: suppression of the song and download his replacement. Details: In a Smart Playlist to delete a file or files you must hold down the alt key while deleting. Similarly, if you want to start the download of several pieces at once, no need to click each of their clouds. Select the desired titles and display the context menu to choose 'Download'.

Clarification, it is possible that the piece that had been removed and is now about to be re-downloading, you disappear suddenly under the eyes of the smart list. It's normal you fell over when the smart list has refreshed its content and the test flow that no longer (the song on hold now shows 256 Kbps and just we wanted only those below) the title was removed from the list. It is still visible in the general library.

This is all very well, but two points are worth noting. On the one hand, the fact that Apple and record companies allow this operation does not mean that a piece becomes legal once hacked down from cloud ... Apple says so in its general conditions: "You agree by Match these to use iTunes only for legally acquired content. Any use of illegal content violates the rights of others and exposes you to civil and criminal penalties, including possible monetary damages on the basis of infringement of copyright. "

On the other hand, the file that you get from Apple is not locked, it can be played on any material you read the AAC and it remains usable even when iTunes has unsubscribed Match. After unsubscribing, you keep your collection as it is and you still can download your files icloud, but this time only those purchased on iTunes (they are marked 'For Sale' in the Status column of icloud). The downside of this "money" is that the pieces recovered in this way now have the identifier of your iTunes account. A marker visible in the song information (cmd + i on its title). Nothing new here, was the case for songs purchased from iTunes (with or without DRM). This can at least restrain the ardor of those who would like to share everything is freshly descaled their titles.

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