Panzarino on what happens if you cancel iTunes Match when you have Apple Music
I’ve seen a number of posts from folks who, 8 years after its features were essentially duplicated by Apple Music, are still paying $25 a year for iTunes Match and wondering what would happen if they stopped. Would they lose cloud streaming access to all their locally ripped and matched tracks? Would it all continue to work seamlessly just through Apple Music? It’s never been quite clear.
Well, here’s Matthew Panzarino (outgoing Editor in Chief of TechCrunch and someone who would know the right people to ask) on Threads with the most helpful answer I’ve seen to date:
I have a definitive answer on what would happen - straight from, uh sources. Match features are included in Apple Music. There is a slight difference in that with Match the files you can re-download are DRM free. With Apple Music they have DRM. So, after your Apple Music sub ends the downloads would no longer be playable. If you had Match your downloads would live on. But if you never end your AM subscription then there is no difference in features.
If, of course, you have a huge local library backed up or whatever then none of it matters. It’s only ‘cloud first’ folks that have deleted locally that might end up with issues cancelling. Or oddities like Match having replaced one track with another.
So it sounds like if you download a local copy of your music first, then you would have a DRM-free library just in case and could safely cancel iTunes Match. And you can still sign up for iTunes Match today — a fact I only just learned — if you change your mind.
Personally, I left iTunes Match behind long ago. I think even knowingly deleted the local copies of my ripped music. I could, even now, still download local DRM-free copies of my music purchased from the iTunes Store. But I decided that I didn’t want the mental overhead of managing an offline music library. I did the same with the movies I once spent hours ripping and converting. I grew tired of trying to make home media servers like iTunes Home Sharing or Plex work. I’m happy to rent access to the world’s music and media.
Here’s Apple’s support document on iTunes Match.
Update 2023-10-29: According to John Siracusa on ATP, via an article on iMore, you can download your matched and uploaded music DRM-free without being subscribed to iTunes Match. Apple Music-proper has allowed that since 2017. Another reason to save yourself $25 per year on that overlapping service.