Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Music Isn’t Wiping Your Library

James Pinkstone found that his subscription to Apple Music and iCloud Music Library caused his local files to be replaced:

When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple’s database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. REMOVED them. Deleted. If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen, just like it would with my other music files it had deleted.

Lucikly, he had a backup. But Serenity Caldwell at iMore disputes Pinkstone’s version of events:

In an ideal world, iCloud Music Library would work like Dropbox, or even iCloud Photo Library — whatever you upload is yours, it doesn’t get “matched” to anything, and as long as you re-download everything before you cancel your subscription, you’re fine. But DRM and downloading streaming tracks you don’t have ownership rights to mucks things up. iCloud Music Library is always going to be complicated, and people are going to make mistakes because of it. And if they don’t have backups, those mistakes might be costly.

Jim Dalrymple, writing in an “open letter” format:

I don’t mind a public beta of Apple Music that is being worked on, but don’t walk on that stage and tell me it’s a finished, working product if it isn’t.

The amount of trust and loyalty you’ll lose with another round of broken Apple Music will be mind boggling.

This is what happens when there’s a not-quite-consistent duplication of services and poorly written dialogs. Apple Music is a rental version of the iTunes Store, but its library is slightly different. iCloud Music Library and iTunes Match are effectively the same thing, except the former enables some Apple Music-specific features while the latter matches songs differently. All of these services can be combined in various ways, but it’s hard to see why this should be the case.

A simpler music offering from Apple would roll as much of this functionality into as few options as possible.