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iCloud Music Library trashed my iTunes library, too

Well, ‘trashed’ is perhaps over-egging it, a bit. Spoiled is probably a little fairer.

Apple’s support forums are awash with reports of some rather significant issues relating to iCloud Music Library, which enables users of Apple Music to share playlists across devices and, most significantly, upload any non-Apple Music tracks to the cloud, where they too can be accessed elsewhere. Useful for that Beatles catalogue you can’t currently stream via Apple Music.

Now, this being Apple, no one knows where the problem originates, therefore I won’t add to the speculation by suggesting it’s to do with lingering iTunes Match data or an apparent disregard on Apple’s behalf for people with intricately curated music collections. Instead, I’ll offer my experience of the problem.

Having turned the feature on for all of my devices (iPhone, iPad, two Macs), I began the process of uploading my non-Apple Music tracks to iCloud. And that’s where it all went a bit wrong. Album art appeared on incorrect tracks, artists morphed into entirely different entities (Rex the Dog, as far as I’m aware, isn’t a side project of U2’s). To cut a long story short, it was a bit of a mess and, because I’m rather anal about possessing a tidy music library, I got a little bit shouty, sweaty and uttered many a naughty word. And reverted to a backup.

The advice here is pretty straight forward – don’t turn on iCloud Music Library on a Mac with a custom/curated music collection – it’ll likely be ruined. That said, you can still benefit from what is an intrinsic part of Apple Music. What I’ve done since is to enable the feature on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, non of which possess a local music library (and therefore have nothing to upload). I’ve matched as best I can my master library by adding artists and albums from Apple Music to ‘My Music’ and, somewhat fortuitously, the important uploaded albums from my previous attempt seem to have remained intact (i.e. that entire Beatles catalogue).

Apple will probably fix this, but they’re unlikely to fix mashed-up libraries, so you’re somewhat on your own there (the only workable solution is to return to a backup).

I’ve loved using Apple Music since its launch last week, but there’s an inescapable fact, which is that it is incredibly buggy at times. This is the biggest bug of the lot.

As always in these situations, I wonder how ‘normal’ users are getting on. Have they even bothered turning on iCloud Music Library? If so, are they particular enough to have noticed issues with their music collection? I’d wager they haven’t. And if that’s the case, don’t expect a fix any time soon; Apple is a consumer company, after all, and the fixes which get precedence are those which make national news, regardless of any stink created on their very own forums.

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