A Musical Post. Apple Match vs Streaming Services


It’s no secret I’m an Apple fan. So, when the iPhone 5S was announced, I was first on the phones to the Uk networks hunting down the best deal for me. So, in late 2013, I entered into a two year phone contract with EE. Among other things, I was offered a few perks to the contract to encourage my signing up. One of these was a free premium music subscription to the Spotify competitor, Deezer. Deezer and Spotify are music streaming services that offer infinite music streaming (and downloading) for a small monthly cost. These music streaming services offer a free subscription option too, complete with radio adverts and disability to download tracks for offline listening. The ‘premium’, paid service, removes these restrictions.

My free premium Deezer subscription was a handy tool, giving me free access to literally thousands and thousands of music tracks that could be added to playlists and downloaded to all of my mobile devices. Handy when I wanted to start a playlist on a dog walk on my phone, but continue it in the office on my tablet. So, in early 2014, I started to adapt my music listening habits around this service. As a result, when EE/Deezer changed the rules at the end of the same year – I got a bit frustrated. The ability to download the tracks to a mobile device (so I could listen without racking up a large data bill) had been removed and I had a choice: pay the now slightly-discounted-premium service with Deezer, pay the full price of Spotify (which, incidentally were the same price as the discounted Deezer?) or find another option…

The best feature of the streaming service was the ability to sync my playlist and favourite albums across all of my Apple/mobile devices. After thinking it through and working out that this was the main selling point, I researched Apple’s Alternative: iTunes Match.

iTunes Match takes the albums that have been purchased in iTunes as WELL as albums that have been imported into a computer and allows the user to stream/download/sync the music and its playlists across all devices (not just mobiles). Cheaper than a streaming service, the cost was just under £30 for the whole year. I concluded the take the dive with this service, with a view to spending the £10pm I’d have saved from now subscribing to a streaming service to purchase music through iTunes.

I have accumulated a wide CD collection through my teen years and twenties, which has been equally complimented by iTunes purchases of late. But there were quite a few albums I knew I would need to buy over the coming months, which is why I’d held off this service for so long. But once I did activate iTunes match – I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I was under the impression that, once activated, iTunes Match would scan my library and enable me to download the albums that they ALSO had in their iTunes store. I was quite willing to accept that a large chunk of my non-mainstream music wouldn’t be able to make the jump to ‘Cloud’. But I was surprised to find I was wrong. ALL of my music synced up with the Cloud – up to and including Voice Memo’s that had been imported to my iTunes library!

Sadly, it was limited to sound files only, no movies or TV Shows – and I can’t see that changing any time soon – but I have to say I have found iTunes Match to be an extremely excellent service. I imagine it would be pretty useless if one didn’t have multiple Apple devices as I’m not sure how it would interact. But as a Mac, iPhone and iPad owner – this service has been second to none. I would say it’s better than even the paid subscription services, simply because I own the music too.

So, if you’re an Apple user, before you pay this month’s Spotify bill, consider whether it would be worth switching the £10pm into purchasing the music from discount CD stores instead of renting it – then uploading your library to the ‘Cloud’ with iTunes Match.