Apple released their much awaited music-in-the-cloud service, iTunes Match, approximately one month ago in the United States. The $24.99 price tag came along with a product that differed slightly from the cloud services of Amazon and Google. Apple’s pitch was that uploading music to the cloud would be a breeze. Once purchased, the service would scan your iTunes library and match songs that Apple already had available on their servers. No uploading required.
But is it as simple as Apple claims? Although the easy answer is yes, it’s not all roses and daisies. There are some drawbacks and unexpected frustrations that came along with iTunes Match. A simple search on Google will bring up forums with questions about the refund process.
I purchased the service on day one. $24.99? No problem. Take my money. I wanted to have my music synced through my iPad, MacBook, iPhone and Apple TV. Apple was able to find most of my music collection while about 600 songs had to be uploaded manually. After the process was completed, my iPad and iPhone had access to my music in the cloud and gave me the option of streaming or downloading each song to my device.
The next day I started streaming my music on my Apple TV. Flawless. It wasn’t until I started playing my music videos that I encountered a problem. I only had access to seven of them; I have over two hundred music videos in my collection. I couldn’t understand why. I went back to my iTunes library and scrolled through my music video collection. I noticed that most of them had a cloud with a line going through it. Clicking on the icon would reveal the message: “Item not eligible for iCloud”.
After further research I realized what the problem was. Those music videos were purchased on a different Apple ID than what I signed up iTunes Match with. Allow me to explain why I purchased the service with a different ID.
I was a MobileMe member. At the time, Apple’s cloud service came at an annual cost. It wasn’t as advanced as the iCloud service you have come to know and love. Signing up for MobileMe meant creating a new account with Apple and receiving a @me.com email address. You would receive cloud storage space, an online photo gallery, iCal syncing, website hosting, and the Find My iPhone feature that’s free today.
Once iCloud was introduced, Apple gave me the option of transferring my MobileMe account to the new service and give me 25GB of online storage in the process. If I used my current Apple ID with iCloud, I would only be given access to 5GB of online storage. I decided to use my MobileMe address to sign up for iCloud and later iTunes Match to take advantage of the bigger space; after all, Apple promised all songs would be synced regardless of where you got them.
After I realized my iTunes purchased music videos were not available through the iTunes Match service, I contacted Apple. I thought it would be a simple enough solution. If they couldn’t merge my accounts, then maybe I could get a refund so I could repurchase the service on the original Apple ID. No. Although I have heard of few customers receiving refunds for the iTunes Match service, I had no such luck:
Shane here again from the iTunes store.
In order to make sure this gets looked into thoroughly, I’ve consulted with a senior advisor. I’d asked if it was possible to see if a refund could be made, but I’m sorry to say I wasn’t able to get approval for your request. I’ve been told that all Match purchases are a final sale in iTunes. As a result, issuing a refund is something that we simply aren’t able to facilitate for you.
I am very sorry for the inconvenience.
In short, the iTunes Match service delivers on its promise of syncing all your music on all your Apple branded devices. In all fairness, they never mentioned music videos; it was something I simply assumed under the “it just works” umbrella. Have you had any gripes with the service?