If a large percentage of your digital music library was acquired from sources other than iTunes, such as burning CDs (as is the case for most people), and you haven’t manually and painstakingly entered metadata (track name, artist, etc.), then there are going to be some bumps in the road syncing with iCloud via iTunes Match.
At least 30% of music collections have missing and/or incorrect metadata. This includes unlabeled info such as “Track 01” and “Unknown Artist” as well as misspelled artist names (“Jay-Z?” “JAYZ?” “jay.z”?). Accessing a “Track 07” from the cloud is not only confusing, but even if iTunes does match it, it will not effectively mirror one’s actual collection. The same goes for “Unknown Artists” and multiple spellings of the same artist.
One solution is to use a service that fixes your metadata, such as TuneUp, by TuneUp Media. TuneUp was the #1 plug-in for iTunes before cloud music services, and the iCloud announcement has since given it a big boost.
TuneUp’s technology “cleans” the metadata in your digital music collection, labeling missing or mislabeled information such as track title and artist name. This is particularly important for getting your music collection ready for iCloud, because the quality of your metadata will be key in determining what kind iCloud music experience you will have.
TuneUp also offers a product called DeDuper, which finds and removes your unwanted duplicate tracks. It’s the most intelligent track de-duplicator on the market. Besides making it much easier to navigate your collection and make playlists, DeDuper makes sure that you are not taking up valuable cloud space with duplicate copies of the same track.
I have a pretty bad messed up iTunes library and tried TuneUp today myself. It does work pretty well and cleaned most of my metadata. I’d say the price is pretty steep ($40/year/computer or $50 lifetime/computer). There are some cheaper versions (buying features separately) but in the end the bundle is what you want. Also forget the free version – it’s rather to test the service but not really a freemium. On the other hand – the software saves you hours and hours of work to finetune your library yourself – put your hourly rate against it.
iCloud should give the company a big push – but also present some threats due to competing products by Apple themselves. In any case – well worth checking out.
TuneUp already has 4 million registered users who have “cleaned” over 3 billion tracks. TuneUp Media is a venture-backed startup based in San Francisco.