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I'm a bit pedantic over my library, in many ways. Clean album art, quality standards, tagging standards, etc. iTunes Match is a boon in many ways, but one problem concerns me.

I'm not entirely sold on the concept of acoustical audio matching, and I know my file tags occasionally differ enough that some parsers can't match based off song information alone.

That said, I've followed Jason Snell's instructions for a Match upgradable Smart Playlist, and I'm at the step where I'm about to delete all the files from my machine locally.

But I'm terribly concerned that I may lose a file due to incorrect identification, tagging, or some other issue that I haven't even considered yet.

Is it possible to preview the iTunes Match supplied version before I delete my local copy?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you move all your songs that you are about to delete to a different directory, iTunes should no longer be able to find them, and you should be able to hear the matched version and inspect its encoding. If you regret it, it should just be to move the songs back to where they were.

Haven't tried it myself to test it with one or two songs first!

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I think in my case I would delete the song from iCloud, and re-import the original. It won't fix the iCloud and other devices issue, but at least I'd have an original still on my own computer. There's always alternative players and streaming methods. – Jason Salaz Mar 3 '12 at 20:09

You can delete the reference to the local file in iTunes by deleting and selecting "Keep File"; then streaming or downloading the song from iCloud won't touch your original file.

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