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If you cancel your iTunes match subscription, what exactly does happen?

Can you still download the songs you matched already, but cannot match any new ones? Or can't you download any song anymore? Will the matched songs you already have downloaded on your Mac or iOS device be deleted or will they be kept?

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6 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You will no longer be able to download like you currently do, and in effect, iTunes will act like Match was never on.

You will be able to keep any songs you downloaded, though. So if you upgraded files you uploaded that matched to iTunes-Plus-type files, then you keep those once it cancels.

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My itunes match expired today. And all my songs completely dissapeared, even the ones downloaded to my hard drive.

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Are you sure there wasn't something else interfering with your music library? Feel free to create a new question with the "Ask Question" link at the top if you want help here. –  patrix Mar 22 at 10:37
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My iTunes match subscription expired last week. Of 64gb of music, mostly from my CD collection, 12gb appears in iTunes with the song title & artist but no album grouping. A further 4gb only the song title appears in iTunes without a link to the artist/album. Also some songs are now linked to the wrong artist &/or wrong album. In all cases I have looked at so far, by playing the piece of music & selecting "show in windows explorer" the music is found in the correct artist/album folder on my hard drive. Deleting & reloading an album from the hard drive does not correct the problem. I think the only option is to find the music affected is to reload the CD's once again. Added to this, all of my ratings, done over many years, have been deleted. I had about two thirds of my music rated & I don't think I'll ever get back to this point again.

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There are a few confusing responses here, so let's clarify: if you are going to let iTunes Match expire, make sure you have downloaded the music that is in the cloud to your local hard drive first. Once it is there and you turn off iTunes Match, those items will be left untouched on your computer. You will no longer has access to what was in the cloud.

One of the great benefits to iTunes Match is that you have the opportunity to have all of your music converted to the higher bitrate of 256 kbps. Whatever is matched in the cloud is available to re-download at this bitrate. It does not automatically do this to your library and only matched songs that iTunes Match has from the iTunes Store are available at this bitrate.

I have found it is easiest to go into Album view in iTunes (select an album you know is in a lower bitrate) and delete it from your local hard drive. The cloud icon will appear below that album cover now. Re-download at the higher bitrate by clicking on that icon. There are a couple of prompts when you delete locally, do not check the box that asks you if you also want to delete it from the cloud for obvious reasons.

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You will want to download a copy of anything you wish before letting the subscription lapse if you don't otherwise have a copy of the music and playlists on a machine that is backed up.

The match provides playlist syncing, so your iTunes will act just like it does when not connected to the network. You will only be able to play songs that are cached or downloaded locally. I would presume that songs that only existed in the cloud would either be shown as missing or cleaned up and deleted - perhaps with a message letting you know what happened.

I've not found a way to test this yet since subscriptions are only yearly and we haven't gotten to the point where someone can actually have this happen as part of the normal subscription expiration process.

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You are unable to down- or upload Music to iTunes Match

So be careful:

Before iTunes Match is expiring, download all your Music from the iCloud (iTunes Match).

So, only the music you bought through iTunes is accessible.

Music which you matched through iTunes Match is lost, and cannot redownload on any device. Only the files you have on your hard drive can kept, and those which bought through iTunes.

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