The matching algorithm Apple uses is very aggressive and will many times mismatch music from my library no matter how well tagged it is. This is a nuisance for many and the information on how to remedy this is poor. How can you force music in your iTunes library from not getting matched in the cloud?
After much testing the best solution I've found is to mislabel the track and album name. This is by no means optimal but at least it leaves the artist name intact so that the sorting stays neat without duplicate artists. Doing this manually for each problematic album would be a PITA but fortunately it can be automated to a high degree using MusicBrainz Picard.
In order for a track to bypass the matching algorithm it needs the title and album tag to be mislabeled with a character/number and a symbol before and after the name (and without any spaces). A track named Autumn Fog Lifts would for example become 0.Autumn Fog Lifts.0 if using my own personal syntax where I insert 0. before and .0 after.
Using Picard, one can set a script to do it like this:
This will add 0. before and .0 after. the title and album tag whenever music is added to Picard.
This is my recommended workflow of how to replace the mismatched music in the cloud:
- Right click and show file on the problematic music in iTunes
- Copy the music files to a new location, make a backup so to speak
- Remove the music from within iTunes (make sure to select Move to Trash)
- Add the music from your backup to Picard, it will retag everything
- Inspect the results and save, add the music back to iTunes
For more information on how Picard works see How to Tag Files.