I use iCloud / iTunes Match and have just discovered that all my lovely songs with explicit lyrics have been replaced by versions with clean ones. In some instances it's fine, and it doesn't bother me, but other times it just sounds strange. I'd like to force iTunes Match to find the explicit ones.

How can I do it?

Just to clarify, I'm what has happened is that my iTunes match version of a song is the clean version. What was uploaded was not.

  • Are you talking about the lyrics or the song? You refer to both, so can you clarify a bit?
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 3:03
  • The song, which has explicit lyrics. I.e. Korn's Right Now, Limp Bizkit's Hot Dog.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 3:07
  • Ah, so you're not talking about getting the explicit version of the song, but the lyrics?
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 3:07
  • No, I'm talking about the song itself. See my edits in the question :) Sorry for the confusion. So I hear the singer now muffled, or semi-backwards when an explicit lyric is set. This was not the case previously. It's been matched that way.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 3:09
  • @daviesgeek iTunes Match syncs songs. It doesn't get text files of the lyrics; it syncs songs. So the only meaningful way to understand this, even without the edit, is that iTunes Match replaced the versions of songs with explicit lyrics with other versions of the same songs without the explicit lyrics.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


I know this is not what you want to hear, but there is currently no workaround for this problem, and Apple has supposedly been working on this since February.

When you say

Just to clarify, I'm what has happened is that my iTunes match version of a song is the clean version. What was uploaded was not.

it makes it seem (from my understanding of the question) that you have a misconception of the iTunes Match service. iTunes Match identifies your songs (and the explicit ones) and ties them to your Apple ID so that every device on that Apple ID can have streaming and downloading rights to higher-quality DRM-free (256kbps) songs it matched it to, not the songs that you "uploaded".

Although, the fact that it probably isn't really fully uploaded may contribute to your problem. Apple's "uploading" process most likely fingerprints the song by taking a short sample of it rather than the full song. This means that it is difficult to tell whether the song is clean or explicit, and Apple has acknowledged this. Some users have even reported iTunes Match giving them the instrumental version of an album.

This is a bug in iTunes Match that will require a new method to match songs. Currently there are no workarounds, but you may phone Apple to fix the songs that you want explicit or complain on their feedback page.

  • 1
    This is very frustrating. I've already deleted my copies of explicit songs that were less than 256 kbps thinking iTunes Match had matched the correct songs, but now I'm left with edited versions that sound really strange.
    – user11633
    Commented Oct 9, 2012 at 19:32
  • I agree. I'm just surprised there isn't a way of forcing it to get the explicit one... I've heard some users saying they could tag it with 'Explicit', in the metadata. But that didn't work for me.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 3:08

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