Music collection in the cloud

Selection of music in my iTunes Match

I’ve been meaning for some time to do something about my CD collection, which I’ve built up over about 15 years and mostly don’t listen to any more. My tastes haven’t changed much; it’s just that I’ve been listening in Spotify, Bandcamp and iTunes for years now.

Before I binned all the CDs, though, I decided to rip them and store them in the cloud. I did a bit of research and decided on iTunes Match, since all my devices run OS X or iOS, and I like keeping these types of things simple.

After a bit of logging out and back in again to prompt the whole process into action, my music library is now available everywhere I go, and I’m no longer burdened by piles of CDs. It’s been fun listening to albums I’ve not heard in years. I have a few classic recordings by Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis et al in my collection, and it’s great to know they’re safe in the cloud for as long as I want to have them there.

I ripped the CDs at 256kbps using the AAC encoder. I wouldn’t entertain 256kbps MP3s, but the AAC codec is better, so it seemed like a good compromise between quality and file size. In any case, with iTunes Match, any tracks you import into iTunes that are already in the iTunes store will be “matched” with the AAC copy that’s in the store; your local file won’t actually be uploaded unless it’s not available in iTunes.

Despite using Spotify almost exclusively for the past year, this archiving process has revealed in me an old-fashioned appreciation of owning one’s music collection. I’ve even cancelled my Spotify subscription for the time being, partly for cost reasons, but also so that I can focus on enjoying my purchased music library all over again.