I Have Apple Music. Do I Need iTunes Match?

A pair of headphones with music notes pouring out of them

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The iTunes Match service is a cloud backup solution that stores the music in your iCloud account and makes it available on any compatible device. All your devices can access the same music and your music collection is safely backed up. Apple Music is a streaming music service that provides access to all the music in the iTunes Store for a flat monthly price. With Apple Music, you'll never lose your music. If a song is deleted, it’s still in the iTunes Store, and you can download it again.

You Can Use Them Separately

While the two services work together, you’re not required to use them together. You can use Apple Music without an iTunes Match subscription, and vice versa.

You Own Your Music with iTunes Match

The biggest difference between the two services is that Apple Music subscribers don’t own the music obtained through the service. Songs from Apple Music can only be accessed with an active subscription. When a subscription is canceled, the music goes away. With iTunes Match, when a subscription is canceled, the user keeps the music they had before signing up.

Apple Music Uses DRM, iTunes Match Doesn't

There can be long-term consequences for your music if you replace iTunes Match with Apple Music. The reason has to do with digital rights management.

Since the music in it are copies of your files, iTunes Match doesn’t use DRM. Apple Music, on the other hand, does employ DRM to prevent access to Apple Music songs when a subscription has ended.

So, if you have a DRM-free song on your hard drive or in iTunes Match, and cancel your subscription, you can still enjoy the song. If you replace it from Apple Music, the new version has DRM and only works while you have a subscription.

Always Make a Backup; iTunes Match Can Be One

Back up your data. If you back up to Time Machine, for example, you’re covered. Although, a two-prong backup strategy is recommended: local backup and cloud backup. iTunes Match provides a cloud backup.

The iTunes Match service only backs up music, not an entire computer, so you may want a more complete backup service. But if you have a ton of music, an extra $25 per year is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

With a Small Music Library, Apple Music May Be Enough

If you didn't spend much time or money building your music library and owning music doesn’t matter much to you, paying an extra $25 each year for iTunes Match may not make sense. In that case, pay the annual price for Apple Music.