Life in the world of the music cloud ... there's so many great features ... and problems too. If the cloud #fails, your music or anything else stored there is temporarily inaccessible. But what happens when your purchased tracks go missing never to return?
This happened this week to an Apple iCloud user who purchased songs that disappeared because a licensing agreement ended for iTunes Match and the copyright holder. If you use iTunes Match to automagically move your music library to iCloud, Apple is in control of what's available for you online and might delete songs based on licensing. This happened to Geoffrey Goetz from GigaOm this week, who said:
"Music you purchase from Apple via iTunes will remain in your iTunes Match music library so long as Apple has the right to continue selling the music. As soon as the music label pulls any song or album from the iTunes Music Store, Apple will remove it from your iTunes Match Library as well. Not only that, but you will no longer be able to re-download your previously purchased music from your iTunes Store account."
He ended up losing a number of songs that were essential parts of his music library, and will have to buy them again from somewhere else. No big deal when you're on Spotify or Rdio - you pay for a blanket music subscription and if the licensing agreements end, so goes the music. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
On the other hand, if you payed for music through the iTunes Music Store and then opted into the iCloud subscription to store your music in the cloud for convenience among all of your devices, that music could be erased without your authorization if the licensing agreement between Apple and the copyright holder ends.
To go into deeper detail on how the mechanics of this happen, Goetz said:
"What is really bothersome about the whole thing is that these were albums that I previously accessed via iTunes Match; songs I thought were stored in my iCloud music library. But since they were purchased from iTunes and not uploaded, they were not really in my iCloud music library to begin with. If I would have subscribed to iTunes Match after the purchased songs were removed from the iTunes Music Store, they would have been uploaded to my iTunes Match library and I would still be able to listen to them."
This has always been true of the iTunes Store, they never offer a second download of a song, even if a hard drive became corrupted or you somehow lost your music drive. I guess the same holds true for iCloud and iTunes Match -- you control your music, as long as you back it up.
Fortunately, there's a way around this. If you backup your iTunes music library on your own with some regularity, your music is always yours to own. If you count on Apple and iCloud to be the only place you store your music, you might lose music.