How to start with Apple Music after iTunes AND Spotify


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May 28, 2018
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Hi guys,

The day has finally come, I've decided to ditch Spotify in favor of Apple Music.

I have "collected" an extensive library of music through the years, spanning from the 1930's up until today...

That's why I would like to get some advice on how to start so I can keep it all manageable.

A short recap:

- CD's: Up until 2007 I purchased music from my favorite artists on CD. That was the basis for my original iTunes Collection. I ripped all those CD's in 192kbps.

- Purchased iTunes: between 2007 and 2011 I purchased most music via iTunes.

- iTunes Match: I later converted practically everything I could into 256 aac. Not everything though!

This resulted in a very structured iTunes library of 15k songs, complete with ratings and smart playlists based on custom genre.

- Spotify: In 2011 I switched to Spotify and started a collection. Adding music became very easy so my Spotify library boomed to (estimated) over 30k new songs. As Spotify offers no decent way of organizing a library, I left.

Now... how do I get organized in one place: Apple Music?

What do you recommend?

1) Starting from scratch

I am seriously considering starting with a completely new music library. My original library is polluted with songs that were only there just to make collections complete. With streaming services offering everything, we can choose to be more selective and go for the best.

Is there still a good reason to start importing from CD's if you have Apple Music? Except for getting lossless audio files. Would this get me into trouble concerning Cover Art, Metadata on songs (release date) etc?

In short: is it still worth it?

2) Clearing iTunes Match (included in Apple Music?)

I cancelled my iTunes Match subscription years ago. If I start with importing songs that are NOT available in Apple Music...

Can I reactivate a brand new iTunes Match without it showing my old library? Is iTunes Match included in Apple Music?

3) Smart Playlists

The killer feature of iTunes / the iPod Classic back in 2007 were no doubt smart playlists. I could rip, add, buy new music and if it complied to certain rules, the songs would automatically be added to certain playlists on my iPod. My playlists excluded songs I had recently heard, keeping my music experience fresh and surprising. Something else that Spotify lacks.

Can I use Smart Playlists to mix music coming both from the Library and Apple Music?

And will I be able to keep these Smart playlists automatically synced on my iPhone, like with the iPod in 2007?

4) iTunes Library

How does a new iTunes Library work together with Apple Music? Do you have to switch between tabs and choose what you play? Or can you shuffle all music, regardless of "source"?

5) Purchased music

If I start with a brand new iTunes library, under the same account.

Can I still download my previously purchased music?

6) How do I match / import music or playlists from Spotify to Apple Music?

Self-explanatory. What is the cleanest way to copy over music. Can I see what was NOT matched to Apple Music?

I read about Houdini being able to transfer playlist by playlist.

7) Limit of Apple Music?

In Spotify you can "bookmark" or "save" 10k songs. Is the limit in Apple Music still 100K?
Would ripping all music I own on CD make me avoid reaching that limit?

I hope one of you guys can give me some best practice advice on one or more of the above topics :)



Feb 20, 2014
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No need to start from scratch. Just enable iCloud Music Library and Music in Settings and you’re good to go.

The limit is still 100k, indeed.

Importing music from CDs is still the same principle. Even after you unsubscribe from Music you will have access to those songs. Therefore there is no need in changing this habit.

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