Following our campaign to warn DJs not to update to iTunes 12.2, not least because it was locking some of them out of their own collections in their DJ software, Apple has rushed out an upgrade that appears to have fixed this main issue.
Our tester Terry 42 has been experimenting with 12.2.1 since it dropped last night and reports: “The most important bugfix is that iTunes Match now works with Apple Music again. Your existing non-DRM songs will now be flagged as either ‘own music’ or ‘iTunes matched’ and stay DRM-free. Only downloaded songs from Apple Music will of course be under DRM (similar to Spotify) and be flagged as ‘Apple Music’.
“I signed up for a new trial of Apple music today after the upgrade and everything seems to work fine so far. I even deleted some songs on my MacBook and re-loaded them from iTunes Match and they are still DRM free and playable in Serato.”
The issue was that that when people had used iTunes Match to keep their music in the cloud but then signed up to Apple Music, iTunes was incorrectly treating those songs as new Apple Music files, and adding DRM to them, meaning they would no longer play in DJ software. This is what has thankfully now been fixed.
But for DJs, the second part of it remains: There are issues with the integration of iTunes into DJ software. Playlists and sub-playlists are not coming across properly nested, messing up organisation.
Happily, we’ve spoken to several software providers, who say this is something that is relatively easy to fix, so it looks like we can expect to see working again properly in all the main DJ programs sooner rather than later.
Until that point though, we still recommend you remain on 12.1.
What can we learn from this as DJs?
iTunes 12.2, as we said in our original article on this whole issue, may yet prove to be a good thing, as for music discovery, it’s throwing down the gauntlet to Spotify, Google Play Music All Access etc.
But the moral is: Turn off auto updates for your software, and only update anything important to your work – be it DJ software, music library software, or other mission-critical apps – after all the kinks have been ironed out by other people.
It’s also worth pointing out that iTunes has become a complicated product. Sure, you can turn stuff on and off, and set the preferences to get it to do what you want, but many users aren’t ready to experiment and work out these nuances, and Apple has been particularly bad in this update in “keeping it simple” with Apple Music. (Indeed, a nother part of what 12.2.1 is doing is labelling files to make it easier for the layperson to work out what’s going on.)
But if you’re going to rely on something like this, it really does pay to work out for sure what going on “under the bonnet”, to minimise the chance of nasty surprises.
• Need a fix? This article on Apple’s site will tell you how to get your music playing again.
Have you updated to iTunes 12.2.1 yet? Has it solved issues for you? Please let us know in the comments.