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iTunes Match Album Art

iTunes Match Deleted Track

A track deleted from iCloud but still present in the local library.

Murphy’s obsessions come and go. Recently it was the wrong album art showing up on my iPhone. Fixing my Pretenders album art only to see it revert to the wrong image a few minutes later got frustrating quickly. Until I realized the cloud-based Match versions of my album art were coming down and overwriting my locally stored tracks.

If you don’t know how iTunes Match behaves you could run into some problems. Here’s what worked for me:

  • Sign into a Mac or PC with a local user account that does not have your music collection stored locally in iTunes. You could create an additional user on your Mac (or PC) or do what I did: sign into a dummy  Windows account running on a virtual machine.
  • Open iTunes. Ideally there won’t be any local music stored there.
  • Sign into iTunes using the AppleID used for iTunes Match.
  • You should see all your music that resides in the cloud. Delete the song that needs the artwork updated. This will delete the version stored on Apple’s servers.
  • Once you’re done with the previous step you can sign off the dummy Mac or PC user account.
  • Sign into your Mac or PC account where the local copy of your music resides.
  • Fix the album artwork by selecting the track or tracks you want to update, then right-click the track(s) and select Get Info.
  • You can delete the existing artwork on the Artwork tab and add a different image. Close the info panel.
  • Right click the corrected track and select Add to iCloud.  Done.
Updating iTunes Match

Once the artwork has been fixed you can send the track back to iTunes Match.

Why do we need to use the dummy PC or Mac account? Because the process for deleting a cloud-based copy of a song presents a complication when there’s a local version of the track. ITunes forces you to delete the local copy of a song before it allows you to delete the cloud-based version. You might not want to delete the local version – doing so would wipe out meta information like the play count.  By deleting only the cloud version our local track and its meta data are preserved.

The obsession with album art has passed for now.  When I see some pixelated album covers on my phone again it’ll be back, but for now it’s forgotten.


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