Apple launched iTunes Match today and having all my music in iTunes, with three different computers, an iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and three Apple TVs I figured I could benefit from using iTunes Match for my music. I enabled it and it is still in the process of doing its first update. I was very curious about how iTunes Match dealt with certain metadata.

I’m a big user of Smart Playlists and many of them rely on song ratings, play counts and last played dates. I also often have Smart Playlists that reference other Smart Playlists. Some quick learnings from an hour of playing around.

  1. iTunes Match synchronizes ratings within 10-20 seconds between devices. I was playing a matched track on my iPad 2 and adjusted the rating. Within 20 seconds iTunes on my MacBook Pro reflected the new rating. I changed the rating in iTunes and within another 20 seconds it was updated on the iPad 2 without any action being taken.

  2. The play count for a track is updated promptly after the track is played.

  3. Unfortunately the last played date is not updated. This is annoying for me since I routinely use last play date to manage Smart Playlists.

  4. Smart Playlists that use other Smart Playlists as part of their criteria are not available in iTunes match. Simpler Smart Playlists are fine in iTunes Match.