iTunes is Eating my Purchases


On my iPhone:

On Saturday night I updated to 8.0.1 before going to a friends apartment to visit. Imagine my surprise when songs I purchased, ranked highly and were in playlists on that iPhone were deleted from the iPhone. Songs I was literally listening to hours before and expected to have with me disappeared from my phone.These songs are all songs I purchased through iTunes.

On my Windows 7 laptop:
For a long time iTunes progress bar crawled across a dialog box as it “updated my iTunes Library”. What updating means is that songs that were in my library are no longer there. These songs are all songs I purchased through iTunes.

I didn’t tell my library to do this. I am not using iTunes Match so I have not checked a preference that I want my music stored in iCloud. I use the star rating system to organize my music but when songs have to be re-downloaded, my ratings have to be redone.

This is a problem for a variety of reasons…

  1. iTunes (you must Match) is turning these disappearing purchases into rentals: I’m not enrolled in iTunes match. But it’s treating me like I am. When the songs disappear from my library, then what happens is that if Apple loses rights to a song, I won’t be able to re-download it. What if an album i loved, i paid for was stripped off my device and then pulled from the iTunes store? Then I lose it because they took it out of my library.
  2. I’ve invested hours of time into my iTunes Library: I pay for iTunes. It’s a free download, but I buy content that can only be downloaded through iTunes. I buy iTunes connected devices because I’ve accepted iTunes as my media manager for my home and my personal use.
  3. These are my devices: Apple is using iTunes to modify my devices without my permission. Again, this means they believe that my phone is a rental item as long as I use iTunes. And they also believe that since I installed iTunes on my PC, that my PC and my network drive are also within their rights to unilaterally modify.
  4. Re-downloading files has a material and temporal cost: if i want to listen to a song that is stripped from my iPhone without my knowledge, iTunes would re-download the item. This impacts my data plan limits. In addition, it wastes my time. I already downloaded a song. I already synced devices. I should never have to download it again unless I purposefully delete it from a device or my library.

The solution I want:*

I want to find some sort of alternative app/application ecosystem I can use to decouple my mp3’s from iTunes store/iTunes match/iCloud scheme. From iTunes support threads, I think a lot of iTunes users may benefit from a non Apple music App. The Apple “music” app is designed to support the iTunes Store. I need a music app that is mainly about me being able to play music and doesn’t care where I get the audio files from. A great example is the Overcast App for Podcasting: it has better features than the perfectly fine Apple Podcasts app. I don’t need to sync it with my desktop. I need to find something similar for music. I need to be able to rate music, make playlists and sync it with a library on my phone. It needs to be local file based, not cloud or streaming based. Data charges make cloud based or stream based music services problematic for me. I would pay for this app and pay for this application.

*And no Spotify, Google Music are not viable solutions. Neither is anything from Amazon. They are all fine, but they have stores as well.