February 18, 2012, 7:59 AM — [Ask the iTunes Guy is a regular column in which we answer your questions on everything iTunes related. If there's something you'd like to know, send an email to the iTunes Guy for consideration.]
Apple's $25-a-year iTunes Match service can match the tracks in your iTunes library with those in Apple's 20-million-song catalog, and lets you upload the ones it can't match (up to 25,000 non-purchased tracks)—and then access those songs via iTunes or your iOS devices whenever you want. And for the tracks it does match, you can download Apple's copies to replace your own poorly ripped MP3 files from a decade ago. Sounds simple enough, but we've received dozens of questions regarding iTunes Match. Here are answers to a few of them.
Too many tracks
I have more than 25,000 songs that have accumulated over the years from the iTunes store, CD rips, and other sources. How can I prevent some songs from being matched to allow others to sync without removing the excess songs from my library. Many artists are in the form of discographies and I don't need all of them to sync.
Unfortunately, I'm in the same boat as you (something I lamented in an earlier article). Apple offers no way to exclude certain tracks—if your library tips the scales, you won't even be able to sign up for iTunes Match.
One (rather clumsy) solution is to select the tracks you don't want included and change their Media Kind to Voice Memo (File -> Get Info -> Options). iTunes Match will see those tracks as being unfit for duty (aka ineligible).
But perhaps the best solution for now is to create a second library to use just for iTunes Match purposes, or to put your iTunes Match library on a second computer (which is what I did).
I sincerely hope that Apple will add a tag to iTunes to let you exclude specific files from iTunes Match.
If I subscribe to iTunes Match, will my playlists be available on other Macs or iOS devices as they are on my "home" computer or do I just see a list of all of my music?