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Why You Should Delete All Your Music

"I keep running out of space on my iPhone and my Mac, what do I do!?"

This is a question my clients ask me all the time, especially music lovers. If you have a lot of music you I'll show you how you can free up the space it takes up, and still have it on your devices.

Many of us want all our music with us to listen to whatever we want at the drop of a hat. There is a service called Spotify you can subscribe to and listen to just about every main stream album out there, but some of us already bought a ton of music and don't want a monthly subscription like that. One of my clients, Wally, is like that. Here's a short synopsis of what we did and how we were able to get over 700 Gb worth of music on his iPhone and other iOS devices using iTunes Match.

Story Wally REALLY loves music. So much so, his collection of CDs numbered 875 albums! His wife even catalogued them so he could reference a sheet for whatever album he was looking for. He loved it, but wanted to go mobile and have it all with him at all times AND he wanted to free up the space in his house. Can you imagine how much space 875 albums would take up? He came to me for help and these were his objectives.

  • Digitize the music at CD quality and donate when finished.
  • Have all music accessible from all mobile devices and the home sound system/TV.
  • Back it up where it will be safe.

Now Wally is where you most likely are. He has a ton of music on his computer and he wants it all on his iPhone etc. Since there is so much music it doesn't all fit on his mobile devices. He can create playlists and fill his phone with music by syncing, OR he could employ iTunes Match.

iTunes Match and How it Works

iTunes Match is a service built into iTunes and costs $25/year. What it does is look at your library and find any music that is already in the iTunes Store and makes it available on your account. If iTunes doesn't already have certain things that are in your library, it uploads it to your account. Since all this music is on the "cloud", it's not taking up space on your iPhone or iPad. That means when you play a song you have to be connected to the internet, either through wifi, or by using cell data to stream the songs.

How much data does iTunes Match use when streaming music? iTunes Match data usage is 256-Kbps or about 115 MB per hour. So, you're using 1 GB for every 9 hours of streaming. If you have a 3GB/Month plan you can stream a maximum of 26 hours per month. Most of us are not going to stream music that often. If you are going to listen to music that much you'll want to figure out what albums you listen to most and make sure to download those to your phone.

One of the things you can do is download specific playlists or albums that you listen to a lot, then it won't have to stream it every time you listen to it. For example I downloaded my running playlist when I was on wifi and now when I play it, it's not using up any data.

So what's thing about deleting all the music from your computer and iPhone? Once iTunes has "matched" all your music, you can delete it off your computer and it will still appear in your library. You might want to back up your library by doing a Time Machine backup on your Mac, or if you're using a PC copy the music folder to an external drive first before you delete everything just in case something went horribly wrong. On a side note, you're not going to get that space back on your computer that the music was taking up until you empty the trash.

On your iPhone or iPad, when you turn on iTunes Match, it deletes the music that is currently on your phone and replaces it with everything you have on the cloud, which frees up the space your music was taking up on your device.

Countless clients of mine have done this and absolutely love it! When I deleted my library I freed up over 40GB on my machine. I don't miss having music on my laptop since I almost always am connected to wifi, and if I'm not, my phone has a data plan and I can use it!

If you're like Wally and need some extra help, please reach out through the comments section or by going to my contact page. If you subscribe to updates you'll be given my contact card with a phone number and email to reach me.

Question: Do you use iTunes Match or another streaming service? What has your experience been? What's holding you back from trying it?