A few months back, I signed up for iTunes Match ($24.99 a year), the service that backs up your iTunes library to the Cloud and allows you to stream your music or stream and download your music to your device. Also, my mobile service provider is AT&T.*
So here's the problem: With Match enabled, every time you sync your iPhone to your computer, Match wipes the slate clean. Whatever you bothered to download last time you were out and about or before last time you left the house gets zapped back up into the Cloud—reverse lightning. Then next time you go out into the concrete gymnasium, you have to stream all your tunes. And because you're streaming with AT&T, your tunes sputter, cough, and wheeze their way into your ears. It's a lousy way to experience music on the go, which is one of the most pleasing times to listen to the stuff. It's a cost of convenience.
I'd rather curate my mobile library occasionally, when the mood or inspiration strikes. It's almost not worth the peace of mind facilitated by knowing your entire library is backed up, with redundancies. (Apple states that if you cancel your subscription, you get all your songs back.)
So after I spent several months and several paragraphs whining about this, I decided to look into it (such is, sadly, the same way I approach many minor annoyances in life.) and the workaround, thankfully, is very simple. Turn off Match on your phone, and manually manage what music goes on it. Your library is still backed up (assuming it's not just on your phone), and you get the songs you want with no stream stalling. Now then, what else can I complain about?
Okay, I wrote the first half of this post, like, last week. The fix didn't work! Verdict: STUPID. There is an option "Sync only checked songs and videos," but the default mode checks the things when you import them to iTunes. Who wants to go through their entire library and uncheck everything they don't want to hear when they go out for a trip. Then, this happened, and then, two days later, this godamn shit happened.
If there's a non-stupid way to decide when you want to sync your stuff, I take this all back. Except the part where it should be way more intuitive. If you know this way, kindly chime in. Also, who's backed up their music library to a cloud and is happy with their experience? Chime in in the comments section.
*If you're not familiar, AT&T provides notoriously subpar cellular/digital coverage.