iTunes Match Destroyed my Ratings! + Fix

I purchased a subscription for iTunes Match yesterday and all was going just as expected, no issues. All of my tracks got matched or uploaded just fine and I could play and rate them on my iPhone, everything was in sync. Well, this afternoon while I was in town I decided to remove all the downloaded song files from my phone in order to free up some space, I used the storage manager in the settings app to do this. I was still able to play and rate songs as I was headed home later in the day, everything looked and functioned just as it should have.

When I got home and opened up my MacBook Air I started up iTunes, a few seconds later 95% of my songs had the ratings and hearts removed! 6 months ago I started iTunes with a fresh copy and have been adding 1 album at a time, rating every song before going to the next album. So far I had roughly 2,300 songs, all with my personal star ratings, so I was quite upset and nervous when I saw all that work had been thrown out.

My guess is that this had something to do with when I went to remove the files from my phone, although I had done this before when I was a Match subscriber last year.I don’t really know. Thankfully I had both a Time Machine backup and a manual iTunes backup from just before switching to iTunes Match. This is how I was able to restore my ratings and find a bit of relief, I just hope this does not happen again.

How I Restored my iTunes Song Star Ratings

This will work only if you have a backup of your iTunes Library file from before the ratings were demolished, the file is iTunes Library.itl

Screenshot of the iTunes Music Library Folder
iTunes Library File

First, remove all of the Smart Playlists in the current Match library, I have had issues with these syncing in the past. Then sync with iTunes Match (File>Library>Update iCloud Music Library) to make sure everything is up to date, also launch Music on your phone and let it sync up. Just to be sure. After all is synced properly, quit iTunes and disconnect from the internet just to keep things from getting out-of-order.

How to update iCloud Music Library (iTunes Match)
How to update iCloud Music Library (iTunes Match)

Lauch iTunes with the Option key held down, and select “Choose Library”, point it to your backup *.itl file from before the rating issue. This should hopefully open a library with all ratings present.

iTunes library selector
Select your iTunes Backup by holding down the Option key and opening iTunes


Now create a Smart Playlist for each star rating.

Screenshot of iTunes Smart Playlist Creator
Smart Playlist selector for star ratings.


Export each playlist as a *.txt file from the File menu.

Screenshot of how to export a playlist in iTunes.
iTunes playlist export menu.

Once done, quit iTunes and load up your current library with iTunes Match, the messed up one with no ratings, you can also reconnect to the internet before launching iTunes.

Just like you had to export each playlist, go through and import each one. You will end up with a regular playlist for each rating you exported. I put mine in a folder just to keep it organized.

iTunes Rating Restore Playlist
Restored playlists of ratings.

Now just go through each playlist, select all of the songs by using the Command+A shortcut and apply the star rating of the playlist!

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 4.47.31 PM
Right click after selecting all of the track in the selected playlist.


That should do it, you can also create a list of Loved trackes if you have those in your libreary. Be sure to keep frequent backups, Time Machine worked great for me as I was able to select a backup point just a few hours before the problem showed itself. Let me know if this helped or if you are having any issues, maybe I can help!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s