iTunes Match launched in 2011 to bridge the gap between physical and digital media. If you had ripped CDs at any point in the past, you might have lower-quality versions, like 128Kbps MP3s, as you lacked storage or computational power. By 2009, Apple had begun upgrading its digital-downloads music store to 256Kbps AAC. For many of us, there was a gap.
For $24.99 a year, a price unchanged for over a decade, iTunes Match let you find tracks that you had ripped or purchased in digital form via other sources, automatically match them to Apple’s high-quality library, and access them from any device. All these Apple-supplied tracks were DRM-free–not locked to Apple’s encryption system for playback. With a little effort, you could even download all your matched songs in the higher-quality version.
If you once had iTunes Match and canceled it and don’t subscribe to Apple Music, you could be left without a way to play back songs you own on CD and haven’t inserted into a CD/DVD drive for decades. You might see “This song is not currently available in your country or region.” or “Item Not Available. This item can’t be played.”
While these errors aren’t inaccurate, as they reflect rights Apple currently possesses, they can be providing incomplete information. First, try logging out and back in to your account in the Music app in macOS via Account > Sign Out. There’s no precise equivalent in iOS/iPadOS, so it’s better to try on your Mac first.
If that fails, subscribing might solve the problem. Subscribe and then follow the steps in the article listed above to force-download missing tracks. There’s no way to predict whether that will work, unfortunately. If it doesn’t, you can ask Apple for a refund, and customer service people might agree to reverse the charge.
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