Since Apple appeared to have rolled the functionality of iTunes Match into Apple Music, it was looking like there wouldn’t be any point in retaining an iTunes Match subscription if you were planning to continue your streaming music subscription after the free trial. But MacWorld senior contributor Kirk McElhearn found that there is one small but crucial difference between the two: DRM …
With iTunes Match, if your own music doesn’t have Digital Rights Management restrictions, uploading it to iTunes Match doesn’t change that. If you delete your local copy of an album and re-download it, you get back a non-DRM version. But that isn’t the case with Apple Music. Download one of your own tracks from Apple Music, and it arrives as a DRM-locked version.
It’s been suggested that this may have been a condition imposed by music labels for allowing Apple to wrap the match functionality into Apple Music. If so, it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. Either way, if you’ve used iTunes Match as a convenient way to free up space on your Mac by deleting your own copy of any of your music, don’t cancel your subscription in favor of Apple Music if you want to keep that music DRM free.
If you haven’t deleted your own copies of your music, then there’s nothing to worry about. If you download onto other devices from Apple Music, those devices will get the DRM versions, but you’ll still have your DRM-free originals.