Google’s Scan-and-Match Service: Users Find Explict Songs Replaced with Clean Versions


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How long will it take to put your music collection online? Image by corazón girl

Google: Not the First Scan and Match

Apple introduced their scan-and-match service for iTunes in February 2012, and experienced the same problem, but it only affected some songs.

Jay Z and Kanye West were among the affected, while many Marilyn Manson tracks remained unchanged. Apple instantly acknowledged the problem and worked on a fix right away.

Amazon Cloud Player was also affected by the scan and switch problem, but in this case, users had the option to manually re-upload tracks where the incorrect version had been chosen.

Google Only Scans Part of the Track

Why does Google’s scan-and-track service have this problem? It only scans part of the track on your computer. After listening to a few seconds of music and the lyrics, the service will find the version in its library and call it a match – Google does not scan the whole track to find out which version is which. Google has also acknowledged that they use Gracenote to find the album cover details, but not for its scanning service.

Cloud Music: Easy Fix for Users

Those who are affected will be happy to know that there is an easy way to fix the issues: Upload the track manually when you find an incorrect match. A small triangle will appear next to the track or you can right-click and select the option “Fix Incorrect Match.”

Scan and Match: Helpful or Hazardous?

The scan-and-match service is helping millions of users upload their tracks to the cloud to play on many devices at the same time. There’s a fix available for the problems, but an earful of the wrong lyrics for kids may be a real problem for some parents. Google is not the first with the problem, but maybe the developers should have learned from the mistakes of Apple and Amazon before releasing the service.


Johnson, S. Anger as Google Music’s Scan-and-match Feature Swaps Explicit Songs with Clean Versions. (2012). Daily Mail Online. Accessed January 2, 2013.

Ngak, C. Google Music Scan-and-match is Swapping Versions, Report Says. (2012). CBS News. Accessed January 2, 2013.

Baldwin, R.  Google Music Self-Censoring Naughty Lyrics for Some Users. (2012). Wired. Accessed January 2, 2013.

Peoples, G. Google Music’s Scan & Match Problem , But There’s An Easy Fix. (2012). Accessed January 2, 2013.

Byford, S. iTunes Match Replacing Some Explicit Rap Songs with Censored Versions, Apple Working on a Fix. (2012). The Verge. Accessed January 2, 2013.

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