Editorial - Reloading your computer isn't fun or entertaining by any stretch of the imagination, but doing so every six to eight months is often necessary, especially if you expect your system to continue running as fast as it possibly can. I've gone though hundreds of system reloads over the years and never had a problem. I've reloaded everything from AmigaOS to mainframe UNIX and everything in between. It was only a matter of time before something went horribly wrong. I should have known better. I should have been expecting it. Still, the realization that something catastrophic happened this time came as a bit of a shock.
To say that I'm disappointed with Apple's new Music application would be the understatement of the year. Sure, iTunes (its predecessor) was clunky, kind of ugly, and it often tried to do too much at one time, but it never once decided to corrupt my entire music library. Yes, you read that correctly. Apple's new hybrid macOS/iOS Music app, for whatever idiotic reason, decided that every hand-encoded 320Kbps file that I had manually converted, tagged, and added to my library was suddenly no longer valid and had to be replaced. It then went and systematically replaced each and every file with a special 256Kbps encoded Apple file. First off, there was nothing wrong with any of my files, they're perfectly fine. Second, Apple's 256Kbps files are loaded with digital rights management (DRM) software and generally sound inferior when compared directly with my hand-produced files.
Replacing my files wasn't the worst of it though. Every single scrap of metadata that I've built up over the past 15 years has been blown away. All of the file counts, dates and times played, song rankings, etc. All of it has been erased. Many of the songs in my library had hundreds of play counts going back all the way to 2005 when I first converted to Apple. I could run a script against my library and it would tell me what track I played the most in October of 2010, what my favorite musical genre is overall, or what artists I listened to the most since 2005. This is historical data that I can never, ever get back, and for a statistics junky like myself, well, losing it is unimaginable.
Sadly, there's nothing that can be done to reverse the damage. There's no secret, magical command that will restore all of the lost metadata and make things right again. No, the only thing left for me to do a this point is to admit defeat and to manually blow away my Apple Music database and associated metadata. Doing so will create a new, empty database totally devoid of any useful information at all. I don't know about you, but I don't have another spare fifteen or so years to rebuild what was lost today, and that's the thing that really bothers me the most.