2012 Mac mini iTunes library vanishes before my eyes

It’s our family computer, and it runs iTunes for our AppleTV. It has Sierra and I can’t figure out how to upgrade it any further. I understand unexpected things will happen if you can’t upgrade an older, unsupported computer running older, unsupported systems, but the sudden disappearance of my entire iTunes library is super shocking. Some, but far from all of my music is still on my drive - I subscribe to iTunes Match, which has always been set to auto-renew, but 90% of it has vanished completely.

When I restore my library from my iTunes backup, it looks fine for a minute, but then the app blinks and everything goes away. I can replicate this behavior, even after signing out of iCloud and re-authenticating my iTunes account.

I’m not looking for solutions here. I’m just basically aghast at this behavior. I’ve been using Macs since 1990, I’ve been the tech guy when I used to work at small ad agencies. I’m tired of constant change, but I’m not fundamentally stupid or uninformed. It’s just - incredibly shocking. I plan on going through the excruciating process of trying to talk to some tech people soon and I just found the whole thing crazy.

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Sorry to hear about this. Unfortunately, my experience with iCloud Music Library under Apple Music — and iTunes Match before that — has been decidedly hit-and-miss. Sometimes it works, other times it refuses to sync, and in a few cases it has failed to sync and then lost the original file.

In the end, I cancelled my Apple Music subscription and cut the cord with iCloud entirely, then cleaned up my entire music library.

Thankfully, a lot of music was either purchased on CD, meaning I can re-rip it from the original disc, or was bought in digital form from Bandcamp meaning I can re-download those.

I’m seriously considering ditching the Music app entirely, I no longer trust it to keep my music library intact.

I did a quick Google search and found solutions. It looks like disappearing iTunes library is a thing. I guess that should I consider myself lucky that I have avoided that one.