Long-awaited iCloud update allows users to access their music library from anytime, anywhere; for $24.99 per year iTunes matches and adds songs in your library to iCloud, uploading only those songs not available.
Apple is shaking up the music industry once again, finally launching the highly anticipated iTunes Match service with the latest version of iTunes, version 10.5.1. ITunes Match allows users to store their entire music library in the cloud – iCloud – and listen to their music anytime, anywhere.
For $24.99 per year users can stream their music on any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC – whenever you want and wherever you are. How it works is that iTunes Match scans your music library, determines what music you own, and then adds it to iCloud for you to stream. ITunes Match will only upload those songs not available in iTunes.
“Once your music is in iCloud, you can stream and store it to any of your devices,” said Apple in a press release. “Even better, all the music iTunes matches plays back from iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality — even if your original copy was of lower quality.”
ICloud went live early last month with iTunes version 10.5, and Apple promised iTunes Match would be available sometime “later,” but before the month’s end. That deadline came and went, and iTunes Match was limited to extended developer testing until today.
What makes iTunes Match so remarkable is that it will legitimize illegally downloaded music. The service can’t determine what music has or has not been legally purchased. So for those of you out there sitting on 400GB+ MP3 treasure troves, record labels might just have finally found a way to get money from your after all. The only limit to this, however is that iTunes Match has a 25,000 song limit for music not purchased in iTunes so you might have to pick winners and losers as far as what music you want to have in the cloud.
Google launched a similar Cloud-based music streaming service back in April with Google Music. Though free, Google Music requires users to upload all of their music with a 20,000 song maximum. For those with slow Internet connections it could be weeks or months before you were through. If that’s not a concern you could always bypass the single account 20,000 song maximum by setting up several different gMail and Google Music accounts. You could, for example have one dedicated solely to house music, and another to hip hop. I have two: one for Beatles and guitar-themed tunes, and another for House and Electronica.
To get started with iTunes Match, first download and install iTunes version 10.5.1. Next, open the iTunes Store and select “iTunes Match: from the right-hand sidebar.
Once there, select the “Subscribe for $24.99″ tab.
What do you think about iTunes Match? Do you plan on subscribing?