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iTunes Match: $24.99/Year, Matches Ripped Tunes, Offers Them In The Cloud

Today, in addition to Lion, iOS 5 and the other iCloud features, Apple rolled out iTunes in the Cloud. The service is free for songs purchased through the iTunes Store, while a new "iTunes Match" service priced at $24.99/year extends the program to ripped music.

iTunes Match
iCloud will attempt to ease the burden of syncing -- at least for songs purchased through iTunes. Previously-purchased songs will show up in a purchase history and any music purchased can be re-downloaded to any device at no additional charge. According to Steve Jobs, this is the "first time we've seen this in the music industry."

Using the new Automatic Downloads feature, content purchased via iTunes is pushed (not streamed) to mobile devices and vice versa. Users will consequently have all of their songs, automatically, wherever they are, on up to ten devices. The service is free for songs through the iTunes Store.

As far as ripped music, iTunes has 18 million songs in the music store and Apple will use a feature called iTunes Match to give users the same benefits on ripped songs matched to iTunes songs, as with purchased tracks. A user's library is scanned and matched and any songs that remain unmatched can be uploaded for syncing. Songs that are matched are upgraded to 256KBps, AAC, DRM-free, with all the benefits above, including push syncing and all the rest.

iTunes Match is priced at a flat rate of $24.99 per year, even for "20,000 songs."

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
Piracy Laundry.... right there.
Rating: 24 Votes
44 months ago
So 25 bucks a year to legitimize several years' worth of downloaded music? Sign me up

Rating: 17 Votes
44 months ago
Available in beta now in the U.S. only and requires iOS 4.3.1 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM model), iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac or PC with iTunes 10.3. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer in the iTunes Store. Download iTunes 10.3 free.

Requires iOS 5 on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad, or iPad 2, or a Mac computer with OS X Lion or a PC with Windows Vista or Windows 7 (Outlook 2007 or 2010 recommended). Limit 25,000 songs. iTunes purchases do not count against limit.

Unmatched content will be uploaded; upload time varies depending on amounts uploaded.

Upload time varies depending on amounts uploaded.

Unmatched content will not be upgraded.
Rating: 8 Votes
44 months ago

Cap.

I honestly call this DOA because we have to pay a $25 a year label tax. Compared to Google Music same 20k worth of songs is 100% free. Apple we have to pay $25 a year to have access to the same songs we already paid for.


I disagree. This will be huge, no one else can come close and for $25.00 per year it is kinda like an tax paid to the labels. Let's face it only about 1 in 40 songs on the typical iTunes library was paid for.
Rating: 6 Votes
44 months ago

Cap.

I honestly call this DOA because we have to pay a $25 a year label tax. Compared to Google Music same 20k worth of songs is 100% free. Apple we have to pay $25 a year to have access to the same songs we already paid for.


Uh, you have remembered that Google Music is only free WHILE IN BETA right? Oh, and I've got no problem with the charge for iTunes Match as:

a) a lot of content uploaded WILL be pirated and they're effectively licencing it all when you do upload.

b) iTunes content ripped at lower bitrates effectively gets a free upgrade without having to spend the time re-ripping

c) most importantly, I don't have to spend WEEKS (and I'm lucky, unlimited uploads, most would have to batch this over months) uploading my data and clogging my internet connection in the process. That's easily worth $25.
Rating: 6 Votes
44 months ago
Im sorry, but that just seems like an incredible offer. Hesitation over my mostly non-iTunes ripped music was the biggest concern I had in the "iCloud". This is awesome.
Rating: 5 Votes
44 months ago

1. If I sign up and it matches my ripped music, does it then let me download the matched version from iCloud to keep forever?

2. What happens when I stop paying for this service? Do I keep the downloaded music from iCloud or does it revert to my old copies of music?

Thanks!

1) You HAVE TO download it and it is DRM-free, so I assume the logical answer is "YES".
2) You will be cancelling the matching service but already have a copy of the DRM-free file, so the logical answer is "YES, you get to keep the "upgraded version".

Disclaimer: I'm just answering based on how it sounds like it will work...
Rating: 5 Votes
44 months ago
I'm assuming here that the catch is that iTunes Match will be the only way to activate iTunes over iCloud. Without iTunes Match iCloud won't let you sync your music via the cloud, so you have to do it manually; not a big deal sure, but it's the hook they're hoping to keep you paying with.

So the point is that you pay the yearly fee (even just for a year), and instead of uploading all your songs to iCloud, they try to match as many of them to existing copies that they have. When you sync another device it'll just pull the iTunes copies of the music detected on your other machines. Presumably you'll also be able to sync your source machine as well so any poor copies of the music can be replaced with the iTunes copies, though I'm curious to know what it'll do with tracks you have that are already "better" (since it can be subjective, and higher bit-rate might not mean a better copy), maybe it'll give you the option to replace it as you like?

Only songs that aren't found on iTunes will be uploaded to iCloud as a result.


This can be seen in several ways; they're giving a way to minimise the amount of stuff you have to upload to iCloud, making for faster syncing and less space used-up on your iCloud account and you're getting (probably) better copies of music that you've ripped from CD's or… elsewhere.


All in all it seems like win-win to me. I don't actually have any devices to sync with, but I'll happily buy a year's worth just to update poor copies of music that I have that I imported ages ago, or bought back in the iTunes music store's infancy.


I hope though that it will allow streaming for songs that either aren't synced yet, or that you simply can't fit, as my computer has way more music than even a high-end iPad could hold, so what would happen then? I'd hope I could set aside 10gb for music on my iPad, and iTunes would only locally store the ones I listen to most, and stream any others that don't fit, or something like that anyway.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

Piracy Laundry.... right there.


Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago
First person to accurately explain how the matching service works wins a prize of immeasurable value. ;)
Rating: 4 Votes

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