Apple has released iTunes 10.5.1, and with it has officially launched iTunes Match, the company’s previously announced cloud music service.
Cloud music services have been available for months from other sources, but Apple’s service has a little something extra. As the name implies, it can search through tracks in your library, identify them, and then sync them with your iTunes Match account. This will give you access to a DRM-free, 256-Kbps AAC version of the music straight from Apple’s servers, even if the music wasn’t purchased from iTunes or was originally in a lower quality format.
Of course, iTunes can only match what is in its database, which isn’t universal. However, even if you have music that isn’t on iTunes, it can be uploaded, making it too accessible through the service. A maximum of 25,000 songs can be synced, but songs you’ve purchased through iTunes do not account against that limit. At launch, users with iTunes libraries that already exceed 25,000 songs not purchased through iTunes are locked out of signing up for iTunes Match until they eliminate some songs from their library.
Given all that iTunes Match can do it’s little surprise that it’s not free. There’s only one subscription tier, which is priced at $24.99 and provides unlimited access to your iTunes Match music on any iOS device or computer with iTunes. Unsurprisingly, Apple isn’t providing Android owners with a compatible app. It will be interesting to see if some app developers can come up with a solution for this.
Source: Ars Technica