iTunes Match Finally Launches in the US with iTunes 10.5.1

Apple has finally launched iTunes Match in the US, along with iTunes 10.5.1. The company previously promised the cloud music service would debut in October, but that never materialized. The $24.99 annual service is a significant part of Apple’s iCloud service:

With iTunes Match, even songs you’ve imported from CDs can be stored in iCloud. And you can play them on any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC — whenever you want and wherever you are, without syncing. iTunes Match is just $24.99 a year.

Here’s how it works: iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store. Any music with a match is automatically added to iCloud for you to listen to anytime, on any device. Since there are more than 20 million songs in the iTunes Store, chances are, your music is already in iCloud. And for the few songs that aren’t, iTunes has to upload only what it can’t match. Which is much faster than starting from scratch. Once your music is in iCloud, you can stream and store it to any of your devices. 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.

iTunes Match is reportedly set to launch in Canada and other countries by the end of this year. Apple’s Eddy Cue responded to one of our readers that the service would launch here shortly after the US debut.

Who’s eagerly awaiting iTunes Match to hit Canada?

[via The Loop]

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Marsdust

    Great concept, but would never work for the music I listen to.

  • Morgan

    Why not? If it doesn’t have the music you listen to, it uploads it for you? Shouldn’t this work with any music?

  • I’m pretty pumped for this. Most of my music is ripped from older CDs anyway, not to mention it upgrades all your music (that can be matched) and at the same time provides a backup for all that music. $25/year sounds like a good deal to me!

  • Rony

    I have a question, how does it give you higher quality music of the ones that it can’t match? Weird…huh

  • Sheldon

    What happens when the music is of better quality than 256 like WAVE files? Will it downgrade it? Otherwise, this is great!

  • Marsdust

    Not sure that’s how it works.  I think it just matches what’s in your library and doesn’t actually upload and store your own music.  Since most of what I have in my library are foreign language songs, I’ll be shocked if it could be matched by iTunes Match.

  • Morgan

    It does upload and store your music if it can’t find a match for it. 

    “Since there are more than 20 million songs in the iTunes Store, chances are, your music is already in iCloud. And for the few songs that aren’t, iTunes has to upload only what it can’t match.”

  • Trevor Mitchell

    It’s uploading your copy of the song to the cloud allowing you to stream / download it from the cloud. It’s backing up your music in a sense. Downloading better quality versions are only for matched music.

  • Cerita

    Ah, I get it!  Thanks for clarifying.  Hmm, I just might get it when it’s released here :).

  • Guest

    you are limited to 25,000 songs in iCloud at a time.