Apple’s iTunes Match subscription service based on “iTunes in the Cloud” has just gone live for iOS developers. The service is currently exclusive to the enrolled US developers only. It was announced today as part of iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1 release and is available for $24.99 per year. iTunes Match subscription service will renew automatically after every 12 months and can be cancelled anytime during this period.
For those who don’t have a clue, iTunes Match was first announced at World Wide Developers Conference 2011 in June and is based on Apple’s iCloud technology. It lets you upload your entire music collection, be it any format such as mp3, wma or aac (format must be supported by iTunes), purchased from iTunes or somewhere else and even the music ripped from CDs, it will all be synced with iCloud servers which can then be accessed from virtually anywhere using an iOS device or a compatible Mac / Windows computer. Best of all, you get access to high quality 256kbps tracks form the iCloud even if your synced local library has poor or lower quality tracks.
As an added bonus, developers will enjoy iTunes Match during the beta period free for three months in addition to the paid yearly subscription. It is however strongly advised to retain offline backups of your music library until the iTunes Match service goes out of beta, as Apple might purge the iCloud data before its public release at upcoming iPod media event.