After a slight delay, iTunes Match has gone live, giving Yanks access to their music, in the cloud, without ever having to upload a thing. All download, no upload sounds like a formula for success -- but will it ever make its way to the UK?
We can't entirely blame Apple, however. The BPI needs to get its rear into gear and give its fellow countrymen some of that cloud-based music too.
In case you need a little refresher, iTunes Match will work in the US like this: You buy the $25 (£15) a year service, and it scans your entire music library. That gives you iCloud access to high quality (256Kbps AAC) versions of all of your songs, even if the version on your computer sounds like it was recorded on a Fischer Price My First Tape Recorder. You can then access your music from any computer (Mac or PC), iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It's not streaming, exactly, but you can start listening as soon as it starts downloading, theoretically, which means there's not much of a difference.
One of the surprising things about Match is that it doesn't seem to discriminate against your torrented or otherwise pirated files. How Apple got record companies to sign off on this is a mystery to me. We know that there were a fair amount of bugs to be ironed out in bringing Match to market in the US—it's two weeks late—so it will be interesting to see if they've got everything working like it's supposed to. The concept of having access to all of your music files without having to endure painfully slow upload times might just be enough to make a lot of people shell out the annual fee.
Any Yanks (or people with transatlantic magic skills) reading this article can download the iTunes update now and sign up from there, otherwise the rest of us poor sods will just have to wait for Apple and the BPI to shake hands and work out the finer details for a UK launch. [Cult of Mac]