Apple released a new version of iTunes that enables you to store songs ripped from music CDs into iCloud–Apple calls it iTunes Match.
With iTunes Match you can play your songs anytime, anywhere: on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and even PC! You only need iOS 5.0.1 on iPhone 3GS or later, iPod touch (3rd and up), iPad, iPad 2, Mac or PC with iTunes 10.5.1. Right now you are limited to sync 25,000 songs that are not bought from iTunes but there is no limit with songs purchased from iTunes. You\’re also limited to access songs up to 10 devices only but that should be more than generous. All these are included for only $24.99 a year.
What\’s good about iTunes Match is it\’s relatively cheap to get your music stored in the cloud. With iTunes Match, iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store and iTunes will simply match your songs in the library that are in the iTunes Store. There are 20 million songs in iTunes Store already so there is a very big change it is already there. If the music is not available there, that\’s the only time iTunes has to upload any song.
So, if all your songs are available in iTunes Store, iTunes Match will not upload anything at all and will simply give you access to high quality songs.
iTunes Pirated Music
The problem with this system is that it doesn\’t matter where you got your music from. You can download songs from P2P file sharing programs, ThePirateBay or RapidShare; your music will sync in iCloud just fine.
You can argue that iTunes Match might give way to more iTunes pirated music but according to Fast Company, iTunes Match will help get people back in the habit of paying for music even if the label is not charging consumers for the music itself.
Apple will reportedly pay labels royalty-style installments every time one of their tracks gets moved through the iTunes Match system. And since it appears that Apple is not going to distinguish between authorized and unauthorized tunes, the music industry might finally earn some money on illegally downloaded tunes that were previously pure loss.
Indeed, if Apple is really paying royalties to any music synced in iCloud with iTunes Match, iTunes pirated music will benefit the labels and publishers because this is the first time they can get something out of pirated music.
If this sounds too good to be true, it is. Apple have done something that is almost equivalent to piracy amnesty.
While iTunes Match is only available in the US at this time it will play a big role in the music industry because it will make people pay for the music again. Apple should make it available worldwide because piracy is more prevalent outside USA. We will find out if the service becomes successful if Apple is able to convince more labels to strike a deal with them.
You can download iTunes 10.5.1 from Apple website and subscribe to iTunes Match service.