iTunes Match Brings Non-iTunes Songs into the Cloud for $25
iTunes Match, one of Apple’s radically-new music offerings, shakes up even the company’s own a la carte pricing model in iTunes. A $25/year subscription presents users with the ability to have their library scanned and matched with the same high-quality 256kbp/s AAC songs available in the iTunes Store at no additional cost beyond the yearly fee. Songs matched can then be transferred to iCloud-enabled devices since they are also remotely-tied to a user’s Apple ID. If a song cannot be matched in the store, then it will be uploaded and made accessible from-the-cloud as well.
So, let’s say a user obtained a song from a source other than iTunes. Since the user already has the song in their library, a high-quality version of it already stored on Apple’s servers would be provided with an iTunes Match subscription. The simple scan removes the hassle of uploading an entire collection to a remote server and will leave some users with better-sounding music.
This is one of Apple’s most-controversional introductions ever since there are no restrictions other than a 250,000 song storage limit. Users could easily exploit the service by trading low-quality, illegally-downloaded music for the same version that customers paying standard prices receive, especially since the service’s cost is only equal to the price of about 20-25 songs. On the other hand, labels would be receiving some money from people who were probably not going to pay at all anyway. Of course, there will also be many people who subscribe in order to bring legally-obtained music into iCloud as iTunes Match is intended to do, but it is not clear whether that will be the majority.