When iTunes Match launched, the world celebrated. Apple offering cloud services we could all use.
Uniquely, iTunes Match, lets you use your own music library and Apple, looks at the music and if it already exists in Apples extensive cloud library, it moves none of your music but associates your music in the cloud so you can listen to it on any of you iOS devices like the iPad, Mac, iPhone, and AppleTV.
This is a better way for those that have broadband (with sometimes slow upload speeds) and especially if you have a large existing music library. Amazon and Google offer similar choices, but require you to upload all your own music. Amazon charges for storage above 5GB.
Unfortunately iTunes Match does not work outside the USA.
Actually that is not correct, it does not work unless you have a US address, & US credit card. The assumption is you must therefore live in the USA. Apple has not said why. However there are companies offering these minor details, allowing iTunes Match access for all across the globe.
It is believed Apple did not want to launch the service globally as it does not have the cloud infrastructure in place to handle the traffic this would cause if used in mass.
How it works: Once you log into to your iTunes account and register your US credit card and details, you can pay the $25 per annum to apple. iTunes uses any outstanding vouchers or credits you have before it uses your credit card. There are only 3 steps after that
As it says you can use iTunes whilst iTunes Match is doing its thing. I have just under 10,000 songs, and this takes up 53GB of space. Apple is limiting space to 25,000 songs, so I find this very generous.
That aside there are downsides, though they are few but the first one is a biggie.
1) Your Own Corrupt Music Data – It is believed many people will have corrupt data (or meta tags) associated with their music tracks. This means in the traditional garbage in and garbage out world of IT, that Apple might miss associate some of your music library with the wrong songs. This can be dangerous if you over write your master library with that from your new found cloud friends Apple. Note there are some good programs that fix the meta tags either automatically or manually (like Tag and Rename and Tune Up Companion, with the later attaching itself to iTunes so you can drag and drop your music into it to cleanse and correct meta tag issues) . So it is worth backing up your music library so it cannot be over written. If you can wait it is worth cleaning you music tracks to make sure all your meta tags are in order.
2) Music Quality– Audiophiles that enjoy the new remastered tracks of everything from the Beatles to the Who, may have ripped their music in raw or high quality that is better than the 255k that Apple is offering (that is overall better than most have with 64k and 128k tracks), but an issue none the same (it might be possible to keep the higher-definition tracks in the cloud I am still testing that now). I estimate 5% of my music is above 255k, or around 25 albums or 500 songs).
Time: This is not a quick process but I hope well worth it. I am currently over 2 hours in and will update this after it is complete. Step 1, The diagnosis phase took 1 hour, Step 2, the matching phase took an hour also matching about 3 songs a second Competition: The Google Music Service as mentioned is similar but it took 21 days to upload half my music, a daunting task indeed, but the service works very well, also globally, and on any browser (phones, tablets, pcs, or macs)