Yesterday some developers who have access to Apple’s beta applications started showing some videos of how well Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service will work. It is one of those ideas that are brilliantly simple, yet one does not know how Apple pulled it off.
iTunes Match works like this – you have your music library (which you might have gotten very various sources, they do not all have to be purchased through iTunes), and then Apple goes and scans your library. Once Apple has these tracks it matches it to their massive iTunes catalogue, and then makes that catalogue available to your from any of your other authorized machines with iTunes, and all your authorized iOS devices like iPod, iPhone and iPad.
The other great part is that once the library is scanned it does not go along and upload all those gigs of music – the matching service makes iTunes 256kpbs AAC files available to download on the other devices. Have some bad 96kpbs track you ripped a long time ago? You can now get the “matched” file with iTunes match in good quality.
Like I said, the idea is pretty simple – but it is the execution that is the truly marvelous part. Users will pay $25 a year to use iTunes Match, and then their authorized devices can play their music library from anywhere, provided they have an internet connection. But lets be upfront about this – many people do not have fully legal music libraries. It is just an unfortunate truth. The record companies might try to sway you by saying “you would not steal a car?!” – but many of us would steal a car if we touched the car, and 30 seconds later it was our car. And the owner of the car got to keep the car.* But somehow Apple went in and twisted the record company exec’s arms to be OK with this deal.
And actually it makes sense for record companies to do this – instead of writing off the income they should have gotten from legal purchases, they can now generate a smaller income from iTunes Match. Apple will obviously pay the record companies dearly to give their clients this convenience. And good on them for getting this off the ground.
But many of us already know about iTunes Match since Steve Jobs showed it off at the iCloud event a few months back. So it is interesting to see a few videos pop up online that shows off exactly how it will work. Obviously these are Beta releases of iTunes Match, but it looks near perfect already. The service shows you all your iTunes Match tracks, and you simply choose whether to stream the track, or download the track from the iTunes Match cloud. Wait a few seconds, and it starts playing. The same goes for your Apple iDevices.
*(Mindy Kaling from The Office fame made that little piracy observation. Just to be clear – We like things that are funny, but we do not condone piracy)
If you want to be able download Apps, Music, Movies, TV Series etc from the US iTunes store, even if you live in SA, here is how to do it.