Is iTunes Match about to go live? (Updated: Not so fast)

Is iTunes Match about to go live?

Apple has put "iTunes Match (Coming Soon)" placeholders up on iTunes in pretty much every country store we've checked, including the US, UK, and Canada, and the Music Settings in iOS 5 have just gotten an iTunes Match ON/OFF toggle, so... is iTunes Match about to go live? And if so, will it really go live everywhere?

iTunes Match was announced as part of iCloud and is Apple's version of a music locker service. For $24.99 a year, iTunes Match will scan your desktop iTunes library, give you a 256-bit AAC version of every song it finds there that's included in the 20 million strong iTunes catalog, and let you upload any songs (at the original quality) that aren't. It's been in developer beta since the end of August, with the only public launch date give as "coming soon".

That means it's perfectly feasible that Apple is indeed getting ready to launch iTunes Match. At least in the US. And maybe a few other countries. However, music licensing being what it is, it's very hard to imagine Apple has secured the rights for every country that currently has the "coming soon" tag in place.

So we're going to expect it when we see it, with the strong feeling it's coming "sooner" to some countries than others.

UPDATE: While the page is still there, the link saying iTunes Match (Coming Soon) from the menu seems to be gone from the Canadian and UK Stores. Maybe Apple pushed that piece out wider than they intended to?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Is iTunes Match about to go live? (Updated: Not so fast)

17 Comments

So you can access your music from anywhere, anytime. I can't put my 100G of music on anything yet. So this is perfect!

Yeah but from what I hear it doesn't stream your music, it has to be downloaded to the device first-if this is true its a major letdown. I know I have plenty of songs that's over 10mb so if I have to wait for it to download to my device before I can even start to listen then I wont be using the service:(

According to Apple it does download/cache the entire song to your device, as opposed to regular "streaming" which generally only caches a little bit at a time, but it will stream as soon as you start the download.

people with only one ios device ( iphone ) wouldn't benefit as much from this service, I dont really have the need to have music somewhere else than my iphone..

Macrumors are saying that an option to turn on iTunes match has shown up in ios5 settings but I'm pretty sure thats been there for me since i got my 4(s)

I just checked my phone and I was able to turn on Music Match just now. Seems to be working fine for me. It is just a nice place to backup the music library and have it accessible on all my iOS devices.

Yeah, turned it on my 4S and my wifes and daughters 4. They started getting really hot and the battery was drainedreally fast! Glitch?

So if i subscribe to this for 25 bucks a year it will replace all my low quality music in my library or just stays on the cloud? will they download automatically and replace my bootleg ones?

Ok so I have had early access to this and here is my experience...
I enabled it in itunes on my primary machine - it analyzed and pushed everything to the cloud. Turned it on on my Air (which never had enough storage to justify putting my music on it) and all a sudden my library appeared in its entirety and streamed the song I wanted. Impressed I enabled it on my phone and sure enough everything had a cloud by it.
Later that day I pulled my phone out at the library to listen to a song and sure enough no music was on the phone but in the cloud and it had to stream each song I wanted to listen to... FAIL! Why do I have to stream each song once until my library was updated? Why can't I keep a physical copy on my device? Maybe there is a setting I'm missing?
I quickly disabled match on my phone and it re-imported my music physically and I'm back to enjoying music on my iphone.
I still have match enabled on every device but my iPhone
Any feedback on usage would be awesome

You must have been one of the first. They fixed that in later betas. I have been using Match for about two months now and it's just awesome. You're still technically streaming, but it uses a different kind of caching.

Does this mean I can drop my entire collection of music that still needs to be organized and tagged into this and iTunes Match will actually scan it, figure out what it is, and then give me a tagged AAC version!?!

Having been one of the beta testers..... you are so going to dig this..
I have just under 22,000 tracks in my library, and now I have access to them all from my iPhone and my iPad. It's wicked cool.

To those that have used iTunes Match:
- Not sure if the limit is 20,000 or 25,000 songs. I'll be fine for at least the next 10 yrs, hopefully they'll have upgradeable accounts by then.
- Not sure what happens to these 256kbps quality songs if you cancel the iTunes Match service.
- What happens to local "old" copy of the matched songs when you go to download the 256kbps version to your PC? Archived? Deleted? Choice?

To those that have used iTunes Match:
- Not sure if the limit is 20,000 or 25,000 songs. I'll be fine for at least the next 10 yrs, hopefully they'll have upgradeable accounts by then.
- Not sure what happens to these 256kbps quality songs if you cancel the iTunes Match service.
- What happens to local "old" copy of the matched songs when you go to download the 256kbps version to your PC? Archived? Deleted? Choice?