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?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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