What is iTunes Match?

Apple have just launched iTunes Match but what is it exactly? In a nutshell, it’s basically part of iCloud and makes it possible to access your iTunes collection from anywhere with iTunes 5.1 or higher. This also provides a handy backup of your music if anything happens to your PC, Mac or iPhone.

In addition, iTunes Match can clean your iTunes library by replacing those tracks obtained from outside the iTunes store with official iTunes store versions. This is useful for example if you have lots of ripped CD’s or music downloaded from other sites that either aren’t labelled very well or are of poor sound quality. iTunes Match will replace poor quality tracks with 256kbps versions.

iTunes Match isn’t a free service. It costs $24.99 a year which isn’t bad if you’re a heavy iTunes user on multiple devices with a rather disorganized music collection.

Note that once you’ve uploaded your iTunes collection, you can stream it to your Apple devices in the same way as you can with Spotify. There’s also a 25,000 track limit although those you have purchased via iTunes don’t count towards this total.

The initial scanning and uploading process can take quite a long time especially if you’ve got a large iTunes library. Once a song is uploaded, a cloud symbol will appear next to it to let you know it’s done.

For Spotify users, iTunes Match isn’t really offering anything new but for those that rely on iTunes a lot, it’s a practical service.

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