Digital Top Stories

iTunes Match goes live outside US

By | Published on Friday 16 December 2011

iTunes Match

After some confusion, iTunes have made the scan and match element of their digital locker service available outside the US.

iTunes Match is a service which scans a user’s digital music collection, and automatically places copies of any music in there that is also in the iTunes library into said user’s iCloud locker, stored on Apple’s servers and accessible via any net-connected device. It means that users can have their MP3 collections stored in the iCloud without having to actually upload the majority of the tracks they own. Of course the sources of many of the tracks in some user’s MP3 collections may have been illegal, but once they start accessing the equivalent track via the Apple platform that song is now legit.

The Match element of Apple’s digital locker distinguishes it from similar services provided by Google and Amazon, because offering scan and match requires a licence from the music companies (because mechanical copies of tracks are made by Apple on their users’ behalf, rather than by the users themselves). Apple worked with the music firms on its digital locker service, while Google and Amazon – somewhat controversially within record label circles – did not.

iTunes Match was not initially available outside the US, and we weren’t expecting a UK launch until 2012. But then yesterday the Match button appeared on iTunes in various territories around the world without any announcement or fanfare. Then reports circulated that Apple had put the new service live early by mistake, and that people who had signed up having seen the button were being given refunds. But then by this morning word was the launch was actually planned, and iTunes is now officially live in the UK, Canada, France, Ireland, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Over here using the Match function will cost you £21.99 a year