After weeks of delays, iTunes Match has finally launched. What does this mean? It's Apple's answer to music on the cloud. You take your MP3 collection, Apple scans through it, and then it grants you access to all those songs, wherever you go. Plus, it does it with a minimum of uploading. (In other words, instead of taking your collection and sending it to the internet song by song (like Amazon and Google do right now), it grants you access to the song directly on its servers.) (Note that Google Music is doing an event today, and their offerings might change soon based on what they announce.) iTunes Match isn't free: it costs $25/year.
I have a lot of music on my computer. Enough that I had to start picking and choosing what I wanted stored on my iPad, so that I had room for other stuff on it. So it made sense to me to subscribe to Match and give it a shot. Installation was easy--you just upgrade to the latest version of iTunes, and then click the appropriate button on the left hand menu. And since you pay for it with your iTunes useraccount, paying was a cinch, too.
It took about an hour for the service to scan through the 3,000 some odd songs I have on my hard drive. Once that was done, it only needed to upload something like 500 of them to the cloud. Because I'm at a university with fast internet, that didn't take long at all--though if you're at home, I imagine it could take quite a long time, indeed.
Switching it on in my iPad was also easy--just go to settings > music and turn on the labeled switch. It ditches whatever music you have on your iPad and replaces it with the ability to stream music from your library, or download individual songs. So far, it's been very easy to use. As long as I have internet, I have all my music--and none of it has to take up any space on my iPad.
I do wish there was a way to make playlists on the fly, and I'd also like to be able to rate music directly from my iPad. To be fair, I haven't had the chance to fully play around with the program, and it's possible that it can do both of these things--but if it can, they haven't made it overly apparent.
All told, it's a service I'm very happy to take advantage of. How about you? Tried it? Thinking about it? Any questions for me? Ask away!