iTunes Match launch expected 'imminently': UK still at indefinite hiatus

While iTunes Match is expected to be released 'imminently' in the United States, UK and European users may have to wait until early next year.

iTunes Match remains missing in action, despite it featuring as a core part of Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 5.

However, an email from Apple Developer suggests that iTunes Match may be arriving soon.

(Source: Apple)

While this is not the first time Apple has issued a warning to developers that their iTunes-associated iCloud libraries would be deleted as part of "overall quality and reliability" updates, it increasingly looking likely that iTunes Match will be made available towards the end of October or early November -- weeks after iOS 5 and iCloud were released.

And, though nearly 24 hours since the email was sent, users are reporting that while iCloud libraries have been deleted, a release has yet to come to fruition. Many are hoping Apple will announce the release of iTunes Match quietly over the weekend, or throughout the coming week.

Another sign was the availability of the iTunes Match 'switch' in iOS 5, which was activated in the last few days for both U.S. and UK customers. This signals at least a shift in the right direction for U.S. customers. For UK customers, however, who have been waiting patiently for news of the iTunes Match service hitting the British shores, European users may have to wait that little bit longer.

Rumours have been circulating that Apple has yet to achieve the license agreements necessary to bring iTunes Match to fruition in the continent. One leading music institution, the Performing Rights Society (PRS), said some months ago that it was "in talks" with Apple but that negotiations were at a "very early stage".

The Telegraph reported that major record labels had reached "tentative" deals with Apple, but as CNET UK report, the service will probably not reach the UK until next year.

iTunes Match was thought to have been released in line with the general availability of Apple's iOS 5 and iCloud, but delays in licensing agreements forced the computing giant to hold back on its release schedule.

The service which 'matches' your existing music libraries with better quality content, directly from the iTunes Store, will cost $24.99 per year and will be available at the same time as iTunes 10.5.1 -- a minor update to the music service that contains the iTunes Match software.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the availability of iTunes Match in the UK.

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