iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

Summary: Apple's new cloud-based iTunes service will allow pirate music downloaders to legitimise their playlists for an incredibly low price of $25 a year.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Apple, Mobility
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Just announced at Apple's WWDC conference: iTunes Match.

Apple's website has just been updated with the latest goings on from the keynote speech, including Steve Jobs himself.

iTunes Match will allow you to keep all the songs that you have in your music library -- even the ones that have been downloaded illegally. Lower quality music will be matched to iTunes' library and upgraded to a higher quality 256kbps AAC DRM-free file, so it can be ported onto any device.

And all of this only costs $24.99 a year.

I'll grant Apple this -- just under $25 a year to legitimise an entire music collection is not a bad deal whatsoever.

From Apple's website:

"If you want all the benefits of iTunes in the Cloud for music you haven’t purchased from iTunes, iTunes Match is the perfect solution. It lets you store your entire collection, including music you’ve ripped from CDs or purchased somewhere other than iTunes. For just $24.99 a year.

Here’s how it works: iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store. Any music with a match is automatically added to your iCloud library for you to listen to anytime, on any device.

Since there are more than 18 million songs in the iTunes Store, most of your music is probably already in iCloud. All you have to upload is what iTunes can’t match. Which is much faster than starting from scratch. And all the music iTunes matches plays back at 256-Kbps iTunes Plus quality — even if your original copy was of lower quality."

So, not only will Apple allow you to store vast quantities of music in the cloud, it will even replace the poor quality music you have if Apple has it in the iTunes library.

It is limited to 25,000 songs, however, and will require an iOS 5 device. But many will have far less than that. There are limits to every service, of course.

Whether iTunes Match will be a conduit for the music police to come knocking at the door, I heavily doubt. I do suspect that these clandestine deals with major record labels in the past few weeks will help repair the tarnished relationship between record companies and music pirates.

At this stage, it is not entirely clear how this will pan out. Some may say that this will be a way for Apple to 'legitimise' music piracy, but I for one am taking the optimistic approach.

It seems clear to me, that the $25 a year is a very little amount to pay compared to the piracy fines some people have received in the past -- for Apple to distribute money back into the music industry.

Did Apple just kill music piracy? Perhaps not, but I am quite certain that the industry finally has a way to recover losses through online file sharing.

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Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

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85 comments
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  • What do you think?

    Has Apple single handedly saved the music industry? Will you 'legitimise' your music collection for $25 a year? Or are you sceptical and concerned by putting your music collection in the cloud could incriminate you? <b>Have your say.</b>
    zwhittaker
    • Does this work with WP7, Android, Windows 7, Linux, ect?

      @zwhittaker

      If not, then they didn't just kill music piracy.
      Will Pharaoh
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @Will Pharaoh Well it's DRM free music. So, you can USB all of your music from your devices onto your iTunes -- it'll upload it, match it, replace it if it's of poor quality -- and the cost of it will support the record industry. Because it's DRM free, you can download it again and use it on any device. Pretty good solution from the looks of it.
        zwhittaker
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @Will Pharaoh
        As usual, you don't bother to even TRY to determine if your objection is supported by facts before posting.
        Fail.
        Again.
        DeusXMachina
    • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

      @zwhittaker Could you please tell me how this kills music piracy? So what if the music is now from an "official" source, it's still pirated music. This is a service that takes music that you've payed for and for 25$, gives it to you in the cloud. It's still supposed to be payed for, regardless of Match.
      Aerowind
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @Aerowind That's what I don't understand. I think it will increase piracy, because you can download thousands of dollars worth of music and then pay $25 to "legitimize" the songs. Would like to know more.
        DustinU
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @Aerowind But the thing here is: iTunes is going to match, upgrade and replace those songs that have been added to your library by "less than legal" means as well. As long as the metadata is somewhat able to identify a song, artist, album, etc. Apple and the music labels are ceding that you already "own" this song and are willing to make it available to you for that $25 fee. This $25 will be divided up and dispersed between Apple and the labels/artists. So on one hand they are making a little extra money from items you may have legitimately purchased on CD, Amazon MP3, etc. On the other, they are getting a little money back from the illegally downloaded songs that are now being replaced. It really is a win-win. They were getting NOTHING from the pirates before. Now they have the opportunity to get SOMETHING through this matching service.<br><br>Piracy will never truly stop. But this is an excellent idea for both consumers and the evil recording industry. Kudos to everyone involved in making it happen...if it works as advertised!
        tmhale13
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @tmhale13 Making money? It's $25 dollars a year. I'd be shocked if that even covers Apple's server costs. It's an extremely minor payment that rewards being a pirate.
        Aerowind
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @Aerowind The fact is that Apple invested in the data centers. That investment was something they needed to do to compete with Google and others offering free web/cloud services. And all of that is free. This $25 is for an above and beyond service that honestly does not cost them much more in storage costs. Those digital music files are already being stored. That is how you purchase them in iTunes. One of my (and MANY others) biggest gripes against the labels is that they can charge as much for a digital download as they do for a mass produced CD. Even though there is no more media production, shipping and physical storage cost associated with it. The actual cost of a downloaded album should be WAY less than buying a physical CD.

        Here, the labels will get some percentage of every dollar spent to "join" this top tier. That is simply money that they WERE NOT getting before. Even if you feel that it is a minuscule amount, it is still an amount they did not have before. And all at almost no additional cost to them. They have already produced and provided these tracks to Apple for sale in iTunes. So I do not see ANY cost leveled back on the labels. Apple is footing this bill...and I am sure they are not simply dong it out of the kindness of their hearts. They will be whistling as they stroll to the bank with their iPods playing "matched" songs through white earbuds.
        tmhale13
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @Aerowind Yeah how can 25$ for every song you can download stop piracy. It don't get this idea.
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        drcro
    • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

      @zwhittaker None of the above. A lot of my music is from CDs and records that I already own or from live shows of share friendly artists. Apple wouldn't have any of my live material, so that offers very little benefit to me for that material... And I refuse to pay an additional fee to listen to media that I already purchased. I'm comfortable with paying to store it in the cloud, but I refuse to relicense content I already own.
      snoop0x7b
      • Relicense?

        @snoop0x7b

        I think you misunderstand. iTunesMatch is not a relicensing service, it's a personalized re-distribution service for your entire music collection. You pay the $25 per year for the convenience of always having access to your music without having to bring your mobile devices back home to sync up with your pc. Don't want to pay the $25? Fine, don't use the service.
        jaypeg
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @snoop0x7b so true. Relicense the content that is so unbelievable. Why would i want to pay again for something. Ivan @ <a href="http://www.kirklands-coupons.org">kirklands coupons</a>
        drcro
    • Skeptical, a little, excited? Very

      @zwhittaker Look, I'm a 23 year old guy working in a mom n pops IT shop. I do not make the most money in the world so i pirate the things I need if I cannot afford it. BUT I would be willing to pay apple 25 dollars a year to make my stuff legit. Its kind of funny though, because the way this translates to me is "Pirate all the music you want and we will make it legit for $25 a year"
      OneTwoc21
      • &quot;so i pirate the things I need if I cannot afford it&quot;

        @OneTwoc21 Uh, did you really just say "so i pirate the things I need if I cannot afford it"? So, if your car runs out of gas you siphon it from some poor schmucks car who HAS paid for it? Try using the correct word instead of "pirate". What word is that, you ask? Oh, sorry - it's "steal".

        Here's the thing, OneTwoc21: despite what your socialist politicians have been cramming down your throat for 2 decades, you are entitled to nothing. If you can't afford to pay for something, guess what? You CAN'T HAVE IT. So why not do us all a favour and stop stealing stuff? It's people like you who make prices high in the first place.

        I can't afford an LCD TV - ok with you if I swing by your place and "pirate" your one?...
        naibeeru
    • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

      Seriously? then that would be a great thing, we could save up right? Then do you think the music industry will be happy about that? I don't think so.

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    • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

      Must have been a good idea if they want these music download to be legit, anyway there is still a pay so, both will benefit.

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  • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

    I am not the biggest fan of Apple, but this concept does intrigue me. I do have a few questions for the lawyers though. I do not currently have any pirated music on my computer. What if I purchased this subscription and then started to go download pirated music off torrents. Would that be covered? I currently use Pandora for my music listening needs, but sometimes I am in the mood to listen to a specific album or song. Also my little girl is now getting to age where she is always wanting to buy specific songs or albums. Can I use this "legally" download torrented music file? If so I am sold. Of course the downside is I need to have an iOS 5 device which I don't know if I can do that. :)
    DustinU
    • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

      @DustinU

      Why would you bother to go through all the trouble to use a torrent? Just go to iTMS and double click. Done.
      DeusXMachina
      • RE: iTunes Match: Legitimising your illegal music collection?

        @DeusXMachina That costs $.99 and defeats the purpose of getting "free" music :P (not that I'm advocating piracy over purchasing, but OP is asking a question ABOUT that. )
        snoop0x7b