iTunes Match is live: Confessions of a cloud hog

Apple rolled out its iTunes Match cloud service, and I signed up. This makes three cloud music services I use. I guess I am taking up too much of the cloud.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Yesterday Apple opened the doors to the iTunes Match service, a bit late and with a few bumps for new subscribers. I wasn't able to get my subscription going until this morning, but it is now active and iTunes has matched my 2,700+ music collection and it is now available (mostly) to five devices running iTunes. This makes the third cloud music service I use, and as pointed out to me by Tom Reestman on Twitter I am now officially a cloud hog.

Parts of my music collection now reside on the Amazon Cloud Drive/Player and the Google Music beta cloud. I jumped on the Amazon service when it first appeared, and uploaded my collection to that service. I can listen to my music through Amazon's native app on Android, and through any web browser. The music lives in the cloud and is streamed to me on demand.

Google followed Amazon with its Music beta cloud service, and I signed up for it too. I wanted to try them both and see which one would be better, eventually becoming my one music service in the sky. It works much like the Amazon service, with an upload of my entire music collection first, then listening via streaming through either a Google Android app or a web browser.

So why did I pony up $25/year for the iTunes Match cloud service? The short answer is for the thousand DRM-infested iTunes songs that neither Google nor Amazon can play. I started my music collection years ago by purchasing music from iTunes, and those early purchases had the pesky DRM rendering them useless outside the Apple ecosystem.

When Amazon started offering music without DRM, I immediately switched like a lot of folks to free up my purchases. That music, along with my music I ripped from purchased CDs, is a library over 1,600 songs in size. Since there is no DRM on those songs, they can play on both the Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player services. They play on iTunes, too.

Those first 1,000 songs can only play in the iTunes world, and thus the need for the iTunes Match subscription. I can now listen to my entire music library of almost 3,000 songs, as long as I am on an iOS/iTunes system.

So various bits of my collection now live in three different parts of the cloud, which I admit makes me a cloud hog. Over the next year I expect that will change, and I will stop paying for duplicate cloud services. I will continue to use the three for now, and see which presents the best listening experience. That will determine what I eventually settle on long-term. Until then, I will remain a cloud hog.

A large part of my music collection is classic rock, those old songs by artists who are not still with us. It seems poetic that their music lives on in the cloud.

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