Alright, so I’ve been playing with iTunes Match over the course of the last couple days, and I must say that I’m impressed. When the Google Music beta opened up initially, I got in pretty quick. Uploaded my shit and started using it. iTunes Match blows Google Music outta the water. For the simple fact that I own all Apple products, they’ve baked iTunes Match into all of them. iTunes for Mac, the music app on my iPhone, etc.
Pretty much the way it works, once you get it set up, is that iTunes “syncs” with Apple’s servers to let them know what music is in your library. Whatever information is relayed to Apple, they mark that song as purchased on your account. From there you can redownload it, transfer it, etc, on any of your devices or computers. Mine matched a little bit over 2000 songs out of my 2600. The other 600 needed to be uploaded to the cloud, which is what mine is doing right now. Once that’s done, my entire library will be accessible wherever I am, as long as I have a data connection.
Another thing that iTunes Match has over Google is that the songs are stored locally. I know a lot of people are up in arms about that, bitching and moaning about how they’d rather stream the songs to conserve space. Well there’s a few issues I have with that stance. First of all, most new users don’t have unlimited data anymore. Even veteran users might not have it. I’m still grandfathered in on my unlimited data plan from way back when the first iPhone came out. I’m lucky in that sense. If you’re capped at 2GB a month, streaming would suck. With Match, it actually downloads a hard copy of the song to your device. Use it when you’re on Wi-Fi and you’ll get no data charges, but you’ll also be able to keep the music stored locally when you leave that Wi-Fi network. I like that concept.
All bandwidth caps aside, my second thought about the streaming/stored locally debate is that songs load faster when stored locally. 3G is fast, but you’re not always going to have a decent connection. If you’re in a bad coverage area, there goes your music when you’re streaming. But if it’s stored on your device, you’re good to go – signal or not.
But anyway, I’ve been thoroughly impressed thus far with iTunes Match’s offerings. It works! Some how, some way, it works. Once it leaves beta and hits mainstream, it’ll take the industry my storm. Apple has done it again, just wait and see.