Earlier today, Apple released a new iTunes 6.1 beta with iTunes match to developers. iTunes Match is a new service that allows users to pay for an annual subscription that will make their entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers as well.
Insanely Great Mac not only has a nice walkthrough for the service, but also has discovered that iTunes Match is both a streaming and downloading service. This feature on your iOS devices means your music library won’t need to take up space on the device itself, as long as you have some sort of internet connection.
For $25/year, iTunes Match will scan your existing iTunes music library and allow you to access it from any of your iTunes-linked Macs or iOS devices. Existing songs in the iTunes music store will streamed straight from Apple’s servers (at 256kbps bitrate) without a need to upload the songs yourself. In addition, songs that don’t exist in iTunes will be uploaded to iCloud. Either way, up to 25,000 songs will be accessible from your various computers and iOS devices.
When Apple first annouced the service at WWDC 2011, it wasn’t clear that music can be either streamed or downloaded locally to any of your computers or devices. The service works the same way on Mac and iOS devices allowing you to have instant access your entire music library from all of your Macs, iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches for only $25/year.
iTunes Match is expected to launch this fall with iOS 5.