Yesterday, it was discovered that the developer beta of iTunes Match showed options for both streaming and downloading content from the cloud to a user’s device. Today, a new report from AllThingsD reveals that an Apple spokesperson claims that the service is not actually a streaming one.
While a video making the rounds today makes it seem as if Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service will stream music from Apple’s servers to a user’s device, that’s not the case. An Apple spokesperson confirms that any music you want to access from your cloud-based lockerwill still need to be stored on your iPad, or iPhone, or whatever device you’re using to listen to the song.
The service appears to be streaming because begins playback instantly, but instead of true streaming it is downloading and storing the file while beginning simultaneous playback. It’s unknown whether the files are stored locally are of full quality or reduced bitrate. Apple has been “deliberately vague” about how the iTunes Match service works. “Apple’s system, as it’s currently constructed, still requires users to keep stuff on their machine in order to play with it,” the report said. Kafka suggested that files that are not “downloaded” through iCloud but still played will sit in a “temporary cache” on the machine. However, according to MacRumors tracks appears to be downloaded to a local cache on the user’s device, allowing for fast access to any portion of the tracks.
Once the track has been fully played, it remains available in that cache and can be re-accessed without needing to re-stream, but it is not considered permanently downloaded and is not counted as being in the device’s music library.
According to the report, the lack of true steaming is not due to licensing hold-ups with record labels. The licenses were have said to been acquired in April.
The iTunes Match beta was made available to developers yesterday, and it allows users to “clone” their music library in the cloud by matching it with content available from iTunes. The service will cost $24.99 per year and is expected to launch this Fall.