iTunes Match Launched with Release of iTunes 10.5.1

iTunes Match has been launched in the USA by Apple with the release of iTunes 10.5.1. The Match service costs $24.99 a year to store your entire music library within iCloud allowing you to stream it to any iOS 5+ iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, or Windows PC, regardless of where your music has come from. This means music that you have ripped from your own CD’s, gathered over the course of time, downloaded from the web, or bought from iTunes, are all accessible to be streamed through the iTunes Match service.

To use iTunes Match, you’ll need to sign up for and set up iCloud if you haven’t already, then install the latest version of iTunes. After launching iTunes, you’ll see a new “iTunes Match” option under left sidebar where you can sign up for the service.

You can get the latest version of iTunes through Software Update, iTunes Update, or by downloading it directly from Apple: Download from A professional protected music converter and DRM removal software helps to remove DRM from iTunes.

Apple describes how iTunes Match works as so:
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 iCloud for you to listen to anytime, on any device. Since there are more than 20 million songs in the iTunes Store, chances are, your music is already in iCloud. And for the few songs that aren’t, iTunes has to upload only what it can’t match. Which is much faster than starting from scratch. Once your music is in iCloud, you can stream and store it to any of your devices. Even better, all the music iTunes matches plays back from iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality ¡ª even if your original copy was of lower quality.

The last point of upping the quality of songs is rather substantial, since anyone carrying a music library around for quite some time undoubtedly has many 128kbps songs in their library.

There is a limit of 10 devices and 25,000 songs to the service, although songs purchased from iTunes Store do not count against that limit.

From osxdaily