During today’s iPhone event, Apple also announced the coming general release of its iTunes Match service. Briefly touched on in the spring, iTunes Match is an extension of the company’s iCloud offerings that will allow subscribers to effectively place their entire iTunes music library “in the cloud” by matching content in their iTunes library with those songs already available on the iTunes Store, uploading those songs that don’t match. On iOS 5 devices, iTunes Match will effectively replace the synced music library with the online library, providing users with access to their entire music collection from anywhere a data connection is available.
The service will provide immediate music streaming to iOS 5 devices with the ability to download specific tracks, albums or playlists. Playlists and other iTunes metadata such as rating and play counts will also sync via the iTunes Match service. iTunes Match will initially be available in the U.S. only for $25 per year.