At last, at long last, iTunes Match has gone live, giving you access to your music, in the cloud, without you ever having to upload a thing. All download, no upload sounds like a formula for success.
In case you need a little refresher, iTunes Match works like this: You buy the $25 a year service, and it scans your entire music library. That gives you iCloud access to high quality (256Kbps AAC) versions of all of your songs, even if the version on your computer sounds like it was recorded on a Fischer Price My First Tape Recorder. You can then access your music from any computer (Mac or PC), iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. It's not streaming, exactly, but you can start listening as soon as it starts downloading, theoretically, which means there's not much of a difference.
One of the surprising things about Match is that it doesn't seem to discriminate against your torrented or otherwise pirated files. How Apple got record companies to sign off on this is a mystery to me. We know that there were a fair amount of bugs to be ironed out in bringing Match to market—it's two weeks late—so it will be interesting to see if they've got everything working like it's supposed to. The concept of having access to all of your music files without having to endure painfully slow upload times might just be enough to make a lot of people shell out the $25 a year. You can download the iTunes update now and sign up from there. [Cult of Mac]