iTunes Match Allows Both Streaming And Downloading

iTunes Match Allows Both Streaming And Downloading

Following yesterday’s report that Apple has released the first developer beta of iTunes Match, a few facts have been uncovered about the new service, notably that it will support both streaming and downloading of your entire music collection!

iTunes Match is essentially a digital music locker, allowing you to access your iTunes music from anywhere on any Mac or iOS device. While Apple did not provide many details on the service at their WWDC 2011 keynote, new details have emerged since the beta was released.

As we already know, iTunes Match does not require you to manually upload your iTunes library, instead matching your music library with files already available on iTunes. Further, it appears that iTunes Match will support streaming from any iOS device! Streaming is sourced from Apple’s 256kbps master copy of the song. The below video from Insanely Great Mac shows you how it works on a Mac, and shows you that it supports both streaming and downloading of your music.

iTunes Match costs $25 per year, which gets you full access to your iTunes music from any device. After matching any songs in your library to songs avaiable on iTunes, Apple will upload the remainder of your songs so you’ll be able to access those from any device as well, although the service can only be used to host a maximum of 25,000 songs.

The above images show the iOS 5 Music app streaming a song, and the iCloud button allows you to download the song locally to your device for permanent storage. The most notable aspect of this is that, as long as you have access to a data connection, your music collection will no longer have to take up space on your iOS device, opening up the possibility of a cloud-based iPhone, iPod or iPad in the future.

The below video shows how iTunes Match works on an iOS device in its full glory. iTunes Match is expected to launch along iOS 5, iCloud, and iTunes 10.5 sometime this fall.