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Is Apple’s New iTunes Match Service Worth $25 A Year?

Submitted by on November 16, 2011 – 11:24 am12 Comments

Remember Apple’s iTunes Match service that was supposed to drop in late October along with the iPhone 4S and iCloud? Well, it’s finally here and available for you to use. Like iCloud, iTunes Match is designed to make it easier for you to access all of your music on any of your Apple devices. However, unlike iCloud, iTunes Match is designed to allow you to import CDs from your physical collection into iCloud. So, that old Biggie album you’ve only got available on CD right now? It can be imported onto your hard drive and then uploaded to iCloud so that you can listen to it on your iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Pretty sweet, right?

The only catch: Unlike iCloud’s basic service, iTunes Match isn’t free. You’ll need to shell out $25 every year for the right to listen to music that you already own. Because Apple will need to do some legwork in order to help you listen to your music on any of your Apple devices—they’ll need to upload certain songs and albums that aren’t available in the iTunes library—they’re passing a charge on to you. So then the question becomes: Is iTunes Match worth paying $25 for every year?

Yes…and no. On the one hand, iTunes Match does make it convenient to listen to your entire collection of music. If you’re like us, you’ve spent your fair share of time ripping albums to your hard drive and it’d be convenient to have iTunes Match send those albums to iCloud. Apple also promises that, because they match songs in their library up against your collection, you’ll get great sound quality on all of your music regardless of the original sound recording on the albums that you have. And at $25 a year, you’re talking roughly two bucks a month for a service that makes it really simple to have all your music at your fingertips.

On the other hand, $25 is still $25 and do you really need every album you’ve ever owned on every Apple device that you have? Additionally, services like Spotify have made it incredibly easy to access a large number of albums in a single place. And while it’s true that Spotify doesn’t have every song you’ll want to hear, it’s got a giant database of music for you to dive into. And you don’t have to spend any time uploading CDs or sending them to the cloud. They already exist and are ready for you to hear.

Bottom line: If you’re a huge music junkie, iTunes Match is probably worth your while. For a couple dollars a month, you can have all of your songs synced up to iCloud and get access to them on any Apple device that you want. However, if you are a casual music fan, you probably won’t use iTunes Match as much as you think and it’s not really a necessity. We respect Apple for making a push to make it easier for all of us to get our music wherever we are. But the truth is that this service isn’t for everyone.

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