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The iNtricacies of the iMatch

Thursday June 09, 2011 , 3 min Read


Amidst the flurry of announcements made by Apple on Monday, iCloud managed to grab a lot of eyeballs. iCloud allows users to synchronize their applications and media across all their devices. But the question what everyone had in their minds was about the iTunes. What happens to a song which you have on your drive for which you haven’t paid?Steve Jobs during his brief appearance at the end of the first day of the WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) being held at San Francisco, announced the launch of the service iMatch which requires iOS 5 on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch(3rd and 4th generation), iPad, iPad 2, a Mac with OS X Lion or a PC with Windows Vista or 7.

iMatch is a service provided by Apple for $25 a year which in simple language, legitimizes all the pirated songs you have on your hard disk given that the iTunes library also holds it. This is not a purifying service but it can act as one if you’ve a lot of pirated music with you. Why is it called iMatch? That is because you don’t download the song from the cloud; iMatch just scans its library for the song you upload and when the match is found, the song is streamed. If iTunes cannot find a match, you can upload the song manually. All songs are upgraded to 256kbps AAC DRM-free as part of this process. There is also a limit of 25,000 songs you can upload to the cloud.

There are a few other issues which need to be addressed with the iMatch. So once you pay 25$ for a year, do you need to pay anything else? No, not for the songs you already own; be it pirated or legal.

Then there are a few record labels which are not linked with Apple and hence the iCloud library won’t have them. Few such artists are Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and some of the Floyd tracks, so what about these songs? You can still upload these songs to the cloud and stream it from there, the only glitch being they won’t be legalized if they’re pirated. And apart from this, Apple has an 18 million song-catalogue so the chances of you not being able to find are minimal.

Is there a way out if you don’t want to buy this $25 service? Yes, you can just sync your devices over Wi-Fi or with a cable and then you can rely on iCloud. If there are just a few you songs you really love and that’s all that you want, you might as well buy those and get access to them via iCloud.

That should be all from the iMatch desk for now. Meanwhile, the Indian customer is still left longing for some good news as the WWDC nears it end.

Jubin Mehta |