Well only if you’re in love with iTunes. iTunes Match is a new service from Apple which lets you store your music in the cloud for $24.99 a year. iTunes Match is different from other music storage services as you are not required to upload your entire collection to the cloud. iTunes Match will scan your library and only upload tracks that are not available in the iTunes store (in theory: I noticed some tracks that available in the store were being uploaded). You are allowed 25,000 tracks so if you have a bigger library you may need to do some finagling.
So how did it work?
Of the 8838 songs in my library, iTunes Match matched 6014 leaving just under 3000 tracks to upload. The upload process seemed rather lengthy as I left it uploading overnight to find only 300 tracks had made the trip north. This could be related to the volume of users signing up for the service and will hopefully be faster in the future. On the upside, uploading this many tracks should only happen once.
Immediately after the scan, I was able to enable iTunes Match on my iPhone 4 running iOS 5 as well as my new Apple TV and start seeing and playing the matched tracks. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my playlists made it over as well. Movies and TV shows aren’t stored in the cloud but if you have any music videos they will make the trip as well.
A cool feature of this also is that tracks encoded at a bit rate less than 256kbps can be upgraded for no additional cost.
Aside from the lengthy upload process, my only gripe so far is iTunes Match seems to assume that you are always connected to the internet so that it can download the next track in the playlist. Whats this means for me is that while traveling on the subway, the music will stop as it can’t connect to the cloud. I am able to get around this by disabling ‘Show all music’ when I will be heading underground. I would like to see Apple add a feature that detects whether or not you have an internet connection and skip tracks in the cloud if not detected.
If you use iTunes and own more than one iOS device, I think this is a great service and well worth the price even if just for the music upgrade.