At Apple’s recent keynote address at WWDC, they touted iTunes Match as one of the greatest new features of iCloud. Steve Jobs even gave it the prestigious “one more thing” time slot. Clearly this was something Apple was excited about.
For those that don’t know, iTunes Match is one of the many services offered as part of iCloud. And, at $25 a year, it’s also the only one you have to pay for. Basically it scans your iTunes library, and matches any song not purchased from iTunes with the iTunes plus version in the cloud. What this does is assure that all your music is available everywhere with an internet connection.
In theory, this sounds great. I have a lot of music ripped from CDs in my iTunes library, so it is definitely a nice feature to be able to sync that to the cloud as well. However, the service is causing a fair amount of concern. Predominantly, the worry is that a user can pirate a song, and then obtain a legal copy through iTunes. Many argue that this is alright, however, because one has to pay to use iTunes Match. But, if someone pays $25 a year to match 500 pirated songs, it doesn’t really even out.
More and more record companies are publicizing their hesitation to sign on to the service. Most recently, an indie record label called Numero Group has decided to opt out all together. The company released a statement saying:
“We feel that a great risk is being taken by Apple and the major labels that have accepted the terms of this new product wholesale with not a thought beyond the 150M those so-called “big four” will probably divide and pay to their top executives. By that, we mean that laws that protect compositions and copyrights for songs are, more or less, being trampled under these agreements.”
This is just the latest in what’s sure to be a string of issues surrounding the iTunes Match program. Earlier in the month, it was revealed that the entire iCloud service will not be available in the UK until early 2012 because negotiations with music execs were still in the early stages. Many speculated that it was iTunes Match in particular that was causing the hold up.
I’m sure this isn’t the last record label to opt out of the service, and I wonder how that will affect iTunes Match’s implementation and success. What’s your opinion? Certainly the service is controversial, but do you like the idea or do you feel that Apple should just scrap the whole thing?