iTunes Match, US Only Cloud Synchronization Service

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 14, 2011
Updated • Dec 4, 2012
Music, Music and Video

ITunes Match, Apples cloud based synchronization service has just launched. Before you read on, here are the facts. The iTunes Match service is only available in the United States, requires iTunes 10.5.1 or newer and costs $24.95 per year. What do you get for that?

The service has been designed to match a user's music library with the cloud. You basically point iTunes Match to your local music collection to start the process. Unlike other music synchronization services, iTunes Match tries to identify songs in Apple's vast library of songs. Songs that match are added from the store which reduces the number of songs that need to be transferred. Any song in the store becomes available automatically, only unknown songs, e.g. free music, mixes or indie artists are uploaded from the user's computer to make them available on iCloud as well.

Music in the cloud can then be streamed to compatible devices and stored on devices as well in 256 Kbps quality (free of digital rights management drm).

There service offers two interesting features. First the ability to match music to reduce the upload bandwidth and second the ability to download and stream 256 Kbps songs even if the original song was of lower quality. The latter is only true if iTunes was able to match the song.

About the matching feature. Apple does not check if a song of a music collection has been bought, ripped from CD or Internet radio or acquired from P2P networks. That's great but it does not mean that you can legalize your music collection with an iTunes Match account.

The iTunes Match service has a 25,000 song limitation currently. It is not clear if Apple will raise the limit in the future or offer upgrades to the service to increase the amount of songs that can be hosted in the cloud.

In comparison, Google Music offers space for 20,000 songs (but without payment currently).

Will you be using iTunes Match? Users from outside the US, are you interested in a guide on how to get the service without being in the US?


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Justin said on November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The warning message about AAC streams when you load streams is because you don’t have the free Orban AAC/aacPlus Player Plugin installed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Justin, thanks for the information.

  2. santosh said on December 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

    does this support AAC ? or only mp3 streaming

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

      I’d say it supports all pls streams but I have not tried that so cannot verify it 100%.

  3. Barnabas said on August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you Martin for a most informative and viable solution (it allowed me to play streams from a Netherland internet radio station in my WMP)! Continued success to you!

    Barnabas (USA)

  4. AppleRome said on October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Your steps’ recommendation is still valid until 7th October 2012.. Thank you very much !!

  5. Laura said on December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you!

  6. sak2005 said on December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    You must convert file.pls to file.m3u
    because file.pls open with winamp and file.m3u open with wmp.

  7. Lithium said on February 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    2017 still kicking on Windows 7
    Thx a ton

  8. Dennis said on April 18, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Hey, even i can do it, i stumbled through it and it works great! The only instruction advice i will add as i had to figure this out, when the wmp box opens that says save or open the bar on right says wmp click that drop down and select “open pls in wmp” once you do that it will work . Took me quite some time to discover that as i am no computer expert by any means. Having said that, previously i had downloaded codec packages and something about aac. None did any good. This rocks, i listen to a lot of internet radio and a number of them have dropped flash player and getting wmp to work had been a nightmare. So many thanks for this great solution to another problem that Micro-Hell will not even address. Peace- Out

  9. stephen marshall said on March 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    openplsinwmp came in a zip file. I unpacked it, and didn’t find anything that looks like an executable, and even the files in the “doc” folder were in a format windows didn’t recognize. I’m not stupid. you said it would open effortlessly. It didn’t. This a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down.

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