Apple today launched their new iCloud service at the annual WWDC event, and while a lot of the focus was on the free service's ability to sync your personal data and files on multiple Apple devices, via the Internet, the feature gaining the most attention has to be "iTunes Match", the service that some have dubbed as a "piracy amnesty program".
So what does iTunes Match do? Well, to put it simply, it scans your computer for songs, and if a matching song is found on iTunes, you get access to the high quality legal version right away in the cloud, even if the song on your hard-drive was pirated. You will have to pay an annual $USD24.95 fee to access the service, but it could be a very cheap way to "legitimize" your, um, "less than legal" music collection, as long as you continue to pay the yearly fee to access the legitimized songs stored in the cloud.
And the best bit is that all of this is done with the blessing of the record companies. 30% of the $25 will go to Apple, with the rest going to record labels.
For songs that don't match up to anything on iTunes, users will still be able to upload the song to their iCloud drive, and share the song on multiple devices, similar to the way cloud drives work on Amazon and Android.
Nick O'Byrne, general manager of the Australian Independent Record Labels Association, questioned the move by Apple. "Why buy at 'full price' when you can pirate as many songs as you like and absolve yourself of guilt by paying $25 a year?" asked O'Byrne. However, O'Byrne also admits that iTunes Match could be a great way to "monetise tracks that have already been pirated".
iTunes Match will initially only be available in the United States, but Apple is expected to launch the service elsewhere soon after.
Do you think iTunes Match is a great idea to "monitise" piracy, or will it end up encouraging piracy in the future? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread: