Apple has opened a beta version of iTunes Match — the music component of its coming iCloud service — to developers. In what comes as a significant surprise to the industry, the $25/year service includesstreaming, a feature not discussed when Apple announced iTunes Match in June (RAIN coverage here).
The Washington Post reports that iTunes Match users will be able tostream their cloud-based music to iPhones and other Apple devices (via Wi-Fi and, presumably, 3G). In June, Apple only discussed the ability todownload (not stream) cloud-based music.
The Post writes, “With the triple threat of the iTunes store, streaming music and the convenience of automatically uploading customer libraries, iTunes in the Cloud has becomea more formidable foe.
“It now matches the convenience of a service like Spotify or Rdio, for a little over $2 per month.”
Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm muses: “The next question: Will Apple allow third-party developers to build apps that stream music from these iCloud lockers? If Apple follows its own precedent with the iPod music app for iOS, they will — and that would be pretty cool indeed” (more here).
iTunes Match, as its name implies, “matches” your local music in your iTunes library with online copies (so no uploading is necessary). The Washington Post has more coverage here.