Apple has just announced its long-awaited cloud-based music service: iTunes in the Cloud. While not a streaming music service as some had speculated, it will let you download any music you've purchased to all of your devices at no additional charge -- something Steve Jobs notes is a first for the music industry. It can also automatically download all new purchases made on other devices, with music able to be pushed to up to ten different devices -- like the other nine apps that make up iCloud, it's completely free, and a beta version will be available today.
What's more, Apple has also announced its new iTunes Match service that will let you put your existing collection of ripped CDs in the cloud. That's done by scanning your library and matching songs to the versions Apple already has (a DRM-free 256kbps AAC file) rather than uploading everything -- a process Apple notes takes "minutes," not "weeks" -- although songs will be uploaded in cases where there is no match. It will run you $24.99 a year (regardless of how many songs you have), and promises to give you all of the "same benefits as music purchased from iTunes" when it launches sometime "this fall."
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