Illegal downloading of music is hurting the record industry, but despite the fact that songs are now pretty affordable (about $0.99 per song), nothing trumps free, right? When iTunes Match was announced during WWDC 2011 earlier this year, it looks like Apple may have found a way to fight piracy.


The service is now in beta and has been integrated into iTunes 6.1 for developers, but at the moment it appears to be rather buggy. However when the service has been activated, an iCloud column appears and the player will automatically default to streaming songs that you have stored in your iCloud. This is good news for those who have been looking forward to iTunes Match as it means that progress is underway, and hopefully (despite reports of bugginess) will be able to make the scheduled Fall release alongside iCloud and iOS 5.

For those unfamiliar with concept, iTunes Match basically allows the user to match the songs on their computer to those in iTunes’ digital library, which essentially makes the song “legal”. It will cost the user $24.99 a year and will be able to support up to 25,000 songs.

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