Apple’s launch of iTunes Match has been uncharacteristically vague. From the moment the service was announced to the recent clarification of just who can and cannot receive it, Apple has been less than clear on just what iTunes Match is, how it works, and why you would want to pay $25 for it.

Apple has attempted to clear things up by launching a dedicated iTunes Match page on its website. Previously, iTunes Match was deemed only to be worthy of a sub-section inside the iTunes are of the site. It seems someone at Apple decided to give iTunes Match a promotion.

Along with plenty of description and explanation, Apple has also put together a new video which shows off its latest service, including offering more information about how it works…

The walkthrough video also raises an old question: does iTunes Match stream content to devices, or is it purely a download-only service? Apple’s own iTunes Match web page tries to answer that question for once and for all. The answer? Both.

“On a computer, any songs stored in iCloud will stream over the air when played, though you can download them at any time by clicking the iCloud download button. iOS devices will start playing tracks from iCloud as they download and will store them so that you can listen to them later even if you don’t have a network connection. Apple TV only streams songs.”


You can hit the video direct from this link, but we suggest you give the full page a read should you need any clarification on what iTunes Match actually does.

The fact that any clarification is required at all shows just what a poor job Apple has done with the iTunes Match launch, and we would love to know what the signup numbers have been like for the service. We can’t help but think Apple would have been better off just going after Spotify by pushing iTunes Match as a streaming service.

  • Question…. I have been given a few CDs this Christmas. I have imported them to iTunes as normal but the new Albums have not yet shown up on my IPhone or iPad. Do I have to do anything to refresh?

    • right click on the songs and click add to iCloud

  • stewie pedia

    It should be automatic but if not there’s a update iTunes match option in the menu bar, I forget exactly where but it is easy to find.

  • if it was free people would actually use it

    • Kind of defeats the purpose of a company. Which is to make profit. Having a free service like iTunes match doesn’t exactly make sense.

  • The way iTunes match works on my computer is the way it should be. Streaming, and dowoadable if you so choose. It struggles on my phone though sometimes. The fact that I can store all of my music in the cloud instead of locally on my hard drive is reason enough for me to pay $25 though.

  • Anonymous

    Am I the only one who when playing a song afterwards notices that same song has been downloaded on my iDevice? So it’s more than only ‘streaming’ ?

    Otherwise, like someone said it works great: my iPad 16 gigs has over 4000 songs that play instantanously thanks to Wifi, on 3g… meh it’s Youtubewise: click, wait… and THEN enjoy my 4000 songs for $25 a year. Good enough for me.

    • Obviously Apple still hasn’t done a good enough job explaining it. On ios devices it doesn’t stream. It starts downloading it and when enough has downloaded it starts to play the song. Sort of like a buffer. The places it streams music is one iTunes or AppleTV.