In case you haven’t heard of it yet, the Match is Apple’s cloud service for iTunes users whose personal music libraries have grown too unwieldy for storage on the Mac/ iPhone/iPod/iPad. The rollout of the service days ago in the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and nine other countries around the world, caused an immediate bottleneck at Apple’s North Carolina server farm, judging by the difficulty would be subscribers encountered as they attempted to sign up.
With the release of Match on the 15th, iTunes and iCloud services became temporarily unavailable, with users finding their login information being rejected. Although this problem has since been resolved, Apple found it necessary to temporarily suspend subscriptions to Match, leaving millions of iTunes users worldwide champing at the bit to pay the annual £21.99 sign up fee.
iTunes Match has a lot of attractive features to recommend it. It will synch all of your mobile Apple devices, you can stream or download up to twenty five thousand iTunes quality, DRM-free music files corresponding to anything in your library, whether it was purchased from Apple or not. This includes files from ripped CDs as well as anything found on the internet, legally or otherwise. It’s been said that Apple is offering music pirates amnesty for the sign up price of £21.99. iCloud users can already sync anything from the iTunes store for free.
The most likely explanation of the login problems is too much strain on Apple servers, although the company has not issued a statement to that effect. The situation is a familiar one for Apple and its iCloud users, particularly with the Match service, which was actually inadvertently launched a day early and withdrawn before the abortive official launch of the 15th. U.S., users faced the identical problem last month when Match was released in the States and Apple servers were almost immediately overloaded with would be subscribers and with everyone else attempting to download the latest version of iTunes.
Something similar happened when the iCloud itself was first introduced. Users of Match’s predecessor, Mobile Me, were unable to log in for several days because of the tens of millions of users attempting to download iOS5, and migrate to the Cloud.
For those with inventories greater than 25,000 songs, or those who just like the additional security of a physical backup in addition to the iCloud, an external hard drive is a worthwhile investment, especially since Match, unlike the more expensive though more versatile Mobile Me, which it replaces, only works with song files.