When rumors of “iTunes in the cloud” started to surface, many thought that Apple would only allow music purchased from the iTunes Music Store to be stored in the cloud.

However, with iTunes Match, that isn’t the case at all.

As first suggested (leaked?) by BusinessWeek, iTunes Match will scan local libraries for music that is not available on the iTunes Music Store. After the scan is complete, iCloud will allow you to access iTunes Store-quality tracks (256kbps) — in the cloud — without having to upload a single file.

If there is a track in your local library that isn’t in the 18 million tracks currently on iTunes, you will be able to upload it manually.

This system is designed to save users weeks of upload time. It’s pretty smart, actually. Unlike Google and Amazon’s services, most people will have to upload no — or very little — data to the cloud.

iTunes Match will be available for $24.99 this fall when iCloud ships. To just have store-bought tracks in the cloud will be free, along with the rest of the service.