Apple has released iTunes Match in the form of a developer only beta preview. The $25 service allows you to scan your iTunes music library for music not purchased from iTunes, and make them available to you in Apple’s cloud.
The majority of tracks will already be available in Apple’s extensive library, and available in all their 256kbps glory. If you have anything obscure that isn’t already cataloged, it will be uploaded.
Your $25 yearly fee makes up to 25,000 songs accessible to you from all of your computers and iOS devices, all without wasting your precious disk space. So feel free to keep downloading more and more apps.
As expected, anything purchased directly from iTunes is available without this service by simply creating an iCloud account.
The entire iTunes Match service baffles me a bit, as I can’t help but see it as a way to pseudo validate your pirated music collection. The original purpose being for ripped music CDs that you actually own, this is guaranteed to be exploited as people download full albums from not so legit sources. Distinguishing between legit and pirated copies of an album will likely present a challenge for Apple.
IGM has provided a fairly in depth walkthrough if you aren’t a registered developer but just have to see more!