iTunes users in the US have enjoyed iTunes Match – the $25 per year service that allows users to have their music libraries scanned and have their music stored on Apple’s servers where it is safely kept and upgraded to 256 kbps in the process – for a little over a year. Apple finally made having a music storage “locker” in the cloud simple, and cut out the arduous process of having to upload music to servers like competitors Amazon and Google’s offerings. Apple has integrated iTunes Match as part of their iCloud service, which is now a big part of iOS and OS-X.
Today, Google has announced a new scan and match feature for all Google Play customers who have uploaded their music to Google Music. Unlike Apple’s offerings, Google’s will no plans to charge for this feature either, with a cap of 20,000 songs (more than enough for the typical music library). Google’s offerings work exactly the same way as Apple’s, scanning your music library and automatically matching any song available on Google Play and placing it into your Google Music library. Matched songs can be streamed at 320 kbps.
Google Music is already integrated into Android, which makes this new feature a great incentive for music lovers who may have held on to their iOS devices and iTunes accounts due to iTunes’ music management and iTunes Match. The bigger question is with Google again offering a similar experience at a lower cost, or no cost at all – Android, Gmail, Google Maps, the list could go on – will Apple reconsider its iTunes Match pricing strategy and lower its cost, or follow suit and make iTunes Match free as well? iTunes Match customers, are you going to drop your subscription for Google Music, especially considering there are iOS apps out there that allow you to stream the music? Let us know in the comments.