iTunes Match may be a compromise for the music industry and P2P file sharing

iTunes MatchApple’s answer to music streaming is finally upon us, and now iCloud will assume the responsibility as iTunes for the Web, as well as MobileMe replacement. It’s a feature a long time in the making and one every Internet company is trying to offer, and iCloud’s familiar UI and price tag (or lack thereof) will likely give it a nice comfortable cushion to launch on.

What will cost you is iTunes Match. For a $25 annual fee, iTunes Match will grab all your non-iTunes-purchased (or otherwise obtained…) music, find its information in the iTunes Store. It will pull this data, and sync it with your cloud-based music library while also converting those files to a 2456 Kpbs DRM-free AAC format, making it available on all your iOS devices. This also means you don’t have to go through the painful process of manually uploading your non-iTunes-purchased music file by file.

The entire cloud-based music storage and player has gotten a lot of attention lately for its impact on record companies. Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player both struggled to find compromise here: Google has yet to get song permissions and Amazon got sued for failing to do so and using music anyway. There were reports that the music industry wanted Google to use its music player as a sort of watchdog for P2P file sharing. So at first glance, it may seem like music industry execs would be horrified that iTunes Match will convert many an illegally downloaded song and wrap it up with everything its paid-for version gets. Instead, record companies are seeing how this could benefit them. It’s speculated that Apple is cutting labels a deal in order to offer iTunes Match, in lieu of the royalties they would have made off of the (alleged) illegally downloaded songs.

If this is true, it may be the biggest step toward compromise in 21st century music yet: Users aren’t being forced to quit P2P file sharing, Apple isn’t policing anyone or punishing them for failing to buy songs on iTunes, and record companies will get to see a profit from content that they see as routinely being stolen from them. Of course, record labels will still lose far more than they get – but it’s better than nothing.

What there’s still disagreement about is the long-term habits iCloud and iTunes Match could have on consumers. Some believe – maybe naively – that this will cause users to pirate music less, and find value in subscription services. People will again start paying for music – not how they used to, but instead via services like iCloud and iTunes Match. Others seem a bit more realistic: People are smart enough to realize this means they can continue to download music and pay a fraction of the price for the bonus features iTunes Match offers. Think about it: If you download all your music – say 1,000 songs a year – and pay the $25 iTunes Match yearly fee, it’s as if you’re buying a little more than one album.

Regardless of its effects on how we consume music, this type of solution could be a nice middle ground between the labels, provider services, and users.

Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Deals

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.
Deals

These fitness deals come just in time to work off those holiday calories

Finding the motivation to work out is one thing. Finding space at home to get in a few sets and reps can be an entire challenge in itself. Luckily for you, Walmart and Amazon both have space saving fitness machines and tools on sale right…
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Mobile

New Apple Watch begins saving lives one week after getting EKG feature

The Apple Watch Series 4 was updated almost a week ago with a new feature that allows users to take electrocardiogram tests -- and already it seems like the new feature is saving lives.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Deals

Amazon slashes price of 2018 iPad to under $250 in time for Christmas

Whether you love Apple or prefer Android, this 2018 iPad 32GB tablet deal is rather tempting. If you're still on the hunt for gifts, then this deep discount from Amazon makes now an excellent time to pick one up.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Wearables

How to use the ECG app, set up irregular rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is the best smartwatch iPhone owners can own, and it just got even better with the addition of the ECG app and ability to identify irregular heart rhythms. Here's how to set it all up.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Computing

Costco members can cut up to $200 off MacBook and iMac price tags

Costco is discounting MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops by as much as $200 as part of a members-only sale. It also has deals on select MacBooks and iMacs, with optional Apple Care in most instances.
Mobile

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.