The cloud music wars are heating up this week with Apple and Google both releasing their long-awaited, competing services. So far, the latest battle's been messy. Apple quietly released iTunes Match on Monday, a full two weeks after it was supposed to go live, but it was instantly oversubscribed "due to overwhelming demand," leaving Apple no choice but to turn people away and ask them to return an hour later. By Monday afternoon, the servers appeared to be back online, but Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt recommends waiting a day or two. Meanwhile, Google is poised to push Google Music Beta out to the public, but a blogger spoiled with company's biggest surprise, an iTunes-like a music store, with a set of leaked screenshots. But would you honestly expect the upending of the music industry as we know it to go smoothly?
Once iTunes Match is actually up-and-running, it's supposed to be awesome. iTunes Match is the cornerstone in the world-changing iCloud infrastructure that Steve Jobs helped to architect. VentureBeat calls iCloud "the last puzzle piece" needed for Jobs's "futurist vision of device and content unification" to be complete. When you sign up and pay the annual $24.99 subscription, iTunes scans your hard drive and adds potentially higher quality copies of up to 25,000 tracks to your iTunes Match account. That means that even if your hard drive is full of glitchy pirated copies of old Beatles albums, for the price of a date at the movies, you can listen to the same songs in CD-quality with your iTunes Match account, regardless of whether of not you bought the music from Apple.