We discussed the forthcoming iTunes Match in our previous Tech-Stew Podcast, and now Apple has finally rolled out the iTunes Match service to all with the 10.5.1 update. They were originally supposed to have iTunes Match ready for action in late October, but better late than never.
So what does iTunes Match do? For $24.99 per year, you can sync your music that was not purchased from iTunes to the cloud, via iCloud. This would include music ripped from your own CDs as well. Once done, you can then listen to them on an any device that is compatible, such as Apple or a Windows PC with iTunes. If the song that is uploaded, matches one that already exists in the iTunes Store/Library, they will update it to the usual DRM-free 256kbps AAC (m4a) format.
For $24.99 a year, you can upload up to 25,000 songs. This is a fairly good amount of songs, say an average person having roughly 3000 songs as an example, which may translate into 15 GB of space depending on the bit rate involved.