It’s Not a Solution: iTunes Match Is Limiting Uploads to 25,000 Songs

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If you have more than 25,000 songs in your collection, then you’re probably frequenting platforms like the Pirate Bay or RapidShare, or Limewire back in the day.

That’s not to say there aren’t prolific CD-rippers or blog-surfers – there are – but most people with gigantic collections have paid little for the privilege.

Now, there’s a fairly useless roadblock for these people.  As the paint dries on the just-launched iTunes Match, an unexpected limitation has emerged.  That is, users cannot upload more than 25,000 tracks, at least as the service currently stands.  Those 25,000 refer to songs obtained outside of the iTunes Store, as iTunes-purchased tracks don’t count against the limit.  “Limit 25,000 songs,” Apple flatly states in its Terms of Service, while also blocking heavy upload attempts with a similar message. “iTunes purchases do not count against limit.”

And, this is a flat, dumb limit: users cannot pick-and-choose tracks they want to upload, they either chop the collection, or go home.  Which probably means trying a workaround, going over to Amazon’s Cloud Drive, or just taking your ball and going home to your multi-terrabyte drive(s).

In other words, this is hardly a deterrent, especially for people that don’t like to pay anyway.  But there’s a dangerous question surrounding those who will: does a simple, $24.99 payment exonerate thousands of illegal downloads?  Often accumulated over years, but suddenly ‘legitimized’ by a paid, scan-n-match relationship with Apple?

The answer, in short, is yes. For more than a decade, Apple has been telling fans to stuff their iPods, ‘Rip, Mix, Burn,’ and organize their thousands of songs in an elegant iTunes application.  And Steve Jobs was no dummy: Apple has managed to become a huge complement to piracy, and a major part of that acquisition ecosystem – all without skirting the law.

This is more of the same. In fact, iTunes Match seems to seal the deal, with or without a symbolic, 25,000-song limit attached.  Now, the question is how many will actually pay.