US technology media is awash with the release of iTunes Match, Apple’s subscription service that makes your music collection available on any devices signed into your iTunes account. It’s a nifty idea and one that’s been popular enough to slow Apple’s servers to a crawl, but there’s no sign we’ll get it in Australia in a hurry.
Back when iTunes Match was first announced, we noted that the Match service was “US only”. The primary reason for this is copyright: Apple needs deals with all the major music labels to allow it to make digital copies of music available. Match doesn’t just sync content purchased directly through iTunes, but content ripped from your own CDs as well, which makes the licensing more complicated.
While the music market is dominated by a handful of global players, the rights deals are still negotiated on a regional basis. For Apple, the priority is the US market, just as it was with the original iTunes Music Store, which launched in Australia a full two years after America. We’ll probably see iTunes Match at some point, but I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess as to when.
A secondary consideration for Apple is server balancing. Even with Match being US-only, it was forced to temporarily stop people signing up for new subscriptions because of demand. In that context, trying for a global rollout seems pretty pointless.