After a bit of a false start last night, iTunes Match has begun rolling out officially in international iTunes Stores. As of this writing, it appears to be active at least in Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Ireland, France and Spain.
To sign up for and access the new service, users can navigate to the iTunes Store in their iTunes application (requires the latest version) on Mac or Windows computers. iTunes Match will appear as one item in the “Quick Links” item in the menu on the right if it’s available in your country. Clicking that link will take you to the sign-up page if you haven’t already registered, or start the Match scan and upload process for your computer’s local music library if you managed to sign up yesterday during the early, accidental service launch.
Users new to Match who haven’t been following its progress in the U.S. should be aware that the initial scan and upload process can take a long time, especially if you have a very large library. Some users reported having to wait days for the process to complete. Once the initial process is finished, however, it won’t need to be run again for that computer’s library. As of this writing, even the first stage appears to be taking some time; Apple’s simultaneous international launch in a variety of markets will most likely tax its servers. Still, users are reporting seeing the matching process get underway.
iTunes Match provides access to a user’s entire music library to any iOS, Mac or Windows PC associated with their iTunes Store account, up to a maximum of 10 devices. The match process tries first to find tracks from your library in the iTunes Store library. If successful, it’ll provide 256 kbps DRM-free versions for download. If it can’t find a match, it’ll upload your original file and make that available instead.
Apple’s ability to negotiate the necessary licensing agreements to get Match working internationally in such a short amount of time following the U.S. launch is fairly impressive. Now, it’s just a matter of seeing if the launch goes smoothly. Let us know how it’s working for you in the comments.