Excellent news this pre Christmas, Apple has released iTunes Match outside of the US earlier than what was reported.
iTunes Match is where for a subscription of £21.99 a year, iTunes will scan your music, and find it in its database, where it will then allow you to download a drm free 256kps AAC file which is supported by Apple devices. Not only this, but if your music collection has something apple does not, it will allow you to upload these files so that you always have them across any device you wish to download to, that is linked to your apple account of course.
So if you have a bunch of 128kps mp3’s you ripped nearly a decade ago when the average hard drives were like 40-80GB in size, and the ipod mini had a meager 4GB space, then you can get a new shinny audio file that takes up more space but sounds better, all with minimal fuss. Huzzah, there’s one slight problem, we may not have 40GB drives anymore, but some of us have ssd’s in our macbooks which almost put us in the same position we were in back then, a 256GB SSD split between Windows and Mac, plus Lions restore feature, the multitude of development tools, and the World of Warcraft we never play, means we still do not have space. personally, after just installing xcode 4.3, i now have 2GB space remaining, *sigh. For me i shall be using a different account anyway as you need to have a credit card tied to the account, as it stands at the moment i use only pre paid cards. It’s to limit spending, and although it will ties me out of some of the benifits, i needded the tracks on my desktop anyway, this seems like the best solution without re ripping cd’s, and that s just for the one i do have.