iTunes Match halted in UK

Ok, let's go over this slowly. The iTunes Match service tried to launch in the UK early last week, but never actually got off the ground. Then, on Friday, iTunes Match did launch officially in the UK, which came as something of an early Christmas present to music-loving Apple users. Especially as a UK launch wasn't expected before 2012. But now the rollout has been halted once more. What gives?

We don't know, but we do know that it is incredibly frustrating. The service was live for just over 24 hours, Apple happily taking the £21.99 fee for its cloud-based music matching service, which was available via the iTunes store. If you paid, your service should still be running just fine, although there have been reported teething troubles. But if you didn't get round to it over the weekend, you might well have missed your chance for now.

It seems that the service is just a little too popular and that high demand has forced Apple to close down the service in some countries for the time being. One of those countries is the UK. if you try and sign up, you'll be greeted with the message 'New subscriptions are currently unavailable. iTunes Match is temporarily not accepting new subscribers. Check back later'. We don't know when 'later' is, so you'll probably just need to keep on checking. Apparently, Apple did the same thing in the US when iTunes Match launched there, so it isn't terminal.

Once you do get in, Apple will scan your music for you, replacing tracks, where possible, with 256KBps quality tracks from iTunes in the 'cloud'. Anything it can't match will be automatically uploaded as is. Which means your music is ready and waiting for you, should you need it on the go for your iPad or iPhone.

We suspect Apple will want this back up and running before Christmas, so keep checking if you are desperate for some iTunes Match action.

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