It's a tad later than Apple's original "end of October
" launch window, but the company has now officially rolled out its iTunes Match
service to everyone with the iTunes 10.5.1 update. That will let you sync up your entire music collection with iCloud -- including songs and albums you've ripped from CDs -- which you can then listen to on any compatible device (i.e. an Apple device or a Windows PC with iTunes). In the case of songs already offered through iTunes, your music will simply be matched up with the tracks already available, and anything not offered will be uploaded, with everything offered in the usual DRM-free 256kbps AAC files. As expected, that convenience comes at a cost -- the service will run you $24.99 a year. You're also limited to 25,000 songs, although iTunes purchases don't count against that limit.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]