I just downloaded the iTunes beta with iCloud, and my protected AAC files aren't there. Look, I understand that they're stuck saying that, "Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer in the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore," but Between the Buttons by the Rolling Stones is still on iTunes. I can't help myself. I have to ask. Why are the Stones off of my iCloud?

I think the answer is that I bought the album while it was a protected AAC. None of the tracks I've purchased via iTunes when it sold tracks with DRM are there. Unfortunately, the Stones aren't on the iTunes Plus upgrade list, so I'm toast.

I'm a little miffed that things I bought from Apple aren't on my iCloud, even though Apple told me the tracks should be, since they're still in the iTunes Music Store library. And don't think Apple doesn't have a stake in making Protected AAC disappear. They'd love to stop validating owners. Lost another Protected AAC? It's gone forever.

Thus is licensing, I suppose, and I can always burn my 128 kbps Protected AACs to CD and rip them back as mp3. It's nice to have my other files, some I didn't even know I was missing, back. Apple is, admittedly, bringing your iTunes Plus files without DRM back from the dead if they've been lost. Amazon isn't doing that with their cloud-player; only new files get saved. And admittedly, most of my tracks are from CDs or Furthurnet.org and other [legal] live show trading sources.

It's always been a real pain to sync libraries between computers, much less portable devices. For $30 a year, now with iTunes Match, Apple will do all of the heavy lifting for you. For $30, I can take those 128 Protected AACs from (CD to crappy) mp3s on to 256 kbps AAC -- and all of the rest of my mp3s -- without DRM.

In fact, that's power-play number two here: Move everyone's library from the standard of mp3 to AAC, and push AAC's adoption. My Android phone already plays AAC, and with moves like this, nobody will be able to drop it. Imagine the amount of de facto conversions from mp3 to AAC iTunes Match will bring. (Nevermind that I recently swapped to 320 kbps for mp3 rips... not that it apparently makes much difference in all but the most technical tracks.)

That is, Apple'll do all the file syncing heavy lifting except in a few cases where you played early adopter, went out on a limb, and bought files from Apple. Thanks, Steve. Thanks for telling me to get your own files off of your cloud.

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