It’s amazing how quickly Apple rumors can spread. Witness the current discussion regarding Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service and whether or not it streams from the cloud, which started blazing through the blogosphere early this morning.

Apple has released the beta version of iTunes Match to developers, that much is definitely true.  Also confirmed is that is costs $24.99 for a 12-month subscription, with early adopter developers getting a bonus of three months free. The service will scan all of the music in a user’s iTunes library, then find those songs in iCloud so the user doesn’t have to personally upload them in order to access them. It will do this even if the song in a personal library was ripped from a CD or acquired from elsewhere, and the version Apple thus makes available plays back at 256 Kbps regardless of the matched song’s quality.

Things got cloudier (iCloudier?) after Insanely Great Mac posted a video that looked as though iTunes Match was streaming music live from iCloud to the user’s device (see video, below). Apple definitively told AllThingsD that the video is unintentionally deceiving, because what it’s actually showing is how quickly the device is downloading and simultaneously playing a song. Whatever users want to hear, in other words, has to be downloaded to the relevant device first, even if it initially was purchased from Apple’s iTunes store.

In the email inviting developers to join the iTunes Match beta (pictured), Apple reinforced the beta nature of the service: “Apple will periodically reset your iCloud library during the beta and it is critical that you backup your music regularly. Some features and optimizations of iTunes Match will not be available during the beta.”

Related Links:

AllThingsD –

ArsTechnica –

Insanely Great Mac –