Apple iCloud turns music industry on its head

Apple has turned the way we buy music on its head again with the announcement of iCloud.

Far from the streaming service everyone was expecting, Steve Jobs and his band of little helpers took to the stage at this year's WWDC opening keynote and announced what could well be the biggest change to the way we consume music since the iTunes Store first launched.

Rather than streaming your music from a central server, the new iCloud service, which launches some time in autumn, allow users to automatically sync all of the music they purchase from iTunes onto up to ten devices automatically using Wi-fi.

All well and good, but what happens to all of the music you have ripped from your own CDs?

Teasing the assembled crowd, Apple left this little gem until last and it was a bit of a shocker to say the least. For a flat fee of $25 a year, Apple will replace all of you home-ripped tunes with shiny new 256kbps AAC files using something called iTunes Match.

Basically, anything you own (and there's no indication as yet of any oppressive DRM schemes being set in place, so we'll bite the bullet and say anything you've illegally downloaded as well) will be replaced as long as it's available on iTunes.

And if it's not on iTunes? Well... they'll just let you upload that as well.

Jaw... floor... clank!