I’m unable to use iTunes Match, which will backup and upgrade your entire music collection of up to 25,000 songs for $25 a year. This is a great bargain in terms of storage alone. Sadly, I have close to 29,000 songs (not bragging–I just do), and am not eligible for iTunes Match unless I delete or move 4,000 tracks. I might do this if I ever update my MacBook–but for now I’m fine without iTunes Match (however, if Apple increases the track total to 30,000 or beyond, I’ll immediately join).
As long as your songs are of a decent quality (most are), iTunes will match them, including songs you may have obtained illegally. Why would the record companies accept this? They get paid a percentage of the $25 a year, even for recordings that were pirated. In plain terms, they will be collecting money indefinitely from music they were not receiving any income from; and they are receiving additional income from music they’ve already sold, too.
A number of blogs have reported on a blog from TuneCore which recieved a royalty check for $10,000 for the first two months of iTunes Match. In the big scheme of things, it isn’t a lot of money, but remember that it is an additional revune stream (it should continue every year) from two sources that offered no previous revenue: music people already bought and pirated music.