Google is bringing its cloud music feature to the United States that allows users to match their personal collections to Google’s library, granting them the rights to play songs that they already own wherever they might be.

According to The Verge, the service will be free for up to 20,000 tracks, matching the service’s European pricing, and besting that of Apple and Amazon, who charge roughly $25 per annum for similar capability.

Happily, you won’t have to sit and upload tens of thousands of songs to the cloud; we have moved past that being a component of cloud music. Instead, your music will be scanned, and made available for you. What this means is that a mere sweep of your library is now sufficient to grant you rights to it in other locations.

This isn’t a small change, and that Google has managed to cajole the major record labels into this game is not to be overlooked. Let’s not forget that these same corporations were previously against ripping music from their own CDs that they had purchased. Technology and time can crack even the most sturdily built obtuse facade.

Also according to The Verges’s report, Google will enable this matching service for existing users, which will replace files that they may have already uploaded into the cloud. As it rightly points out, this could, in theory, lower the bitrate of your tunes, if you uploaded high-quality versions. Still, the added functionality will likely overshadow any such potential degradation.

This development fits well into the current sea change taking place in music as the entire industry leans towards streaming as the normal conduit by which tunes are spun. Perhaps labels are attempting to reward folks who buy music outright, instead of paying a monthly fee to stream it, by granting them flexibility that before might have been anathema.

Whatever the case, if you are a Google Music user, consider this new capability your early Christmas present.

Top Image Credit: Erwin Bernal