There’s some confusion about the iTunes Match video making the rounds. The video demonstrates that you could download or stream music from iTunes, but All Things D is reporting that it’s really a download in the background, at least in this beta.
This is similar to how Spotify operates. When you stream music in Spotify it downloads music to your computer and stores it in an encrypted cache (on the Mac it’s in ~/Library/Caches/com.spotify.client). Spotify will use your local cache before reaching out to Spotify servers and other peers.
That there’s confusion about whether this is a download or stream is good news. The term music locker isn’t really what we want, is it?. Remember having a locker in high school? You had to remember a combination to get to your stuff. In the gym locker room other kids made fun of you and how bad you are at basketball. Bullies would wait for you by your own locker. Lockers weren’t safe havens. I don’t want to use a locker if I don’t have to.
With iTunes Match, music will be in the cloud, but it feels like it’s right on your hard drive, not in some locker. Streaming services so far, with the exception of Spotify, have been pretty terrible at making it feel that way.