Problems persist with Apple's international launch of iTunes Match

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Just as happened with the U.S. launch of iTunes Match, Apple has temporarily halted new signups for its cloud-based music service due to strong demand after its international debut.

International rollout of iTunes Match began on Thursday to countries outside of the U.S. and Brazil. But a day later, users who attempted to sign up for the service were met with a prompt notifying them that "iTunes Match is temporarily not accepting new subscribers. Check back later."

iTunes Match first launched in the U.S. a month ago with the release of iTunes 10.5.1. For $24.99 per year, customers can match their personal digital music collection, regardless of where the tracks were downloaded from, against Apple's vast iTunes Music Store catalog, and re-download those songs on any device.

This week, the iTunes Match service was extended to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.

Even before Friday's temporary stoppage of new signups, Apple had other problems with the international debut of iTunes Match. Apple prematurely launched iTunes Match on Wednesday, but the sign-up page was removed and refunds were promised to users before the page was reinstated on Thursday.

Screenshot of French iTunes Match landing page

Would-be subscribers during the day-early launch experienced problems during the sign-up process, and some of those who managed to get through found that they couldn't access the iTunes Match service. Some users expressed their frustrations on the Apple Support Communities website, where it was then explained that the launch was accidental.

Apple also made an effort to squash bugs related to iTunes Match with the release of iTunes 10.5.2 on Monday. That software update is said to include "several improvements" for the subscription service.