(UPDATED) Apple's iCloud appears to be a safe and useful place to store music. After all, few portable devices have the memory to store all the old CD's you've ripped, the downloads you've bought and the tracks you've "borrowed" from a friend. But the thousands of always changing deals that Apple maintains with labels and rightsholders can lead to tracks suddenly disappearing from your collection.
That's what Gigaom writer Geoffrey Goetz learned when tracks that he had purchased went missing. Here what Apple's customer support told him:
I understand that you are not seeing the songs on the list, I’m afraid to inform you that the items may no longer be available or if they are still available on the store, they have been modified by the content providers since you have purchased them. I understand the inconvenience of this case, however, we won’t be able to make the songs available for you to download again. - iTunes Store Customer Support
"What is really bothersome about the whole thing is that these were albums that I previously accessed via iTunes Match; songs I thought were stored in my iCloud music library" wrote Goetz. "But since they were purchased from iTunes and not uploaded, they were not really in my iCloud music library to begin with."
When it comes to music purchased from iTunes, iCloud isn't an online storage locker. It's just Apple's giant music lending library; and your privledges can be revoked at any time.