Music in the Cloud

June 19, 2012 — 5 Comments

I’ve been trying to sync all my music across computers, iPods, iPads, and phones over the last few days. I’ve also been using the three major cloud music players; Google Music, Amazon Cloud Player, and iTunes Match. Cloud music players allow you to store your music on someone else’s server, so you can access your music from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection. Google, Amazon, and Apple all have their own solutions, and each have their advantages and disadvantages. I just wanted to share with you what I’ve learned and experienced.

Google Music

Google Music allows you to store up to 20,000 songs on Google’s servers for free. They have a program that runs in the background on your home computer and uploads all of your music. This obviously takes a while, but once your music is uploaded, you can access it from any web browser or from your android phone.  The Google Play Music app on your android is a decent music app that gives you access to all your uploaded music from your phone.  Plus it automatically makes all of your music purchases from the Google Play store automatically available on Google Music.  Here are my thoughts

  • Your music is uploaded automatically. Everything is really simple and you don’t even know it’s running in the background
  • Unfortunately, they make it really hard to download the music from the player. It’s possible, but it’s not intuitive
  • The Android app is really lacking in features. I like DoubleTwist much better
  • You can share music through Google+, but I still don’t know anyone that is heavily using Google+
  • This is my least favorite of the three and the least polished

Amazon Cloud Player

The Amazon Cloud Player gives you immediate access to your music that has been purchased through the Amazon mp3 store. I’ve been using the Amazon store for a long time, so I was excited when they came out with their service. They usually have the cheapest price on new music, and they offer the music in the mp3 format which works on all devices. They have both an iPhone app and an Android app, and you can also access the music from the web. Here are my thoughts.

  • This is the best app for cross platform compatibility. It works great on iPods, iPads, Androids, and computers
  • They offer 5Gig of music storage for free and you can purchase higher storage plans
  • I like how the Android app combines the store and player into the same app.
  • It’s easy to download your music onto your devices

iTunes Match

I just subscribed to this service a couple of weeks ago when Jennifer bought her iPhone. It works great with Apple products, and I think it is well worth the $24.99 yearly price. itunes will scan your music collection and “match” any of your songs that they offer and make them available from the cloud. You get a higher quality version and you have immediate access to your music from your apple device or computer. Here are my thoughts

  • If you have an iPhone, this is the best way to go. It works great
  • You can use iTunes Match on up to 10 devices, so it may be a little limiting if you have a big family
  • It only works on iOS 5 and higher. That means if you have an old iPod touch (1st or 2nd generation) you can’t use this with it
  • You can upload up to 25,000 of your own songs to the service. This is great for the more obscure stuff that they don’t have available in iTunes
  • The biggest drawback is that they don’t offer an android app. This would make this service perfect and would bring Apple added money, but don’t expect it to ever happen.

My Conclusion

iTunes Match is the slickest of the three options, but you are locked in to Apple devices for mobile access. Amazon is best for compatibility. And I’m not really sure where Google fits in. It seems like an afterthought and isn’t as functional as it could be. For me, I’ll keep using all three so I can be sure to have my tunes available wherever I’m at.  Also, while these services offer you offline access, you still need a backup. Don’t think that these will replace your backup plan. It’s not easy to get your music back out. In the end, try them out and pick out the one that works best for you.

Mike

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I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 18 years, and we have three awesome kids, Emma, Luke, and Drew.

5 responses to Music in the Cloud

  1. In an update coming soon, online users will have access to a “social” section with the option to view your friends’ music libraries (including stats like recently uploaded, recently played, most played, etc). The folks over at Cloud Player LLC are wanting to explore the same option with their BlackBerry app at a future date so keep your eyes peeled for that possible update.

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