Cloud Music – Part 2

Cloud Music – Part 2

If you’ve decided to sign up for a cloud music service, but are not sure which platform is right for you, this article might be helpful.  There are several factors to consider while selecting a cloud music service provider: Where is your music currently stored and how much space does it take up? Where did most of the songs you already have in your library come from (online retailer, CD uploads, etc)? Where do you do the majority of your music listening? Do you usually prefer to select specific songs or the randomness of listening to the radio? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the top cloud music providers.

Apple – If you already manage your music library through iTunes and/or have an iPhone, iPad, etc, then Apple’s iCloud service is your best option.  For twenty-five dollars a year, you can use Apple’s iMatch service to automatically upload all music purchased through iTunes to iCloud.  Once it is uploaded to the cloud, the iTunes purchase will be synced on up to ten devices.  Users can store up to 5GB for free, with additional storage (10,20, or 50GB) available for a yearly fee.

Google – Do you primarily want cloud storage so you can access your music on the go? If so, Google Music is probably the service for you.   One nice feature Google Music offers is the ability to “pin” particular songs stored in the cloud, to ensure playability even when you lose Internet access.  The service also boasts completely free storage for up to 20,000 songs, not including those purchased.

Amazon – Amazon’s Cloud Player offers storage at a less expensive rate than iTunes.  However, this is one of the few noticeable advantages it has over Apple, and with Google offering unlimited free storage of up to 20,000 songs, it is not much of a game-changer.  In addition, Amazon’s interface has been described as the “clunkiest” of the “big three” when it comes to the actual music listening experience.  The general consensus is that unless you have an absolutely massive music library, or purchase an overwhelming majority of your music through Amazon, you will probably be happier going with one of the previously mentioned services.

Pandora – Perhaps you do not have a large personal music library.  Maybe you prefer a radio-type listening experience, but want more music variety than most mainstream channels offer.  If either of these statements applies to you, then Pandora could be an enticing alternative to Google, Amazon, or Apple’s offerings.  Pandora allows users free access to over 800,000 songs, which are played through customized “radio stations” the user creates based off favorite songs, artists, or genres.  One of Pandora’s drawbacks, it limits free users to six “song skips” per hour and twelve total per day, which can be occasionally frustrating.  In exchange for the free service, Pandora plays commercials between every few songs.  For thirty-six dollars annually, you can upgrade to PandoraOne, which offers commercial free listening, higher-quality audio, and eliminates the daily song skip limit.

Each of these options has their own benefits and drawbacks.  The cloud based music service that is right for you may not be right for everybody, a lot of it depends on your listening habits, budget, and current music library.  One thing is for sure though: if you are looking for vast access to your music across several devices, cloud-based music storage is absolutely a service you should research and take advantage of.

By Rick Blaisdell / Ricks Cloud

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