Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player Take on iTunes Match. Who Wins?
We’ve all been there: you’ve rushed out the door and realized you’ve forgotten to sync your phone. You were really looking forward to listening to that new album on the way to work, but now you’ll have to settle for talk radio, or worse, an album you’ve already played out.
The introduction of cloud music storage makes this small problem an issue of the past. With services like iTunes Match, you can simply purchase or upload an album and have it available on all your iOS devices in an instant for $24.99 a year. As an added bonus, you can also save space on your hard drive by permanently storing all of that music on Apple’s servers, which helps if you’re downsizing to smaller computers with flash storage or hopping from computer to computer without a permanent place to keep your music. Cloud storage is now an essential component for music libraries, and although it hasn’t completely eliminated the need for hard drives and local libraries, it’s certainly made it easier for users with mobile lifestyles.
Apple isn’t the only company to provide this type of service. Google and Amazon also offer similar cloud-locker music storage services. Amazon switched to scan-and-match after a year of offering purely storage and streaming for its users, while Google Music recently tweaked its upload-and-stream service to allow users to do more than just store music files. Both services come with most of the same features as iTunes Match, and Amazon’s service costs as much as Apple’s per year while Google Music is completely free.
With all of this choice, it raises the question of which service to use. Does Google’s completely gratis scan-and-match service win out over Amazon or Apple’s paid offerings? Does Amazon’s Cloud Player offer something over iTunes Match that Apple may never be able to offer? Or is sticking with Cupertino the way to go?