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Apple’s WWDC keynote was earlier this month, and it was largely focused on their new cloud initiative, fittingly named iCloud. One of the big features of iCloud, naturally, is its iTunes integration, giving us another cloud-based music solution to choose from. This comes on the heels of Google and Amazon’s announcements of Music Beta and Cloud Player, respectively. Microsoft's Zune Pass and Best Buy's newly announced Music Cloud service offer additional choices, so consumers have a lot to consider. They are all similar in intent, which is to provide users with an easy way to manage music without having to sync or worry about which device has what music on it. Despite their similarities, they all have glaring differences that users should know about before signing up for any of them. So let’s get right down to it. There are admittedly other viable options, such as personal hosting, but we're going to focus on these five.

Google Music BetaAmazon Cloud PlayerApple iTunes in the Cloud | Microsoft Zune Pass | Best Buy Music Cloud

The premise of most of these services is the same: Your music collection will be stored on their servers or "the cloud,” which will enable you to access it wherever or whenever you want so as long as you have an Internet connection. Amazon, Google, Apple and Best Buy are essentially providing users with a digital external hard-drive that will be able to store all of your media on their servers. Microsoft's model is a bit different; users pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to music rather than it acting as a personal collection.

Amazon and Apple both have stores from which you can purchase media. Any content bought from either of them from here on out will be stored at no cost to your hard-drive space. While Google does not have a store, they are able to aggregate music from most places and allow the user to upload purchases from anywhere.

Storage space

Google Music Beta

Provides users with up to 20,000 songs for free as long as it’s still in Beta, no matter where the songs were purchased. No word yet on if we'll be able to purchase additional storage.

Apple iTunes in the Cloud

Provides users with up to 25,000 songs. Free for anything purchased from iTunes, but $25/year for all other music.

Amazon Cloud Player

Provides users with storage per gigabyte. You get 5GB free. If you buy a single mp3 album from Amazon, you get 20GB added on for free for a year. If you purchase the $20/year plan, you get unlimited music storage for uploaded content. Any albums or songs purchased from Amazon do not count against your storage.

Microsoft Zune Pass

There is no storage space because, unlike the others, this is a subscription based service. Users can pay $14.99/month and have access to unlimited songs and albums.

Best Buy Music Cloud

There appears to be no storage cap on Best Buy's service. You pay $3.99/month to access the music you put on Best Buy's cloud on your device.

Streaming, and not

With Google, Amazon and Best Buy's services, you must upload your current collection. This can take a while, especially if you have slow upload speeds. However, once all of the music is up, you don’t have to worry about it. It is accessible from anywhere from any browser (so as long as it has Flash). Google Music Beta is always scanning a folder that you specify. So if you buy an album from Amazon, put it on your Cloud Drive and download it, Google’s Music Manager will automatically upload it as long as you have it pointed at the folder. This is a really nice feature.

iTunes scans your library and gives you access to all of your music on all of your iOS devices -- all without uploading a single song. With iTunes Match, it is also able to do this with non-iTunes purchased content. 

You may look at uploading and complain about what a pain it is to upload your collections for Amazon and Google Music. Meanwhile, iOS users have it easier, with a scanning system and no uploading. I suspect Apple was able to do this because of the difference in how the services serve back the music. iTunes in the Cloud does not stream songs directly (you download them) and cannot be accessed from a non-iOS device. Google Music Beta and Amazon Cloud Player can be accessed from any device with an app, or a browser with Flash. Those who have purchased the BlackBerry Playbook have reported that Amazon’s Cloud Player works flawlessly on it. (On the other hand, it is a PlayBook, so there may be other concerns. Zing!)

Again, iTunes in the Cloud does NOT stream music. It lists your music and allows you to download songs to your device. It's a handy replacement for wired syncing, but not beneficial if you're intending to stream.

Microsoft's Zune Pass is streaming but you don't have to upload your music. This is because it is an entirely subscription-based service where you pay monthly to access the music that you wish. In other words, you don't own the music but have access to an enormous library of songs.You can access it on any Windows Phone 7 device, Xbox 360 (with Live Gold account), or PC. It should be noted that there is a three device and three computer cap per account.

What if you don't want to stream?

While you can stream your Amazon or Google collection, sometimes you'll want to actually have the music on your phone -- maybe you're traveling or just have a bad connection. A note for offline use: When you download music to your device, it is not removing the songs from the servers that they’re stored on; it's merely copying them. You can download your media to as many devices as you want with Amazon, eight mobile devices with Google and 10 iOS devices with Apple.

Google Music Beta

Called Pinning, it allows users to simply check a box next to Artists, Albums or Playlists that will download the media to the device. Everytime you update the Playlist for example, it will automatically update, either only over WiFi or as soon as possible over 3G (depending on the settings you choose).

Amazon Cloud Player

Like Google, Amazon allows users to download Artists, Albums or Playlists to their device and access them from the "On-Device Music" tab. Unlike Google, however, it does not automatically update every time you change the playlist.

Apple iTunes in the Cloud

iTunes in the Cloud is always in offline mode because there is no streaming.

Microsoft Zune Pass

Microsoft allows users to download and sync their Zune collection to three computers and three devices; provided that there is sufficient space on your phone, you can store as much as you like. Users may also "buy" 10 songs per month with the Pass, which will allow them to take ownership of it in the case that Microsoft loses the rights or you cancelled your Zune subscription.

Best Buy Music Cloud

Best Buy Music Cloud is very similar to Amazon and Google in that it allows your collection to go offline if you don't want to stream. Users can select individual songs, artists or playlists to store offline.

Amazon offline   Google Music offline

iOS 1

While we all have the service that we prefer, they all represent a step forward that will hopefully be recognized as such by the music industry. As the platform wars heat up it seems that each will be able to offer its own version of the cloud music idea. The real winner in my book, will be the cross platform solution available on every device. There is no doubt that Google, Amazon and Best Buy are going to try to get on as many platforms as possible. Not only phone mobile platforms, but dedicated applications for Roku, Google TV and the Boxee Box. I imagine in the next few years we’re going to see cars strike deals with companies to have their service come pre-installed (I can dream right?) While Best Buy can boast BlackBerry OS, iOS and Android, it unfortunately has other issues. It will only scan your iTunes library, so if you use some other music management software or keep your music in other folders, it appears that you’re out of luck. I am doubtful as well that Apple will approve Google or Amazon’s services, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Same for the Zune Pass; if Microsoft would open it up to other devices, subscriptions would skyrocket because it has a lot to offer. While we wait for these solutions to battle it out, here is a simple pro and con list if you’re having trouble deciding.

Pros and cons

Cloud-based music services backed by the Internet giants seem to all be coming at the same time. The music industry is no doubt to blame for the delay and are likely still uncomfortable with how things look at the moment.

Google Music Beta

Pros:

  • Stores 20,000 songs for free no matter where they were purchased (unless it has DRM)
  • Allows users to access and stream their music on any device; their music is associated with their Google account
  • Allows streaming from the browser at music.google.com (as long as it has Flash)
  • Allows metatag editing
  • Supports streaming/downloading to 8 mobile devices and unlimited computers
  • Supports Playlist sorting on the web (by Artist, etc. ...)

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a place to buy content
  • Requires an upload
  • Not publicly available (only in Beta)

Amazon Cloud Player

Pros:

  • Allows users to purchase more storage if you max out
  • Store integration allows easy importing
  • Content purchased from Amazon doesn't count against your storage total
  • Can be accessed as an app and streamed
  • Supports unlimited device streaming and downloading
  • Can be accessed from any browser at Amazon.com/CloudPlayer (as long as it has Flash) (has an iPad web app now)
  • Stores content no matter where the music is from (unless it has DRM)

Cons:

  • Does not allow metatag editing
  • Requires an upload of content
  • No ability to sort Playlists (by Artists, etc...)

Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud

Pros:

  • Does not require an upload, unless Apple does not have the music that you did not purchase from iTunes
  • Purchases from iTunes are stored for free
  • Supports downloads of up to 10 iOS devices

Cons:

  • Does not stream
  • Only available on iOS devices
  • Only supports iTunes music but will allow other music to be mirrored for $25/year. Still unclear what happens to the music if you stop the subscription

Microsoft Zune Pass

Pros:

  • Provides access to unlimited music for a monthly fee
  • Does not require an upload
  • Ability to stream the music to PC, Windows Phone 7 device and Xbox 360 (requires a Live Gold account)
  • Ability to download Zune content on devices for offline access

Cons:

  • Other than the PC, only available on Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 (requires a Live Gold account)
  • Monthly fee of $14.95 may seem high to some
  • You don't own any of the music (though you can download 10 songs per month)
  • Only available on 3 devices and 3 computers

Best Buy Music Cloud

Pros:

  • Available on iOS, BlackBerry and Android
  • Allows streaming on web and to devices
  • Allows caching music for offline listening

Cons:

  • Only able to scan iTunes library for music
  • The app and process of loading music has been slower than the others in our testing
  • Web interface is clunky 

Check out more pictures after the break. They show: Google Music Beta on the web, Amazon Cloud Player on the web, Google Music Beta on the TV through the Boxee Box Browser, the Zune Marketplace, the Best Buy Music Cloud Player for the web, and finally some more screenshots from Google, Apple and Amazon.

Google Music browser

Amazon browser

Google Music on Boxee on tv

Zune Pass

Best Buy Music

iOS 2     iOS 3

Google Music 2     Amazon Cloud 2 

 

Reader comments

Cloud music: Google Music Beta vs. Amazon Cloud Player vs. iTunes in the cloud vs. Microsoft Zune Pass vs. Best Buy Music Cloud

81 Comments

My solution is simple- I could care less about cloud music services. I keep all my music in MP3 and place it on the devices I want to use. No having to be on a network, no downloading, no streaming hiccups, no eating-up-the-battery, no special software, no compatibility issues, no DRM, no restrictions.

Simple, really. Not for everyone I suppose.

I'm with you on that one, but my problem lies in that I have too much music. I have to restrict my Evo 3D to just my most listened to playlists because my 56 gigs of music is obviously too much for the phone's storage. I have an iPod touch in my car and just have my playlists on there also. I could get an iPod classis to solve my problem, but I rather just carry one device (the phone). Also, after going through 13 iPods over the year (hard drive failure), I refuse to buy another MP3 player with a hard drive. I have uploaded my music (well still doing it) to both Google and Amazon. I originally was just uploading to Google, but then when I got the EVO3D, I've had nothing but problems with streaming music on the App. Now I'm uploading to Amazon because of the unlimited storage and the App is working much better than the Google Music app currently is.

what kind of problem are you having, I understand buying music on amazon mp3 but to play the music you require to use data, and knowing sprint they give you full 4G data up to 2GB then 3G which is really slow to play music, in Google music beta, you can make the music available offline without the need of data which for me is a big plus.

The problem was in reference to the original post saying that the person wouldn't need to stream music and that he prefers to just have an MP3 player. What do you mean "up to 2GB?" There is no limit or throttling on Sprint. "Making it available offline"=downloading to the phone which isn't possible because I've already filled my storage with my playlists of the music I most commonly listen to. I don't need the ability to download it; streaming works just fine for me. The only reason that I use Amazon over the Google app is because the Google App ALWAYS force closes and never fully streams the song. As of now, the Amazon player works much better for me.

Oh and making it available offline does use data. The app then downloads the song to your phone. So it still uses data for the time that it downloads the song.

Your talking about t mobile. Sprint is the only one left with unlimited 3g 4g 2g. And no throttle limiting of any kind. And I stream music on 3g all the time with no problem on sprint

No issues with Google Music Beta on Sprint in Florida..I drive all over the state for work and listen to streaming music for hours on end with out a "hickup" on 3G...

There's no 4G or 3G throttling on Sprint, at all, zilch... And streaming music over 3G works just fine, even on a crappy 0.5mb 3G connection. I don't stream a lot, since my entire library is only about 20GB (under 200 CDs and under 5GB in downloads), but I'm still enjoying Amazon's app.

Being able to stream my entire collection from any computer anywhere is nice (even tho 4/5ths of it is usually on my EVO's SD & iPod touch), and having the Amazon app instantly download tracks to my phone when I buy them at the PC is also nice.

I'll probably try Google Music at some point since I got a beta invite, but since I buy music from Amazon a lot it just seems more convenient and direct. We'll see what happens if and when Google Music takes it out of beta... Google has the technical muscle to add a store and still not charge for storage, but do they have the necessary clout with the music industry?

"Not for everyone I suppose."

For those that have 1TB of music like me, definitely not.

I'm using rdio for quick access to most everything, then Google Music for my own music that's not on rdio.

I have much more music that will fit on a phone, tablet, or most portables. But I listen to random music, anyway. I have a script that will grab a random selection of files of any total size I want and then I shove that on the device. After a month or so (depending on the device), I just dump it and do it again.

I'm with you on those points! I'd rather spend ~15 minutes uploading my favorite artists/albums directly into my phone than spend days uploading all of the albums to the cloud.

Also speaking of streaming hiccups, cloud-based music isn't very useful to people who live in large cities. Here in New York I've noticed a lot of dead-zones with no coverage at all or 2G-only service, at least on T-Mobile. Plus there's a lot of people like me who take a train to school or work, underground - no service, no streaming. I think telecom companies should work on improving their service in general before Cloud services become part of everyday life for smartphone users.

its hard for me to ignore the fact that you used the word "T-Mobile" while talking about coverage issues.

I dont know anybody on tmobile who has a good signal unless they're climbing a cell tower.

in a perfect world: you're absolutely right.

but in this world: 28 of the 31GB on my sd card are consumed by mp3s...and that small fraction of my collection still does not ever contain EVERYthing i want to listen to at a given time.

I'm an all-shuffle kinda guy, but i regularly have some on demand moments.

I'm right there with you. I have a hard time justifying paying for a cloud when I can just put the music I want to listen to on my iPod Touch or Dorid X.

Google Music is only free as a beta. At least that's what I'm hearing. Like all the others I'm sure they'll charge too. Plus since Verizon was the last to end unlimited data back on 7/7/2011 for new accounts streaming music from a cloud will become expensive, especially for hardcore music lovers.

No thanks.

I know this is kinda different but I cannot live without Audiogalaxy right now. If you have a large music collection, its hard to beat their free service and UI. I've tried google and amazon and I think they both lack in music player/widget controls compared to audiogalaxy. Yes you have to have your pc on the whole time but thats not a problem for me.

Of course you need to be constantly connected but that's not a problem for me

Wow, this is one of several times I've seen the AudioGalaxy UI and app praised but I find it hideous. What is it that is so great about the AG UI?????

Hideous? Maybe you've not looked at it in a while, but it's rather simple and does just about everything you want in a player.

Easy tabs for by Artist, Album or Genre. Ohh and there's playlist support, which you can create on the fly on your device or the PC.

Album art, Shuffle, and even a 'genie' mode (which is similar to the Genius on Idevices).

So long as your music collection is taged properly, the system works flawlessly over 3G, 4G and even WiFi.

Now if you've a tablet, perhaps the UI could be tweaked, but almost any program these days needs to be adjusted for tablets.

I've been using Zune Pass for over 2 years with my Zune HD. Love it. As long as the service is available, I will be a loyal user. One year access to the unlimited music buffet goes for as little as $150 and can be shared by 3 users.

I use both google music and amazon cloud player and I have to say I prefer the amazon cloud player, especially since they recently upgraded my 20Gb account to unlimited storage

I use amazon mp3 for buying and managing music,, google music only on my gtab (had issues with it on my phone) and audiogalaxy for main listening. Works great for me.

Another drawback to Google's is you can't re-download the songs from your library whereas you can with Amazon's, making Google less useful for archival of your music collection.

How do you download songs from Google Music? I recently had a hard drive crash, and I sent an e-mail to Google asking about this, but they told me there was no way....and to use Google music, lol. This would greatly help me in recovering my collection if you could tell me how this works.

It looks like you can not download them on the computer, but you CAN download them on your android device. Well, just looked on my device. yes it downloads, it but it is cached, and it's not the original file names, they are just numbered files.

Amazon is the best choice for me right now.

5GB free forever and that is a lot of music. Amazon store also tends to have the best prices for music.

I bought the new Weird Al album for $4 and now I have 20gb to play with. I think I can find one album a year worth purchasing to keep the 20gb.

When Google Music comes out of Beta and I know what I can get for free from it and it has a store blended in, I might jump over to it.

@crxssi - I keep some albums downloaded when no signal is available

I'm betting the "buy an album get 20GB free for a year" promotion isn't a recurring thing after your year is up. So in a year, you'll have to pony up or lose access to 15GB of music.

I checked into it and you are correct. I will have to pay $20 bucks after a year.

I am happy with 5gb anyway. I can fit all my must-have collection in that and any new music I want I will be sure to purchase through Amazon so it wont count against that 5gb.

Actually, if you look at the settings for the Cloud Drive you have 20GB now. For music/Cloud Player I am willing to bet it is now unlimited. When you upgrade next year for $20 you would keep the same storage.

I bought an album on sale for 99 cents and I had 20GB. Last week it was upgraded by Amazon. Take a look and let us know.

I just don't understand all of the hype about these streaming services. The Droid Charge comes with a whopping 32GB SC card, most people will be able to store all their music on that. If you store locally, you won't burn battery by using data to pull in your own songs, and you won't have to worry on new tiered data plans.
These are solutions for a world of unlimited data, in a real world that is shunning unlimited data.

My only use for this is everything I buy now from Amazon goes into my cloud drive (which I immediately download locally on my PC and then sync locally) and will always be available as an archival copy. Other than that, your comment is exactly what I've been saying. As we are going to tiered data plans, delivering "cloud" solutions for streaming music on a mobile device is like an auto company coming out with new 5 MPG cars for mass consumption. But again, I like the idea of my purchased music always being available in the cloud.

Not sure why this article even mentioned the iCloud (being an Android site) since big daddy Steve reserves its compatibility for Apple devices only (this is going to eventually nip Apple a good one as their devices become the minority). If it doesn't work with an Android device, why would I want it?

As one of the surely many people that have 80+GB of music i think having a solution like these is incredibly useful.

Most people don't have to have 100% of their music with them everywhere. How many hours is really needed? Even at a high encoding rate, 4GB of music is over 40 hours.

I know I dont necessarily speak for everyone, but idk how any one knows exactly what they are going to want to listen to before they leave their house. That's why i have so much music, because i like listening to it.

I agree, that's why I'm uploading my music as I type this to Google but I keep about 4Gb of my favorites on my SD card.

Versus not using any sort of cloud music service at all. I copy what music I want to hear onto my SD card. That's plenty good for me.

You can sort by playlist (and import your iTunes playlists) with Amazon Cloud Player and artist and album (listed as a CON above) and the unlimited upgrade deal going on now is too good to pass up. The Cloud Player works great on my computer and Droid.

I use Amazon Cloud Drive for cloud storage, as integration on my Android phone is great, the web interface works well on my iPad, I buy all my music from Amazon so I get completely free and unlimited storage, and using Amazon MP3 downloader, I can easily download all purchased music to iTunes and DoubleTwist, where I sync music to my Android phone and iPad (as I don't have enough music to worry about using too much space). Now if only we could have a solution this easy for movies and TV shows.

I'd just like to add that you can purchase songs/albums from the Zune marketplace seperate from the 10 included Mp3 downloads that come with the $14.99 a month subscription.

You really don't even have to have a Zune pass to use the service assuming you link a credit card or have Microsoft points available to buy songs. In that regard it's a lot like itunes or any other service.

For me, having an all u can eat music buffet with 10 songs a month I can choose to keep, and the ability to buy as many songs to own as I want make it the best option for me.

Plus as an added bonus, those 10 songs per month or any music I buy can be added to Google music, Amazon, itunes, etc.

It's really a great deal if u consume a lot of music. Sorry for the long post, but most people don't fully understand what Zune is and/or how great a value it can be.

Exactly. The article is misleading; I don't think the author understands how Zune works.

Keep 10 songs
Enjoy full Zune Pass benefits. A monthly Zune Pass subscription gives you access to all the music you want to stream or download. Plus you can pick 10 songs every month to keep forever.

OR you can use the DIY "cloud" solution and use Subsonic. Easy to setup, great interface (android, iOS, WM7, etc), ability to have multiple users, complete control, no worry of someone else having access to your music collection. With offline mode as well you can specify how much you'd like stored to your local device and you can listen while offline as well.

So, I don't get it. Why report on Zune Pass on an Android site if there is no Android client available?

I have Zune Pass for my son's Windows Phone, and do use it on the PC, but I don't see how this fits in an article like this.

Now, you need to run a music service comparison between Slacker, Pandora, Last.fm, Mog, etc.

I have a zune pass which I use with my Zune HD (16). But I also listen to music from my zune library just fine with my Samsung Infuse.

All you have to do is connect your phone in "media player" mode. Fire up windows media player (not the zune software!) and it will sync as much of your library you want (or your device can hold). The song licenses will expire in time so this will force you to resync them eventually but its not that much of a hassle.

I was skeptical at first of this, I had never heard it trumpeted or anything, but I tried it and it worked. I made sure to try stuff I knew I hadn't "purchased" through the zune pass, and it worked just fine. Not all the album covers came across, but that's a minor complaint.

I didn't see anything in this review about amazon and their issue identifying songs and albums. After uploading all my music to amazon 1/3 of my music was listed as unknown. iTunes, windows media player and Google was able to identify all my music correctly. And according to the internets I am not the only one that amazon does this too.

How hard is it to read ID3 tags?

I uploaded about 17GB of music and didn't have any problems with Amazon knowing what the music was. Were the titles live tracks or something like that?

Just a clarification regarding downloading your music for offline listening on Amazon and Google Music.

When you "Pin" your music for download to your device to listen offline, Google Music encrypts and hides the mp3s on your device, and those files can only be played through Google Music.

Amazon Cloud Player, however, will download the actual mp3 files to your device, as often as you like, where they are freely available to be listened to through your player of choice or transferred off your device to where ever you wish.

WOW I did NOT know that and I'd wager most people who haven't used Google Music are probably unaware too... I don't think I'll even bother trying Google Music now, that's almost as bad as DRM, it's like adding DRM to a song after the purchase.

If I download a track from my Amazon Cloud drive I can do whatever the heck I want with it, play it on another app (I'm still partial to HTC's and their native lock screen controls), delete it from my phone manually, email it, hell even use it as a ringtone. The article should be amended to add that as a con.

Also, from the article: "- ability to sort Playlists (by Artists, etc...)" I don't know if Amazon's web interface can do this or not, but the web app DEFINITELY lets you manage music on their cloud thru playlists. It's all there, from default sorting sorting options (artist, etc), to custom playlists, and it even has two smart playlists (recently purchased and recently uploaded).

If scrolling was a little smoother on amazon's app (and HTC's lockscreen controls weren't so sleek and tightly integrated), it'd be perfect.

I'm also a loyal Zune Pass user. I've got my music loaded on my older-than-dirt poo brown 30gig Gen 1 Zune. I really wish there was an Android client though. That would be a huge improvement to the Zune setup.

I have both Amazon and Google music accounts and all I use the Amazon for is purchase and download into the Google upload directory.

The google service is so much better for managing your collection. It's especially nice for your older ripped music where cover art is not available in any of the databases that are commonly searched by these services, because you can visit collector web sites an find cover art for really obscure music.

Adding these to google music is very easy.

Idk if anyone else commented on this but the article says that Google Music Beta allows "music no matter where it was purchased". In my experience that is not true. It failed to upload all the music I purchased through itunes saying it was "DRM protected". While it would make sense for Apple to do something like this, it should probably be mentioned in the write up of Google Music.

Great article Sean , I'm sure it will help allot of people
one point though , Apple's iCloud service is free (includes all kinds of data, not just music) , but the iTunes Mix feature requires a $ 25 yearly fees

By the way , what happened to the good ol' SD cards & iPods?
The Cloud services are US only far & all of them needs internet to work , except after you download them , then you gonna need storage space (which is thing you are trying to avoid)
I understand Zune Pass feature , but the other services, you redownload your own music again? Why wont you plug your phone to the computer & sync them (incase of Windows Phone 7 , you don't even have to plug it in!! )

Carrying 2 devices isn't as a bad you think (well, if you have a Dell streak or Samsung infuse, than you gotta point) , personally I carry 3 (OG MILESTONE™, Nokia E75 & iPod Touch)

You can use USB stick for the car (most cars now have USB ports)
& for home you get the Western Digital hard drives that support DLNA , 1TB is bigger than all the space the cloud services & you can access your media from ANY device that have Wi-Fi , that way you can have access to all of your media without uploading them first & or paying subscription fees (one time payment for the Hard Drive, whichever is not expensive) or having Data plan , without worrying if the server is broken & the best part is : its not US only!
That way you have your personal Cloud service if you don't want use SD cards

One more thing, Ford already have some kind of deal with iTunes, to bring iTunes integration with their MyFordTouch (which is odd to me especially that Microsoft helped Ford developing Ford SYNC & MyFordTouch!!! )

Going to one device made me realize how BS it is to have to carry 2 devices. Carrying 2 devices is so 2005...

Yea , but allot of places still stuck in 2005 with a %$#@% network coverage , that's why you might need 2 devices with 2 different carries especially in foreign countries (like in my condition , I only carry 2 devices when im over seas , other than my OG MILESTONE™ is my daily driver )

I'd choose Music Beta by Google, its free and has a lot of space. I uploaded 20GB of music and I can't be happier with it. Seamlessly from my iTunes library.

And not to brag or anything, but if you want to read a similar analysis in spanish, make sure to visit http://androidmodo.com

I have Google Music, Amazon Cloud, and AudioGalaxy. And I have to say I prefer Google Music when online streaming, AudioGalaxy when I dont have good signal, and then 16GB SD card to preserve battery.

With Google Music's web desktop, I find it to be very easy to use as far as music that I have recently downloaded to my itunes library immediately shows up on my phone or online. All my itunes playlists are there and so on. I dont have to upload every time. And also the ability to delete songs from my phone is a big plus. Hopefully by the time it comes out of Beta there will be a lock screen option.

Amazon Cloud is more of a hassle in my opinion. I have to upload songs I want on my Cloud Player manually. And then I can only delete from the web desktop. Also, my biggest concern, is that it doesnt find all my music, all though I specifically specified which folder all 12GB of my music is in.

AudioGalaxy is really nice when I remember not to close my computer, and not have it go into hibernation. Flawless streaming service.

Don't forget you can stream all the music u want with Zune pass without using any storage on your device. As well as downloading music.

My complaint with google cloud is that when I "pin" music from the cloud, the music is not recognized by 3rd party music players..anybody else have this?

Google Music all the way, the player is elegant, fast, and very efficient. I love the web player also, it plays the music quickly and properly and recognizes all the audio files I upload. I don't know about the others, but Google Music just seems better to me. I don't think Best Buy did a good job with it, because really why use Best Buy?

I have tried Amazon MP3 though, it is great but playback takes a while and downloading the files takes a long time too.

I use Google & Amazon's cloud services. Both work well, but I love Google's service. There's no need for iCloud to be on different devices... I'm able to stream or download all the music from my itunes account on my Xoom, it's great!

Spotify will rule them all! (well, it already does, I've been using it for several years)

Maybe Google should buy Spotify...

I use Rdio and it works pretty well. I can stream music from their entire library for 10 bucks a month (cheaper than zune). You can also download tracks/albums to listen to them offline. It should have been included in this article because it actually has an Android app. It works great on my Nexus S 4g.

Zune is 14.99 a month for streaming and downloading to 3 devices and 2 PC of all the music you want plus you get to keep 10 songs a month. Or don't pay monthly charge and use it like Amazon or iTunes. Not sure if you can stream though.
Best value and music service out there. Well back to Zuning....

Zuning=process where individual finds music buy hitting "Related" tab over and over and over and over again. Can last for hours! Lol

I have used the Amazon Cloud and Google Music Beta both on 2 different Android devices on AT&T and I found there is one thing that you do not mention in this article.

The stream quality from Amazon's cloud player is MUCH better that from Google Music Beta to my Android device. At first, I thought maybe it was because I was on 3G instead of WiFi. That wasn't the problem. I thought it was my device (a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate), but when I tried an HTC Inspire, I had the same results.

When using the web player on a PC, I do not experience this difference - the sound quality is almost identical.

Until Google remedies that, I will stick with the Amazon Cloud.

Oh, and another thing about Amazon's cloud. If you buy an album you got an upgrade to 20GB. If you had gotten that 20GB update, Amazon has upgraded you to Unlimited for now. Competition is a great thing!

Sadly none of the services in this article are available to me, living outside the USA! However I'm pretty happy with my mix of MP3 files, Pogoplug for remote streaming and Spotify for other music!

so basically Google Music has no cons...ok maybe half a con, for a large collection, the upload is a pain.

but who really wants or needs ANOTHER place to buy an mp3 for 99 cents, and its not like G Music is gonna be in Beta forever.
As a matter of fact, its not even that hard to get into the Beta, go to the site and give em your email address and you'll get an invite, I only waited a a few days for mine.

Your music choices are all over the place.... LOL... Excellent choice when it comes to Dispatch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dyndns + Jinzora on your computer + apache = your own cloud streaming. Just make sure you forward port 80 or 443 to that computer.

I like my setup better than any of these: Subsonic app on my Android will stream any of my 70GB of music I currently have on my home computer (with no monthly or yearly fees), Home attached NAS or HD's and is always up-to-date with any recently added music. I can access the subsonic app/music from any browser/computer as well. It works even when going in and out of 1x/3G data areas since I have it set up to download up to 10 songs of where I am currently playing and chache it to phone SD card. Subsonic will even stream mp4 movies from my home HD's if they are ripped in exact correct format to my device (movies are mainly useful over wifi for me). Only stipulation to all of this is getting app on desktop setup right following router port setup instructions they give carefully and having your home desktop computer/netbook on at all times and connected to internet. I can even control users and give my family a login and certain rights to stream my music to their androids! Subsonic music app on Android is fast and nice as well. Only $15 one-time fee for desktop app control program. I have 70GB of music and 1.5TB of video "on my phone" now at any time!

Nobody mentioned Rhapsody or Napster. Both services has a $10/month buffet like Zune and they both have andriod clients. You can stream stations or make your own playlists. They are not locked into ipods or zune players. They also both have 3PC/3player (like a phone or Zen) subscriptions for the same price as Zune, $15/month. Both will download the playlists or whatever tracks to your device OTA and store them on the phone so you can play them when you don't have 3G connection.

Agreed. I use Rhapsody and the Android client is pretty solid. I can stream or DOWNLOAD anything they have to my phone. No need to hook it to the computer. Any playlists I create on my computer appear on the Android client and visa versa.

My $10 a month also get's me streaming/downloading to my PC and streaming to my home theater via Tivo. (Would be nice if they'd add Ruko to the mix.)

I also use Google Music since they are a handful of tracks that iTunes exclusives. Those I bought and Google Music syncs them over great.

+1! In addition, Rhapsody is a mature platform with links to similar music and editors that curate playlists. Very satisfied user!

I was having an issue with Amazon playing wma formatted music (from a long time ago, I'd rip my own music in that format). It would only play MP3, which makes sense. I started the process of converting all my WMA to MP3, and then Google Music came about... It plays both types. I'm still going to convert, but luckily, with Google, when I update my playlists, it'll do it automatically...

I dont understand what all they hype is over these services? Why exactly would I want something like this over Grooveshark which gives me access to more music than I could ever listen to, playlist creation and sharing, a mobile app, offlining, responsive support, and low costs? Someone inform me lol