In a world where smartphones are constantly connected to the internet, the possibilities of cloud-based services are very enticing. Having to transfer your content from device to device is a hassle, and services like the Amazon Cloud Player and Music Beta by Google are changing the way we manage our media. These services allow you to upload your music to their servers, making it accessible from multiple platforms (PC, Tablet, Smartphone, etc.). For those that want more options, Sony has just released the new Music Unlimited app for Android, powered by Qriocity. How much of a competition is this app to the other services though?
One of the most important aspects for the consumer is definitely price. The other services are currently offering some free options, while Sony’s Unlimited Music requires you to have a basic or premium subscription. Sony’s Qriocity services will cost $3.99/month for the basic subscription and $9.99 per month for premium. The basic subscription allows access to your own music (synched to their servers from your own computer), as well use of their “personalized channels that adapt to your music tastes and your mood.” (Something like Pandora?) If you’re willing to whip out $10 a month, though, Sony will give you access to their 7-million song library. Sony has set up deals with music labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music, along with many other independent labels and publishers. This will give you access a huge library of music, while also supporting your favorite music labels and musicians.
Now let’s take a look at the competition, Google Music Beta and the Amazon Cloud Player:
Music Beta by Google
Google Music Beta is currently free for all Beta testers with an invite. If you happen to have this service, you can upload up to 25,000 songs to their servers and access them through your computer, tablet and smartphone. I use this service and have about 7,000 songs uploaded–or roughly 40 GB of data. This means Music Beta’s per user limit is easily above the 100 GB threshold. Not bad at all for a free service, right? It’s still unknown what the prices will be after Beta testing has concluded, but surely the rates will be very competitive (as is typical of Google).
Amazon Cloud Player
Amazon took the stage with their cloud-based music service, proving the first of the “big boys” to release their cloud player (even though music labels gave them a hard time about it). Amazon’s cloud music services are free for the first 5 GB. After that there are multiple plans with different storage capacities. All the rate plans follow the same pattern, though: $1 per GB per year.
Aside from the prices, the Amazon Cloud Player works pretty much the same as Google Music Beta. One simply uploads music to the “Amazon Cloud Drive,” and it’s ready to stream via your PC, tablet or smartphone. Simple.
As of now, the most affordable option is Music Beta by Google (and it will probably continue to be the cheapest after its release), but it’s not currently available for everyone. The Amazon Cloud Player is available for everyone, but the prices and storage capacity do not compare to Google’s services.
Assuming that Music Unlimited allows you to upload an unlimited amount of data to their servers, this would be the best non-Beta service for those that want more than 5 GB of cloud storage. With the $3.99 basic subscription, you can access your songs from anywhere, while having access to Sony’s personalized channels. This service might also be very convenient for PlayStation 3 owners, because it syncs seamlessly with your PS3. And PS3 users can even get a 180-day Basic Service free trial.
To access the 180 day Basic Service free trial, log on to your PlayStation 3 system and click on the Music Unlimited service below the Music icon. Once the application has downloaded, follow the sign up instructions.Patrick SeyboldSr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media
Now, if we look at the services Amazon and Google don’t yet offer, things may seem completely different. If you want to take full advantage of the Music Unlimited $9.99 Premium Services, it might very well be worth your bucks. Having access to 7 million songs is no small thing. And if you’re truly a music enthusiast, you probably spend way more than $10 in music every month. The difference is that you won’t own the music. But if you’re a loyal Sony customer and plan to keep the service for a long time, it’s arguably a good deal. Sony is also offering a 30-day trial for their Premium Services, so you can test it out before handing over your hard-earned cash.
Music Unlimited is compatible with all Sony Ericsson devices (of course), but other devices are compatible as well. The best way to find out if your device is compatible is by testing it out, since there’s no list of compatible devices yet. Head to the market to see if it works, and make sure you take advantage of that 30-day trial.
As usual, we’d like to know where our readers stand. Please do let us know which service you prefer. Also, don’t forget to check out the pictures below for a quick look at the Music Unlimited app. Share your opinions! Tell us which cloud-based music service you prefer and why in the comments section.