It's the summer of the cloud! With new details of Apple's forthcoming cloud music service leaking out, it's an opportune time to survey the landscape of the major three players in the cloud music market: Amazon's Cloud Drive, Google's Music Beta and (expected at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco) Apple's cloud music service. Each boast slightly different features with different options for purchasing music or uploading your own collection. Here are the important contrasts:
Amazon's Cloud Drive
First to market in March, Cloud Drive gives every user 5 GB of free storage space of their music, charging $1 for each additional GB. Albums purchased on Amazon's huge MP3 Store are stored for free and the first purchase of an album awards users with 20 GB of free storage space. It's compatible with Macs, PCs and Android phones via Amazon's MP3 App but not the iPhone (though there are clunky workarounds for those). Cloud Drive was not unveiled with the blessing of music labels and questions of its legality loom, as with Google's Music Beta service. Reviews of the service thus far have been mixed. The New York Times David Pogue loved it. "The Cloud Drive/Cloud Player is beautifully done, rock solid in operation and every bit as convenient as Amazon promises," he said. Meanwhile, All Things D's Peter Kafka echoed complaints from others in the tech press. "Cloud music could become really interesting, if it also allowed you to listen to music your friends owned or liked, or turned you on to music you’ve never heard before," he said. Since Amazon's doesn't, he said it "isn't earth-shaking."