A look at cloud based music services
By Loh Ving Sung GooglePlus
09 June 2012 - With the option to store out music on the cloud right now, we can play our music library while we are not on our home computers anymore.
In a nutshell, you either buy or sign-up for free an amount of free space on one of these services and you can listen them either on your smartphone or another on another computer no matter where you are. There are services that offer you streaming music that are not on your library list too.
And with everyone jumping in to offer users storage in the cloud, let’s look at a few cloud-based music services that work in Malaysia.
How it works: Apple's iCloud was announced last year's WWDC, and it allows users upload up to 25,000 tracks and which then syncs to iOS devices attached to your account. Aside from iOS devices, iCloud works on iTunes either on Windows or Mac.
iCloud then syncs all your tracks, but it does not stream your music, rather it downloads tracks to your devices instead. If you have a WiFi network handy, sync your music to your iPhone/iPad should be easy.
iTunes Match is not supported in Malaysia yet. But for an annual fee (USD $24.99), iTunes Match can scan and match tracks inside their iTunes library which were copied from sources like CDs or perhaps more illicit websites. Apple then allows users to download tracks in 256kbit/s to replace their older tracks.
How it does not: If you are on iTunes and actively buying music from the platform, iCloud should work quite seamlessly for you. Unfortunately, there is no web based player, so if you move to another computer, you will have to download the iTunes client. iCloud will not work if you have an Android smartphone either.
How it works: Malaysia has its very own music service as well, and it is called WowLoud. While users cannot upload their own tracks for streaming, they can search for their favourite songs on the service’s library instead.
WowLoud has partnered with Sony Music, Universal Music, Warner Music and One Stop and at launch the service had a million songs for streaming.
As free user on WowLoud, you will get up to 20 hours’ worth of free airplay however the free music comes with audio adverts though. After a few songs, WowLoud will slip in an advert. With a paid account at RM9.90, you will enjoy unlimited listening time and zero ads.
WoWLoud has a smartphone app for Android/Apple users too but you have to pay RM14.90 to use the app. Paid accounts will get to enjoy high-quality music.
Free and paid users will get to create custom playlists, pre-cache your music library offline and sync your list across multiple devices.
How it does not: You can also import your own tracks on the WowLoud client - however your music does not go into WoWLoud’s cloud but stays on a single computer, so you cannot stream your personal music library. Also, the service does not have a webplayer, so you will have to install the client on computers that you want to listen on.
How it works: This web based client allows users streaming of not only your songs but songs from its massive library. Grooveshark starts by scanning your music library for tracks it has and adds them to your Grooveshark library, so you will not need to buy storage space.
It has a web client, and will stream to mobile devices for a fee. Grooveshark’s big library means you can probably look for some pretty obscure tracks. And its web player that makes it easy to search for music and build playlists.
How it does not: Unfortunately, both its App Store app and Android app has been dropped from their respective app stores after the Grooveshark smartphone apps drew flak for copyright issues. Its huge library is also slightly disorganised and the presence of duplicate tracks mean there is a bit of trial and error before you get the track you actually want to listen to.
How it works: Similar to iCloud, mSpot allows you put your music in the cloud too. You get 5GB for free, and mSpot streams your music to any desktop web browser with the mSpot flash player. mSpot works cross-platform so you will be able to use it on your iPhone and Android. Plus, it is able to cache songs for offline play so you can play music when you have no internet connection.
mSpot will require a 1.79MB client on your home computer, but after that all you need is an flash-powered web browser