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Amazon Cloud Player, Google Play, iTunes Match Comparison

by on Sep.04, 2013, under Uncategorized

Right off the bat, I’ll give my conclusions after using Amazon Cloud Player for a day, and Google Play and iTunes Match for a couple of months.  All have drawbacks that really limit their appeal.  For iPhone and iPad users with smaller sized libraries, iTunes Match is the clear winner.  For large libraries, Amazon would be the best choice, but it has some definite cons.  This review is written from the perspective of a Windows user who wants iOS integration for use with an iPhone and iPad.

Amazon Cloud Player

First problem; the importer.  When you sign up for Cloud Player you download the Amazon Music Importer.  With it, you choose to import from an iTunes library or a folder.  The importer does not stay running so it cannot monitor the folder you choose for any future additions to it.  After the importer runs, if you acquire new music from somewhere other than Amazon, you have to add it manually by running the importer again, or via drag and drop with Google Chrome.

Amazon does take advantage of a matching capability though, so the importer doesn’t actually have to upload any files unless it can’t find a match within Amazon’s library.  It’s not terribly fast though.  On my system, matched files are currently importing at the rate of about 800 an hour.  [Update: Approximately 18% of my music was not successfully matched and thus is having to upload the entire song.]

Second problem – no smart playlists.  Manually adding songs to a playlist via drag and drop, or by clicking a checkbox next to them, is the only way to add songs to a playlist.  The first playlist I wanted to make was a “college years” list.  Without a smart playlist capability that’s not possible.

Third problem – limited sorting.  Songs may be sorted on screen alphabetically, by album, by artist, and by song length.  The year a song came out isn’t available even to see, let alone sort by.  So creating a playlist of 80s music simply isn’t feasible.  You’d literally have to look up every song title in some other database to see what year it came out to decide if it should be included or not.

Cloud Player free-version only allows for 250 songs that weren’t purchased from Amazon.  For $24/year that extremely low limit is bumped up to 250,000.  On the plus side, if you’ve ever bought a CD from Amazon, those songs are already included through their Auto-Rip feature.

Amazon Cloud Player has a nice iOS app for iPhone and iPad.

Google Play

Google Play suffers from the exact same problems as Amazon Cloud Player, except it has an importer that monitors the chosen folders for any new additions.  It’s free, but has a limit of 20,000 songs.  I bumped up against that and there doesn’t seem to be any option to pay for more storage.  As of this writing, there is no iOS app for Google Play.

iTunes Match

iTunes Match operates through iTunes, so you have the full iTunes cataloging system as well as regular and smart playlists available to you.  iTunes for Windows suffers from not being able to monitor a music folder, so any new music has to be added manually, just like Amazon Cloud Player.  It also suffers from a limited library size of 25,000 non-iTunes purchased songs.  The vast majority of my music is ripped from my own collection.  Of course, being from Apple, it has very good iOS integration for iPhone and iPad.  The cost is $24/year, same as Amazon.

Conclusions

Hard to say which is best.  iTunes Match solves the playlist problems, costs the same as Amazon Cloud Player at $24/year, but has a 25,000 song limit if those songs aren’t purchased from iTunes.  Neither does it have folder monitoring for new songs, but then I suppose I’ve become used to that, since iTunes is what, 10 years old now, and never has had that capability?

For myself, because I have a large library, I’ll stick with Amazon and hope they continue to update it’s abilities.  Google Play and iTunes Match smaller library size is a problem for me that outweighs Google’s free pricetag, and iTunes playlists.


1 Comment for this entry

  • Steve Sullam

    Walter, I’m glad to see you got everything up and running again. I was here over the weekend and it was totally kabluey. I’m sticking with owncloud despite what I reported earlier, it wasn’t hard to fix. I just deleted the problem user and recreated a new one on the server and I’m all back and good to go.

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