Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Amazon & Apple are now Both in the Cloud... Let the Games Begin!

 

iTunes Match.png
I've been blogging about the Amazon Cloud Drive here for a few moths now... basically because it has been available and I've been using it.  The "it's been available" part in that last sentence is huge, because Apple just brought their iTunes Match service online basically yesterday.  It was supposed to launch by the end of October, but delays pushed it back until Mid-November.
Now we get to see the competition heat up between a couple of Cloud giants.  Amazon has made a huge name for itself with the Kindle and all kinds of Cloud storage while Apple has iTunes which is really what (along with the iPod) started the digital music revolution.
Both companies are coming at this from different angles.  Amazon is offering 20GB of Cloud Storage for $20/year.  Apple is providing their iCloud service for $25/year and it allows users to have up to 25,000 songs in the cloud.
Let's take a look at the differences because, other than the Cloud, there are not a lot of similarities.
Amazon: $20/year for 20GB of storage, which you can increase.  Amazon Prime members get unlimited storage as part of their membership fee.  Users must upload their songs (which can be time consuming and bandwidth consuming depending on the number of songs in your catalogue.  The service will take any MP3 songs (that is the format that Amazon sells) but will not take any type of encrypted music.  The songs can be played on any device with an Internet connection vis streaming from the cloud, but you can also download the songs to any device capable of playing MP3's.
Apple: The iCloud service is $25/year for up to 25,000 songs.  I'm not sure how my GB that would translate into, but i've got to think it is comparable to Amazon.  No uploading of your songs is required.  Utilizing iTunes Match, the service scans your music collection for songs & if the same song is available iTunes, you have access to it.  IF Apple doesnt' find it, it will upload YOUR version.  This could prove to be a big time and bandwidth saver.  Also, the songs that iTunes will play that match your songs are 256Kbps which are very high quality.  The one real downside to this service is that it limits you to 10 devices.  Now in the big picture, that probably really isn't a huge deal.  I mean, how many of us have 10 digital music players?  However, we dont' know what the future holds and I've never been a big fan of anything that provides "limits" to my usage, etc.
So... I don't have a clearcut winner in this race.  I'm already an Amazon user and I've already uploaded my entire music collection to the Amazon Cloud Servers.  It took several days (I have around 60-GB of music).  I have had a great experience with the Amazon service and I continue to upload any new songs I buy to my Cloud Storage.  I probably will not be using the Apple services but that is only because they weren't first to market.
Let me know your thoughts on this.  This should be an interesting next few months...

 

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