iTunes Match vs Google Play Music vs Amazon Cloud Player: Which One To Choose?
iTunes Match, Google Play Music, and Amazon Cloud Player are providers that all you to access your music files in the cloud. The setup with their services usually involve scanning your songs from your personal library and then matching them with the same songs already saved in the cloud. If a particular song is not available in the cloud, you will be given a chance to upload that song from your personal library. All three of them have different advantages to offer to music lovers, and on the flip side, they also have their own set of disadvantages. In this post, let us try to examine what each provider brings to the table.
It is quite understandable that iTunes Match from Apple has a reputation for being too exclusive to iOS users only. This is not too surprising, given the fact that Apple has always been one to look out for its own first instead of trying to be a cross-platform brand.
This makes iTunes Match lack a bit of outside support. Moreover, the absence of a Web player does not help either. Make no mistake about it -- iTunes is great and all, but sometimes it can a tad difficult to download especially on a friend's computer. Indeed, it only allows streaming for very specific devices, namely iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, or a computer that has iTunes. It also does not provide support for OGG, WMA, and FLAC music files. So if you have music files in any of these formats, you will need to convert them to MP#, AAC, or WAV/AIFF so that they can be matched in the cloud.
Still, iTunes Match's advantages are truly worth singing about. For one, it has a very, very extensive catalogue of songs, to the tune of over 43 million songs. Plus, the unlimited advert free streaming from iTunes Radios does not hurt either. Lastly, it is fully integrated into the iTunes software so functionality is never compromised.
Google Play Music
Just last month, Google decided to increase the number of songs that you can store in the cloud. What was once a 20,000 song limit has been upgraded to a 50,000 song limit. However, the coolest thing about it is that it is completely free of charge. The songs you store in the cloud can then be streamed on the Web, from your Android and even iOS device, on a Chromecast, or a Sonos speaker.
As far as matching songs go, Google Play Music appears to do it at a much improved quality. Furthermore, it can support music files of large sizes (300 megabytes), and can even match songs with different file formats.
The only thing that may go against Google Play Music's favor is that there is currently no native desktop app, which is a bummer for some.
Amazon Cloud Player
Unlike Google Play Music which offers everything for free, Amazon Cloud Player only provides you 250 songs for free. In order to gain access to its mind-blowing 250,000 song catalog, you are going to have to sign up for a $25 annual fee. It should be noted that at the same price, Amazon Cloud Player offers 10 times the storage compared to iTunes Match. On top of that, subscribers get to access their music virtually everywhere, and in the most number of file formats.
However, the songs that are matched by Amazon Cloud Player will be presented in 256 kbps MP3 format, which as far as fidelity is concerned, is a more inconsistent format in terms of quality compared to Apple's 256 kbps AAC format or Google's 320 kbps MP3 format. Also, downloading them from the cloud could take a lot of time, and sometimes, you get duplicated songs in your library.
All in all, Google Play Music appears to be the better option because it is completely free. But if you want more songs, never mind the quality, you would do well to go for Amazon Cloud Player. If you are into Apple products, iTunes looks like the most sensible and the most convenient choice.