Sunday, August 19, 2012

Music in the Cloud: Amazon Trumps Apple

Apple has abandoned me. This will strike those who know me as a cult-of-Apple kind of guy as a pretty dramatic statement. Down here on the ground, Apple has been good to me. But Apple has not served me particularly well in the Cloud. And when, iTunes went to the Cloud, well, Apple abandoned me.
About a year ago, Apple came out with a great program called iTunes Match. For merely 25 bucks a year a music lover could upload his/her iTunes collection to the Cloud and access it from any Apple device. This included music not purchased from Apple. What's more if the selection is sold by iTunes, it is automatically added to iCloud for you to listen to anytime, on any device would possibly be replaced with a higher quality digital file.

So what's not to like? There is a track limit of 25,000 "songs", and a some of us have large collections which greatly exceed that number. Strangely (though Apple-haters might say, typically), Apple does not allow customers to purchase more space. And even more annoying, without going to great ends, it's impossible to upload just part of one's collection.  It's a case of Apple providing a one-size-fits-all with no flexibility at all.

Three weeks ago, Amazon came to my rescue. They have announced a plan that competes head-on with Apple. For $25 dollars a year, they will store 250,000 tracks-- ten times as many as Apple. And with this premium price they also throw in 50 GB of general file storage in the Amazon cloud.

I started uploading my 37,000 track collection immediately. Unfortunately, there have been a few drawbacks: 1) I have several  drm files I bought on iTunes that will not upload. Same for a few that exceed the track file size maximum. 2) More concerning, I had several thousand that look as though they will need conversion to mp3 format in order to upload.

Strangest of all, using wi-fi, it my upload is progressing at about 800 tracks or so a day.  the upload has been going on fro two weeks, and it looks as though to finish may take a month. 

Still, for $25, I can have an off site back-up for  the greater proportion of my collection. Furthermore it can be access and downloaded by up to ten registered devices. I think that's pretty cool. In this case, Amazon is coming through for me much better than Apple.

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