Google have finally launched their Music service here in the UK!
Whilst waiting for Play Music to go live, I for one have already become a keen user of Amazon’s Cloud Player. Can Google Music win me back?
Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
The Nexus 7 shipped with the Android Music player pre-installed, so you’ll find it available to you in your apps. However the real fun starts when you download the Google Play Music Manager to your computer.
The music manager is available for Linux, Mac and, of course, Windows.
Once installed you are able to upload 20,000 of your existing albums straight up into the Google cloud. This is considerably more than the free 250 song limit that you get with Amazon and instantly makes me want to switch.
However the flip side to this is that it appears that there is no way to increase this storage right now. I don’t have a huge problem with this as that’s space for approx 2000 albums, but I know that some of you will have music collections that will quickly fill up this space (hopefully all obtained legally!).
You can upload all the usual file types, however note that FLAC, ogg, and aac files are transcoded to 320kbps MP3. Not ideal if you’ve intentionally created a library of high quality FLAC files, but this is still superior to Amazon’s default 256kbps MP3 encoding.
Google Music supports files up to 250mb in size, this is much better than the 100mb limit in Amazon which prevented me uploading some single track mix albums I own.
You are now able to buy music through the Google Music portal, a quick look around and the available selection seems comprehensive and the prices seem similar to Amazon and iTunes.
On one hand I think these prices seem high, especially when you consider that the retailer’s cut and manufacturing costs have been excluded, but then on the other hand I guess this goes back into covering the cost of the cloud service.
But I can see why many people might prefer to buy a CD for a similar price, which can then be ripped and uploaded, than buy the music digitally. It is disappointing that the new digital age has not brought a bigger drop in prices.
You can download music from the cloud, however this appears to be limited to two downloads only. They will be saved in 320kbps MP3 format.
Which will you prefer?
I can see that the Amazon and Google cloud platforms both have some pros and cons, and I’ll need some more time to play with the new Google offering before deciding which I will use in the long run.
In all likelihood I will continue to purchase a combination of MP3s and CDs from a range of sources, including Amazon, and will upload my favourite albums into Google Play as it has the larger free limit, whilst keeping my own local backups on my NAS drive.
How do you plan to manage your music collection?