It looks like Best Buy is releasing their own version of a cloud service to compete with Google’s Music Beta, Amazon’s Cloud Drive and Apple’s iCloud. While Best Buy hasn’t officially announced Music Cloud, you can get a preview and sign up for the service on their website. Music Cloud lets you stream your music to multiple devices including computers, phones, and tablets. An enticing feature is that Best Buy’s service can save songs locally to devices that will come in handy when you’re without internet access.
Music Cloud service is powered by Catch Media’s PlayAnywhere technology, and it works with iOS, BlackBerry and Android. It looks like there will be a “lite” version and a “pro” version. The lite version is free, but limits you to only 30 seconds of your songs. Yes, you can only listen to 30 seconds of your own music. There’s not much of a point to a free version, unless you’re okay with a teaser and want to test it out before upgrading to pro. It’ll be tough to compete with the other cloud services, as Amazon’s Cloud Drive comes free with 5 GB of storage, and Google’s Music Beta gives you the ability to store up to 20,000 songs without charge.
Apple’s iCloud automatically scans customers’ digital music libraries into iTunes, while with Music Cloud you would have to upload the music yourself. Currently, Music Cloud only works if you connect it to your iTunes library. If you don’t have iTunes, you can’t use it. The service won’t upload from Windows Media Player or a folder/directory on your desktop. Hopefully Best Buy can fix that, and reconsider the limitations of the lite version before the official release. Otherwise they’ll have a hard time competing with cloud services that offer free storage for full songs, not just 30 seconds worth.