TMCnet Feature
June 22, 2011

Best Buy's Dive in Cloud Music: 3, 3, 1, 2, and 8 from the East German Judge

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Cloud music? The more the merrier. And it looks like Best Buy’s competitors in the cloud music space -- Google (News - Alert), MSpot, Amazon, Apple -- don’t have much to worry about with this entrant.

“Skip it,” PC Magazine advises. “For now.” Hey the Nook stunk when it was first released, now it’s better reviewed than the iconic Kindle. Let’s see if Best Buy (News - Alert) hits the same trajectory.

“Don't even bother trying this out until Best Buy reworks it,” PC Mag says, adding that the software is “inflexible, and painful, and with some odd design decisions, to boot. The worst choice? For now, you're restricted to listening to 30-second samples of your own songs.”

But if that sounds like your kind of music service, one that doesn’t let you waste too much time actually listening to music instead of doing productive things, this is your baby.

MediaBeat isn’t impressed either, calling it “a modest demo... The service is only compatible with iTunes music libraries, and Best Buy has been hazy on pricing. Paired with its reliance on an always-on desktop app, Music Cloud is likely to see stiff competition in a marketplace already inhabited by lither options. The tight vertical integration of iCloud, along with Google and Amazon’s minted reputations as being cloud-savvy begs the inevitable question for potential users: ‘Why bother?”

Oh, and as PC Mag says, “If you're a Windows user and dislike Apple's (News - Alert) iTunes software, stop reading. There is no option to upload from a Windows Media Player playlist or just a generic music folder.”

Vator notes that Best Buy has launched Best Buy Music Cloud, a fairly soft launch, which is a good thing, because it’s just not ready for the prime time: “Reports say the desktop client is a bit broken when uploading songs and streaming isn’t really available yet, allowing users to only listen to 30-second samples of their tracks.”

It explains Best Buy’s proposed fee structure as free for unlimited streaming from the Web, $3.99 (per month?) for the premium version, “presumably for streaming to any and all devices,” compared to Google’s as-yet unpriced service and Apple’s $25 per year. As Vator says, “A semi-working cloud service that costs more than high-quality offerings from the likes of Google and Apple? Sign me up!”

You can see the problem.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny
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