Chart courtesy of paidContent.org

With all three players having introduced their respective cloud music offerings, we can now pit them against each other. The above chart is from paidContent which opined that “Apple doesn’t always get it right the first time”. Author Amanda Natividad observed┬áthat in iTunes “syncing should be faster and easier” while “song quality may get a boost”. She obviously wasn’t paying attention to yesterday’s unveiling of iTunes Match, a new iTunes feature that works in conjunction with Apple’s upcoming online service dubbed iCloud. iTunes Match scans your music tracks (regardless of their sources), making matching songs instantly available to all computers and mobile devices without you having to spend weeks to upload gigabytes worth of music to servers. Jobs said yesterday:

With 18 million songs we’re most likely to have what you got.

Apple’s boss also noted that his company will automatically upgrade all matching songs to 256Kbps AAC. On the downside, you cannot stream songs via iCloud – yeah, you read that right. Instead, you are required to manually download iCloud songs that aren’t stored on your iOS device by tapping a tiny cloud icon next to each missing song in the iTunes app before you can actually listen to it in the iPod app. Great, what else should you know?

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Contrasting Apple, both Amazon and Google allow for streaming. On the downside, they prevent downloads once your songs are in the cloud (Google offers free downloads within a catalog of 20,000 songs). Even though each service has its benefits and weaknesses, Apple’s iCloud has the edge, for now. The iCloud’s biggest advantage are licensing agreements Steve Jobs has in its pockets, allowing Apple to make the scan-and-match feature only a $25 a year affair, for which you get unlimited cloud storage for up to 20,000 songs. For comparison, Google’s free Music Beta service limits you to 20,000 songs (about 100GB) while Amazon’s offering includes 5GB storage free with an Amazon.com account or 20GB for $20 a year. If you want more, Amazon will charge you $1 per GB in increments of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com

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