A Quick And Extra-Dirty Music-Lover's Google Music Review

With the announcement at Apple's WWDC 2011 regarding iCloud music service (for a fee), those who get to play with Google's Music (Beta) - and general music lovers - are distinctly unimpressed.
Written by Violet Blue, Contributor

With Apple's WWDC 2011 announcement regarding iCloud music service (for a fee), those who right now are playing with Google's Music (Beta) - and us basic music lovers - are distinctly unimpressed.

Like most everyone I know that has a varied, eclectic, much-loved (and growing) music collection from all corners of the music worlds, I'm getting increasingly peeved about portability, incompatibility, and lock-ins.

Which is why when I attended Google's I/O 2011 developer conference, I was particularly intrigued by Google Music Beta.

I didn't expect to love it. I am now using it every day - on all my computers and up to eight additional devices, if I so choose. Artwork was matched and added (and easily changed by me) to everything from mashups to podcasts to... Musical and MP3 gifts of oblique, dubious, and affectionate origin. Free.

I should also add that Apple's $24.99/year iCloud music service holds up to 20,000 songs, only after compelling the user to a paid upgrade.*

Google Music Beta currently holds up to 20,000 song files - free.

Feel the burn? This Apple fangirl does.

My only regret is that on writing this, it's still in invite-beta, and I can't 100% share it with all my friends - yet.

I also think that it makes Apple's WWDC 2011 iCloud music storage fee-based ($25/year) service look like yet another chump's pocketful of small change - and a massive privacy problem, among being part of (likely) last scraps of Jobs' legacy.

I'm an Apple fangirl, and I'm mad as hell. But that's for my next post.

Google Music isn't for shopping. The up-front isn't built for selling or compulsive credit card commitment; it's a tool to make music life easier without proprietary BS.

Music majors and grandma-suing BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) - whom Apple are negotiating with to make deals in Europe for iCloud 2012 - might just have to finally suck it up.

But selecting "Shop For Artist" takes you to a shopping portal. I wonder, will this be deviously developed - how deliciously strategic this could be - when the gates are open?

Sign-in to Google Music is a snap. Gmail authentication, then download the Music Manager. Chime in on my comments if you're a paranoid spyware research dev and have something we should know about. Apple is clearly scanning all uploaded files.

Next, tell Goog Music what to scrape and upload to the cloud: it scrapes your iTunes, or any folders with music files in them. Anytime you request it.

I had just under 2,000 songs and files up in no time. And that was only my old Mac Mini; I am still adding from as many computers as I want. Good times.

After spending the past three weeks trying to get the right versions of iTunes and updates on my three different Apple computers with my iTunes account activated on them to sync so I didn't have to erase my new iPod to add new songs that I had already purchased, this was a vacation.

I might be more tach savvy than your average family member, but with music - I'm really just a consumer and a lover.

Still, my new iPod is refused full access due to computer age, or older/not updated OS. I finally gave up trying to add my new music to my iPod (and having non-iTunes music rejected from newer iTunes versions)... No Born This Way allowed on my new iPod yet.

We Are All Fed Up With iTunes

As I write this, I'm listening to my "Thumbs Up Playlist" that contains Stevie Wonder's "She's A Bad Mamma Jamma" - which is not available in iTunes. Think about it.

Google Music felt like - yes. It should be this easy.

It got easier.

Google Music packs all my hundreds of albums, thousands of mashups, bootlegs, direct-sent files from music artists, and DJ gifts - into its cloud, of course. That means my music is now accessible, all of it, even my playlists created in iTunes were ported in. For use on anything with an Internet connection.

And when not connected, like today when I was on the subway, Goog Music Android App had temporarily cached my recently played music and favorites to my phone, so even offline while underground I had my music on my phone, uninterrupted. I made new playlists on the train to pass the time.

The Android and Apple Google Music apps are free, and one login with your Gmail gets you all your music.

I was also freakily pleased that it didn't drain my battery as much as any given sucktacular Valley-startup Twitter app, and GM was really quite negligible in battery drainage. Someone did something smart.

Right now I've got my Droid phone sending my "thumbs up" playlist to my Zii Sound D5 via Bluetooth across my bedroom (from my bed), though I've been doing the same with my MacBook Air from the Google Music webpage for my account.

Meaning, I don't need to use an app from any computer, just a browser.

All I want to do right now is share my Google Music playlists with my friends, in case anyone wants to let me be DJ while we geeks stay in on a Saturday night.

Top that, iCloud.

* UPDATE: After primary reports of 2K initial songs, Apple's iCloud footnotes claims it will hold up to 25K songs for $24.99/year - requiring upgrade, and with limits. However, it also claims that uploading to Google Music takes "weeks" which is, as I have now experienced, untrue.

Image by Kevin Dooley, under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license, via Flickr.

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