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Amazon Versus Google: Which Cloud Service Is Right for Your Music?

Storing and accessing music files online is a fairly new phenomenon, and one that many people still aren’t aware is an option. Well, thanks to “cloud storage,” housing large song banks online is an option, and our friends at Amazon and Google now have cloud-based music services that cater directly to our music-loving needs.

The cloud is your friend.

As I mentioned in a previous post, cloud storage is actually pretty basic: it’s essentially online storage. It’s made possible by online brands and businesses that offer virtual space in which users are allowed to upload and store data, normally for a fee. Cloud storage comes in handy for users interested in backing up their important files (like, say, music files) in more than one location.

With cloud storage, you no longer have to rely solely on an external hard drive to back up your music. The only tough part is choosing the right cloud service for your files, and as you can imagine, there are differences in the services offered by Amazon and Google, so let’s take a quick look at each:

Amazon Cloud Player


Sign up for the Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon will set you up with 5 GB of FREE storage space. Not too shabby! Plus, the Cloud Player is integrated with the Amazon MP3 store, which can transfer your purchased songs directly to your Cloud Player account. Furthermore, the music you download from the MP3 store won’t count against your overall storage capacity (which is a nice way for Amazon to say that they very much want you to use their service).

Amazon gives you lots of options!

Need more than 5 GB of storage for your music? No problem! For a yearly fee, Amazon will upgrade your available storage space and give you unlimited storage for any non-Amazon music files (in MP3 or AAC form). Pricing ranges from $20 a year for 20 GB of storage to $1000 a year for 1000 GB and there are plenty of options in between. Not interested in paying the yearly fee? That’s cool. You can get instantly upgraded to 20 GB of storage (for FREE) by purchasing any digital album through Amazon’s MP3 store, but your storage (for non-Amazon music files) will be limited to 20 GB unless you pay the yearly fee.


You can access and stream your music through any internet-connected computer or laptop by logging into the Cloud Player. It’s that simple! If you have an Android device, you can use it to connect directly to the service through a downloadable app and listen to your music on the go! There’s even a Cloud Player app for iPad owners! Unfortunately, there’s no iPhone or iPod support yet.

Google Music Beta


As you may have guessed, Google Music Beta is in beta form, which means you’ll need an invite to use the service. But it will be widely available soon enough, and early reviews have been largely positive. Rather than following Amazon’s lead and limiting the amount of music data you’re able to store, Music Beta instead limits the number of songs you can store, and this is a very good thing. With Google’s service, you can store up to 20,000 songs, which amounts to roughly 1,500 or 2,000 albums (assuming that most albums contain 10 to 15 songs). That’s pretty generous!

Google Music Beta gives you lots of storage!

On the downside though, Music Beta lacks an integrated store for music downloads, so you’ll have to shop elsewhere for future purchases and import them on your own. Also, there’s no word yet on the pricing structure for additional music storage. Still, the sheer amount of space you’re afforded through the service is quite a draw!


Again, you’ll be able to access your music through any internet-connected computer or laptop. Unfortunately, only Android devices will feature support for Google Music, so if you’re hoping to access the service through an iOS device (i.e. iPhone, iPod or iPad), you’re out of luck.

Pros & Cons

Amazon Cloud Player


  • Connected with the Amazon MP3 store
  • 5 GB of FREE storage; 20 GB FREE with purchase of one Amazon MP3 album
  • Flexible pricing structure offering up to 100 GB of space


  • Extra storage can be pricey

Google Music Beta


  • HUGE storage capacity (up to 20,000 songs)


  • No integrated MP3 store or digital download store
  • No official support for iPhones, iPods or iPads
  • No confirmed pricing structure


Where do you want to store YOUR music?

Both platforms offer playback on personal computers and Android devices, but storage and accessibility is key. Interested in a more seamless and structured experience? Go for the Amazon Cloud Drive! You’ll have easy integration with Amazon’s MP3 store and you’ll be able to add new music to your library with ease. Looking for a bottom-line storage unit with a huge capacity? Opt for Google Music Beta. You’ll have to wait in line for your invitation, but it looks like the service will be well worth the wait.

Side note: for a video comparison of Google Music Beta and the Amazon Cloud Player, click here.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Apple’s new iCloud service in this post, don’t fret. At the time of this writing, Apple’s cloud service is only partially active. When more information becomes available, I’ll be sure to offer a follow-up post—so stay tuned.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Make them known below! Are you currently using one of the above services? Tell us about it!


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  1. Bret Bonnet

    Don’t forget about Apple’s offering – and it’s FREE (up to 5GB)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I’ll be sure to do a post on Apple when the iCloud is in full swing, which won’t be until iOS 5 gets released this fall.

  2. amy

    Very thorough post Joe! I’ve heard of companies switching over to the cloud, but honestly had no idea what it was exactly. Now I know 🙂

    Using it to back up your music files sounds like a great idea, which is why I’m curious to see what Apple has in store. I trust them and their products so they’re a major contender in my book.

    Can’t wait to check out your follow-up post when more information comes available!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Yeah, I’m sure the iCloud will become a HUGE player in the cloud space when iOS 5 launches this fall.

  3. Jenna

    I haven’t really read a lot about these cloud services, so this post is a great run-down of the different options! I would probably go with the Amazon cloud, if only for the sole reason that I am getting scared of how much of my data Google already has.

    I think the whole concept of online storage is brilliant. These music cloud services remind me of Dropbox, which is essentially an online storage unit for documents. I really like using Dropbox, so I would imagine that it would be awesome to use a similar service for my music! 🙂

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Nice comparison! I suppose Dropbox is to ordinary files what Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music Beta are to music files. The thing is, I’d be much more inclined to back up my music files than my written documents. My music is WAY more important. 😉

      I hear ya: Google doesn’t need any more of our information! Still, the fact that they allow us to store up to 20,000 songs is tough to ignore. I’ll probably opt for their service over Amazon’s — which kills me, because I love Amazon.

  4. Jana Quinn

    I understand that people may want an additional back-up for their files other than an external hard drive or the ability to access their music from anywhere, but cloud systems just don’t appeal to me. I also don’t have an enormously vast collection of music, so maybe that’s where they lose me.

    I could definitely see Amazon or Google edging out one another with tactics like integrating social media (commenting on songs, reading comments from other listeners) and sharing (can listen to X number of friends’ songs, can download friends’ recommended songs at X% discount). We’ll see who makes the move first…

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Great point! I’d imagine that Google will have some kind of integration between Music Beta and Google+ at some point. It would senseless for them not to.

    • Vern-Matic

      Personally I enjoy having the file right in front of me. Relying on someone else to make sure that my file is readily available to me is a little frustrating

  5. Mandy Kilinskis

    I have a feeling that there will be seamless integration from iTunes and their store to Apple’s iCloud, so once it becomes fully operational, I don’t know if Amazon OR Google will stand much of a chance.

    Still, thanks for giving us the rundown on Cloud services!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      You may be right about that.

      It’s almost a shame that Amazon and Google have gone through the trouble of creating AMAZING cloud services for music storage and playback, only to see Apple come in and steal the glory. “Almost” a shame. 😉

  6. Vern-Matic

    I use Google Music Beta and really couldn’t be happier and I am not all that trustworthy of the “cloud”. It is free, I have yet to reach a limit and I can play my music from any device. I just can’t bring myself to pay for musical services

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I just got my formal invite to use Google Music Beta, so I’m glad to hear that it comes with the Vern-Matic seal of approval. 😉 Can’t wait to try it out!

  7. Amanda

    Nice post Joe! I hadn’t heard really anything about these two services until this post. Thanks for filling me in!

    I signed up for Rhapsody last year, and I’m super happy with it. I think it would be considered a cloud service–but I’ve never heard it called that directly. I can login with any computer and listen to my music library, plus play any other music I choose. It allows me to transfer the songs to our mp3 players too. We pay a monthly fee, but don’t have to pay for the individual songs.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Thanks, Amanda!

      I’ve been looking into Rhapsody lately myself. I just started using Spotify (which is a similar service that I pay a monthly fee for), but I may make the switch over to Rhapsody instead.

      I like that it basically gives you access to ALL kinds of music for one monthly fee. Pretty cool stuff! 🙂

  8. JPorretto

    I’ve never thought about using a cloud service before. I’ve always backed up my collection on an external hard drive. But I think I’m going to give Google a try here. I don’t see a reason not too, especially since I’m a big Android fan. I’m just not looking forward to uploading GBs and GBs of files =(

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I’m in the same boat. Until I started researching how Google Music Beta actually works, I wasn’t too interested in using the service. But since they basically give you a ton of storage space for FREE (for the time being, anyway), it’s hard to say “no.”

      That’s a good point though: it’ll probably take a decade to upload my 40GB of music files. I’m not looking forward to that.

  9. Kyle

    Great post, Joe. It wouldn’t surprise me if cloud storage is the way of the future, but as of now I’m not really in need of more storage space. Hard drives have such high capacities these days that I think the main draw of cloud storage is not necessarily the extra storage, but being able to access your files from just about any internet-enabled device. It gives you the ability seamlessly access documents from your home computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc. and not have to worry about physically transferring those files from one device to the next.

    Definitely some cool stuff. I’ll have to try one of these services out sometime. Thanks for the great comparison.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      No problem, Kyle. And you’re right — accessing important files from any number of devices is one of the major benefits of cloud storage. I don’t have one of those fancy-dancy smartphones yet, but when I do, I’ll be all about the cloud! 🙂

  10. Cybernetic SAM

    hmmmm… I think I still need a little more research before I make a decision. I think unfortunately this is a necessary evil, I wake up often in cold sweats thinking “What if my music is gone!” I often have this suspicion if technology is advanced for our benefit or for the corporate overlords? it seems though the common man is always the pawn between the advancement of technology for profit not convenience…. remember when you only had to pay for music once, and it was yours and your will to do anything with it. Now there are so many factors that play in process of buying, using and keeping. sorry consider me old fashioned, but damn the man.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I agree. But at least Google’s music service is free (so far). It’s nice to have the option of storing our music files in the Google cloud and having them accessible when we need them. The fact that we don’t even have to pay for that service is pretty fantastic. Same goes for Amazon’s 5 GB and 20 GB plans.

      FREE is always a good thing! 🙂

  11. Jeff Ling

    iCloud is going to be just one more proprietorial way that Apple controls things. With Amazon moving to unlimited storage and Google sure to follow, there’s no contest. Here’s my take on Google vs Amazon :

  12. Bee Tee

    I use both for redundancy and because I could not decide which one to go with initially. I have ripped my entire CD Collection (approx 1200 albums) to both Google and Amazon. They both work wonderfully.

    Google was free. Amazon cost me $20 per year. With Prime, now I am up to $120 a year, but that includes 2 day shipping for Amazon Orders, thousands of free movies and TV shows, and Amazon’s Prime Music Library.

    Hard to decide which to stay with, but since my collection is ripped to both, it’s not critical that I decide immediately.

  13. John Volvich

    I would recommend to use MusConv tool.

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