Last week I wrote about how I was considering defecting from iTunes Match to Amazon’s Cloud Player, owing to Amazon’s new ability to purchase MP3s from the iPhone. This week I realized there was a critical flaw with my argument.
First, I should say that I neglected to mention Google’s offering. They have a free music cloud. I am distrustful of this solution because Google hasn’t even made a first-party iOS client, and also because I’m simply accustomed to purchasing music from Amazon. For someone with less loyalty who doesn’t want to spend any money and is willing to deal with the convenience, Google Music is probably worth investigating.
I realized a major flaw in my argument. There is still another feature that third party music cloud programs can’t use: they can’t sync back meta-data to your iTunes library. For some people this won’t matter, but I still care about things like “play count” and “star rating.” I use them to help sort playlists and create smart playlists. This may not seem like a critical point, but it’s enough to make me stick with iTunes match for now.
Best of Both Worlds
In the meantime, however, I can actually get the best of both worlds. If I’m out and about and want to purchase a song from Amazon, I can. I’ll just temporarily have to switch out of my normal music player to Amazon’s Cloud Player to play that song or album. Then, later, when I’m back at my computer, I can download the songs from Amazon, import them into iTunes, and upload them to iTunes Match. Finally, once in iTunes Match I can then stream or download them to my iPhone using the built in Music.app.
The process sounds convoluted but in practice most of the steps are done automatically by Amazon’s MP3 Downloader and iTunes. The big difference is simply that I have to temporarily use the Cloud Player app instead of the Music.app to play a purchased song on my iPhone until I can use my desktop to get the same song moved from Amazon’s cloud to iTunes Match.
So I guess I will be renewing my iTunes Match this year.