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back to article Google stealthily coalesces UK music cloud into being

Google has quietly yet finally brought its cloud-based music service to the UK. It's part of Google Play, which is Google's continuing makeover of the scruffy Android Marketplace into a slick cloud storage and playback service for books and mags, movies and music. The magazine department isn't ready yet in the UK, but now the …

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It's replacing songs with swearing with the radio friendly edits which is rather annoying. Spotify and iTunes do something similar apparently?

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Anonymous Coward

> Spotify and iTunes do something similar apparently?

Spotify doesn't as far as I know; the album versions are the actual albums versions, fucks and all.

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Facepalm

My favourite example of this on Spotify is from Cee Lo Green's The Lady Killer track 3, the wonderful ditty entitled "Fuck You". There are two versions of the album on Spotify, one with clean lyrics ("Forget you"), one with the original. The original sweary version is entitled 'F**k you', the clean version is entitled 'Fuck you (clean)'.

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If you like your music sweary

Then Spotify hits the spot nicely.

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Just checked

I don't know if its just with some tracks, but the previews in 'What the F^^k is Wrong With You People?' were not radio safe :)

I'm not even going to list the others I listen to, it all goes downhill from there.

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Anonymous Coward

"It's replacing songs with swearing with the radio friendly edits which is rather annoying. Spotify and iTunes do something similar apparently?"

Is it? I started the contents of my iTunes uploading last night, and I just had a quick flick through. Nothing seems to have been replaced, the songs that I checked included:

The Sex Pistols - Bodies

Tori Amos - Precious Things

Emily Haines - Crowd Surf Off A Cliff

Ministry - Breathe

Venetian Snares - Posers And Cameraphones

James - Laid

Some of these songs would be impossible to censor, some easy. Radio edits certainly exist for some of them ("she only comes when she's on top" vs "she only sings when she's on top"). I haven't been able to trigger the behaivior that you describe. What am I missing here?

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Fantastic Service

*Fanboy alert!!

I've been using Gmusic for a few months now (you could enable on your account but signing up with an IP from the USA, and from there it worked fine everywhere, except purchasing music). I feel its the best service since Gmail. I use it everyday. I never uploaded music from the mobile but from the PC it works great and how you organize your tracks online also works flawlessly. *Tip: make sure your tracks have a minimum of Artist, Album and Track name and number before you upload.

The android app is also fantastic, the instant mix function is amazing. and the little things like gapless playback while streaming makes it pefect.

And with all of that I don't have to keep a local copy of my music. Streaming everyday used about 1.4G on my data allowance which is not too bad but you can also keep a local copy of your favourite songs/playlists.

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Good idea, poorly executed

I got quite excited about this. I don't often carry my iPod any more and the ability to convenienly access all the old music I ripped into iTunes was appealing.

Sadly, it failed at the upload stage. Over 10,000 tracks failed to upload as they were ripped in a codec that Google Play Music doesn't support. I used Apple Lossless (ALAC) to rip my music, as I wanted to preserve CD quality for playback on my Sonos kit. Google Play Music can't handle this, neither can it handle AIFF or WAV. It seems to only be able to upload the lossy codecs used by people who download music illegally and/or don't care about quality.

I asked a Google PR type on twitter who told me that it was a DRM issue, it isn't. I don't buy DRM protected media, these are just ripped CDs and there have been open source ALAC decoders around for years now. He then pointed me to tech support who took over 12 hours to respond by sending me a link to a technote I had already seen. It didn't answer my question.

Back to Spotify it is. Seems daft that I pay them a monthly fee just to be able to listen to music I already own on CD.

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Re: Good idea, poorly executed

It uploaded my CD rips just fine. They were stored on my PC as WMA Lossless. But yes it converted them to 320K MP3 in the process, but the uploaded catalogued and uploaded 6000 just fine. Took a while though. :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

Hey fanboi, why use a proprietary codec like ALAC, when there is FLAC, which has way more support, including your precious Sonos and Google Play Music Manager...?

Seems like you're blaming other people for your bad decisions.

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FAIL

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

LOL, I will give you a clue as to where the problem is...

"ripped in a codec that Google Play Music doesn't support. I used Apple Lossless "

Note the APPLE bit. You ripped all your music into a Apple proprietary format, and expect someone that's not Apple to care? I have recently come to the conclusion Apple owners are too stupid to understand the word "proprietary", and what the resulting problems are...

You could of course ripped it into FLAC, and everything would have been fine. All Android devices like FLAC lossless, as does the music uploader...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

Hey failboi, what's proprietary about ALAC?

http://alac.macosforge.org/

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Re: Good idea, poorly executed

" It seems to only be able to upload the lossy codecs used by people who download music illegally and/or don't care about quality."

It supports FLAC, so that's not quite true - I agree the lack of ALAC support is surprising from a technical point of view though.. perhaps not so from a commercial one (although there are pros and cons even with that).

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Re: Good idea, poorly executed

How to convert from proprietary fanboy codec ALAC to too cool for school FLAC:

for x in *.alac ; do

mv $x ${x%%.alac}.flac

done

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

ALAC? Crazy foo'. Should have used FLAC instead of a proprietary codec which no one apart from Apple will support. (Clue's in the name and all! ;)

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FAIL

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"...failed to upload as they were ripped in a codec that Google Play Music doesn't support."

Oh man, that's like totally Lame. If only there were some way to convert them to some format Google understands.

"...there have been open source ALAC decoders around for years now"

But as an alternative you could pay Spotify a monthly fee! I know Apple hardware is for people with more money that IT skills, but I didn't realise the same applied to their file formats!

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Pirate

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

Whhooooahhhh... Ben Rose!

The only 2 options for not using ALAC are Piracy or apathy? I don't think that washes somehow....

Compatibility, size, availability of purchase or even how long ago it was converted should all be factors.

I am sure there are plenty of people who get a crappy rip off a torrent and then upload it to play, but I have lots of crappy rips I did years ago myself which wouldn't benefit from now being converted to any lossless format. Even if they did, I wouldn't use ALAC (I am not sure if you knew this, but it isn't as widely supported as many other formats) and you appear to be cutting your nose off to spite your face if you are forcing yourself to pay an additional monthly fee rather than convert your tracks to suitable format.

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FAIL

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

" I used Apple Lossless (ALAC) to rip my music, as I wanted to preserve CD quality"

"Back to Spotify it is"

Are you not very bright?

Spotify's max stream quality is 320kbps. Google Music converts to 320kbps.

Regardless of your ignorance of these facts it's hardly a good comparison anyway. Spotify has a massive library and makes it easy to discover new bands GMusic is a digital music locker for storing and streaming files you already have. The two work fine side by side as they fulfil different needs.

Dimwit.

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Stop

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple and supported on iPhone, iPad, most iPods, Mac and iTunes"

No nobody outside of Apple cares....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

How big is your music collection of 6000 song. It sounds like there was quite alot of matching going on, rather than uploading....

Be interesting to work out your internet's upload speed, vs the time taken and the size of the music collection, and see what it matched and what it uploaded.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

What a childish comment.

I also have my music library in ALAC, because I have iTunes and an iPod and like the quality of lossless music.

I didn't realise that merely owning an iPod makes me a "fanboi".

There are plenty of other 3rd party music services - like Sonos - that recognise it. As long as Google Play fails to do so it is not much use to me and a lot of other people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"Hey failboi, what's proprietary about ALAC?"

Unless you've been under a rock for the last few years, Google and Apple aren't best bufds right now. Just because there are open source implementations out there doesn't mean that Google would feel safe going anywhere near any Apple "technology" through choice right now, I suspect :)

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@AC Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"Hey fanboi, why use a proprietary codec like ALAC, when there is FLAC, which has way more support, including your precious Sonos and Google Play Music Manager...?"

I ripped all my music in mp3 (192 var) and wasn't happy with the quality or the tagging. I decided if I was going to do it again, I was going to do it properly.

I know all you digital music n00Bs like to rave about FLAC but, back when I ripped, it sucked. Firstly, there was no hardware support. Actually, there still is very little support from any manufacturer. Almost no mp3 player on sale supports that codec.

I wanted a lossless codec that supported all the tags I required, embedded album art and gapless playback. FLAC simply couldn't do this. Apple Lossless could and had greater device compatibility.

I'm no Apple fan, never owned a Mac, never wanted an iPhone. The iPod (old, B&W screen) was a gift and led me to use iTunes. It worked. It worked well. I've never bought any music from Apple either, always CDs.

Fair to say that a massive majority of the market is currently taken up by Apple devices. Those who own them and ripped their CDs are being offered a migration path to Google Play Music, they even give you an option to automatically upload new music you add to iTunes. Sadly this migration path doesn't work as it only supports a couple of codecs.

I don't expect Google to store fall lossless rips, happy for them to transcode as they do for FLAC, but to not support codecs that have been around for donkeys years seems a bit short sighted and, from what I've seen searching the net, is losing them potential customers.

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@Mike Judge Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"Note the APPLE bit. You ripped all your music into a Apple proprietary format, and expect someone that's not Apple to care? I have recently come to the conclusion Apple owners are too stupid to understand the word "proprietary", and what the resulting problems are..."

Could you be more anti-Apple? You just make yourself sound like a tunnel visioned fool? I don't like Apple either, but at least I'm level headed on this stuff.

"You could of course ripped it into FLAC, and everything would have been fine. All Android devices like FLAC lossless, as does the music uploader..."

Even Android FLAC support was limited until recent times. Of course, Android phones didn't exist when I ripped, I was on a Nokia Communicator back then. FLAC is nice for you digital music n00Bs though.

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@Tim Parker Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"It supports FLAC"

But FLAC doesn't work in iTunes. Sure, it works in dozens of music managers that were created since then but, when I ripped, they simply didn't exist.

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@Craigness Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"If only there were some way to convert them to some format Google understands."

I'm still looking for a way that will convert ALAC to another lossless codec and preserve all tags and album art. There are many tools that will create a FLAC version or similar, but they break the tagging.

Also, I then lose iTunes support...and all my playlists break.

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Re: Good idea, poorly executed

"The only 2 options for not using ALAC are Piracy or apathy? I don't think that washes somehow...."

It's called a sensationalist post, but it wasn't far off the mark. Google have made a decision to not allow any iTunes users who ripped in ANY lossless codec to port their music. Not just ALAC, but AIFF and WAV aren't supported either. They excludes a massive proportion of the market.

"I wouldn't use ALAC (I am not sure if you knew this, but it isn't as widely supported as many other formats)"

For sure, but it has considerably better support than FLAC.

"and you appear to be cutting your nose off to spite your face if you are forcing yourself to pay an additional monthly fee rather than convert your tracks to suitable format."

I pay for Spotify for new music anyway, it's just not as convenient to have my library cluttered with stuff I already own. There are also massive gaps in their collections, for example The KLF deleted its back catalogue years ago - the only place to hear it is on my CD rips.

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Re: Good idea, poorly executed

ALAC has been open source for quite sometime now. If you're going to troll someone for selecting something Apple at least know what you're talking about.

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Re: Good idea, poorly executed

ALAC is an open source format and is supported on any platform that is of any value.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 12:29

"doesn't mean Google would feel safe going anywhere near any Apple "technology""

Here's two thoughts about that:

1) Apple licenses open-source ALAC under the Apache license, which says:

"3. Grant of Patent License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work, where such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contribution(s) was submitted. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed."

2) Webkit

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC Good idea, poorly executed

"I don't expect Google to store fall lossless rips, happy for them to transcode as they do for FLAC, but to not support codecs that have been around for donkeys years seems a bit short sighted and, from what I've seen searching the net, is losing them potential customers."

FLAC halves the size of audio, at best. 320k mp3 is about 1/6th the size. It's a resources thing. Demanding lossless quality for free, scaled to Google magnitudes just seems a bit shrill and moon on a stick at this juncture, I'm afraid. Give it N years until bandwidth and storage dwarfs audio by another order of magnitude, and then maybe it will be a reasonable expectation. Right now, it isn't.

Since you're obviously listening in a properly treated listening room with good quality monitors, or in a very quiet solitary room with open-backed cans, to actually merit this, surely you can afford to store your own stuff?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 12:29

" @AC 12:29

"doesn't mean Google would feel safe going anywhere near any Apple "technology""

Here's two thoughts about that:"

Yeah, I know, and you make a good point (thanks for doing the digging). However, Apple's respect for law isn't really that great, and their ability to steamroller the legal system with lawyergeddon of late still means that I'd have a hard time telling my boss "relax, there's this license which will stop us getting sued for billions", if I were a Google product manager. File under "shake hands, count your fingers". I still say that no matter what, it's totally understandable if Google don't want to voluntarily touch anything Apple with someone else's bargepole today, in the light of Events(tm).

When they did the webkit thing, that was before Applegeddon started, too. Gloves are off now.

It really boils down to someone not being honestly able to tell their superior that using a particular bit of Apple IP is absolutely safe, this time.. When there is this much at stake, and the litigants and courts are that corrupt, it's Interesting Times.

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@Ben

Genuine question...

From Google's point of view, how likely is someone who cares enough about quality to rip to a lossless format to buy any music from them, when they provide their music in an inferior (from your POV) format? And if the answer to that question is "not very", which I suspect it is, then where is the benefit to them of providing you with this free service?

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@hokum Re: Good idea, poorly executed

I don't ONLY use Spotify. I ripped losslessly to enjoy my music at home direct from the ripped source.

On the move, I'd be happy with a 320kbps source, as I am with Spotify, but Google Play Music refuses to convert it.

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@AC - Re: @AC Good idea, poorly executed

"FLAC halves the size of audio, at best. 320k mp3 is about 1/6th the size. It's a resources thing."

Indeed, ALAC is about the same size as FLAC.

"Demanding lossless quality for free, scaled to Google magnitudes just seems a bit shrill and moon on a stick at this juncture, I'm afraid. Give it N years until bandwidth and storage dwarfs audio by another order of magnitude, and then maybe it will be a reasonable expectation. Right now, it isn't."

Indeed, not demanding that. It should just transcode during upload, as it does for FLAC and apparently WMAL.

"Since you're obviously listening in a properly treated listening room with good quality monitors, or in a very quiet solitary room with open-backed cans, to actually merit this, surely you can afford to store your own stuff?"

Sure, but not on my Samsung S3. My lossless library is ~300GB. No mobile handset can handle that right now, hence my excitement in migrating the data to Google Music whilst maintaining my lossless library for home use.

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@AC 13:48 Re: @AC 12:29

"[anti-apple stuff]"

Google Play Music integrates well with iTunes. It imports playlist, podcast and (some) music. It will even maintain the link so as you rip new CDs they automatically get uploaded to Google Music. They aren't scared to work with Apple stuff, they just clearly don't know how it works.

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@GregC - Re: @Ben

"From Google's point of view, how likely is someone who cares enough about quality to rip to a lossless format to buy any music from them, when they provide their music in an inferior (from your POV) format? And if the answer to that question is "not very", which I suspect it is, then where is the benefit to them of providing you with this free service?"

A good point well made.

The answer is that I currently pay both Spotify and Napster for service that doesn't meet my needs. Neither can handle my existing music. Google Play Music can, I never expected to get it for free. Quite happy to pay for a service I receive, I'm no freetard.

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Facepalm

Re: @Craigness Good idea, poorly executed

Ben Rose,

Why not set the conversion program to store the mp3s in a separate folder and not delete the original tracks? This will keep Itunes intact and you can upload from the folder with the Music Manager program. Surely even on a Mac this can't be too hard. I doubt tagging can get very broken, and Google will add tags and artwork via music matching.

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Re: @Craigness Good idea, poorly executed

"Why not set the conversion program to store the mp3s in a separate folder and not delete the original tracks?"

Already a considered option, but then I end up storing two sets of my music files. Admittedly the cost of storage is peanuts these days, but it's more a convenience thing.

"This will keep Itunes intact and you can upload from the folder with the Music Manager program. "

This is the problem. It means that every time I rip a CD into iTunes, I will also need to convert it into something compatible with Google Play Music. Kinda defeats the object. They developed the upload manager to automatically monitor the music I rip into iTunes and upload it. If I have to rip it all twice, or once and convert, then Google Play Music offers me nothing. My phone already supported mp3. There were already Android iTunes sync tools available for those who used mp3 files. I thought this one would be different. I'm a huge Google fan. Love its tools, love its browser, love its phone. This tool just missed the mark completely, for me at least.

If I have to store a separate mp3 library, I may as well just drag/drop those files onto my Android phone using USB. What I wanted was a tool to seamlessly sync between my iTunes library and my Android device. Google Play Music purported to be that but failed.

"Surely even on a Mac this can't be too hard. I doubt tagging can get very broken, and Google will add tags and artwork via music matching."

I can't find any converter that will preserve my artwork and there is no hope of Google replacing it with music matching. A lot of this stuff I physically scanned the sleeves for as they simply don't exist on-line anywhere. iTunes couldn't find it. Tag & Rename couldn't find it. Scanning was the old way. I have a perfect collection, with 100% accurate tags to my own design and 100% accurate photos. It looks great on my Sonos and syncs great with an iPod Touch. Just disappointing that Google failed to support the most widely used lossless codecs.

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@Ben Rose : Re: @Tim Parker Good idea, poorly executed

"It supports FLAC"

But FLAC doesn't work in iTunes. Sure, it works in dozens of music managers that were created since then but, when I ripped, they simply didn't exist.

Ben,

My reply was regarding the comment made that Googles music store only supports lossy formats (with some inference that that was something for pirates only, or similar) - I merely pointed out that wasn't true.

As for FLAC and iTunes - it shouldn't be a problem. I have my primary music library on a NAS box in FLAC, as it's (and was) a useful loss-less 'encoding' for a number of platforms and has hardware support for the multi-room players I have (Logitech). It can be exported via an iTunes server, or pulled from the NAS into iTunes in OSX via fluke.

I'm making no comment about what X or Y should have done, or what formats or platforms they should use - I use FLAC primarily, and have for a while, because it works for me.

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@Tim Parker Re: @Ben Rose : @Tim Parker Good idea, poorly executed

"As for FLAC and iTunes - it shouldn't be a problem"

They don't work together. FLAC is not a supported codec in iTunes...period.

"It can be exported via an iTunes server, or pulled from the NAS into iTunes in OSX via fluke."

iTunes and an "iTunes server" are two entirely different thing. Even Apple tried to kill the latter as it was implemented horribly on cheap NAS devices. The iTunes server function was built in to iTunes clients in an attempt to allow households to share their music in a read-only way. e.g. you rip your own music into your own iTunes library and, whilst your PC is on-line, other people can play music from that library. 3rd party iTunes servers will built to allow the same functionality to play music from NAS devices through the iTunes client. Last time I looked, it didn't work with lossless codecs - certainly not on my ReadyNAS.

I don't use OSX, never have. I just use iTunes, as it was the best music manager available when I was given my original iPod.

This evening I have converted my KLF and Prodigy albums to mp3 320 and uploaded them to Google music. It will have to do for now, until something better comes along.

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Re: @Tim Parker @Ben Rose : @Tim Parker Good idea, poorly executed

So itunes doesn't support an open standard, and Google doesn't support an Apple format, and you blame Google?

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Re: @Tim Parker @Ben Rose : @Tim Parker Good idea, poorly executed

"FLAC is not a supported codec in iTunes...period."

Not natively - no, but then I didn't claim it did. Go have a Google for fluke and/or Xiph along with some or all of quicktime, itunes or flac.

"iTunes and an "iTunes server" are two entirely different thing."

Yes - I know. I was merely pointing out my setup. As it happens you can get iTunes to take notice of the server, but that's not what I do.

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Anonymous Coward

Opposing views

Been using the "digital locker" piece for ages, via a hack to use it in the UK, and absolutely love it - can't understand why this article is so down on it. Yes, it took overnight to get my music up there (from my home PC - why are you using a PHONE over 3G?), and now ALL my music is up in the cloud, dead easy to synchronise what I want offline on my phone, or just stream it. Sounds pretty perfect to me.

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Down...

...because it's Google

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Up...

....because it's not Apple

This is fun...

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Re: Opposing views

"why this article is so down on it"

Check who wrote it, and there's your answer.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Opposing views

"why this article is so down on it"

To be fair, we're down on quite a few things. When someone's actually positive about something, we're accused of taking bribes. When we point out flaws in things, we're accused of outrageous bias.

C.

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Re: Opposing views

This time however, none of your flaws have any basis in the real world.

The pricing is some of the best around.

The scan-and-match services works just fine, within limits of availability.

The amount of FREE storage of owned music is unmatched by anyone else

It can't fairly be compared to Spotify (which costs a monthly subscription), yet it easily holds it's own.

The choice of buy music is not quite iTunes, but it's not far off, and considering it's less than a week old, impressive.

It also stinks of being intentionally gimped review by the reviewer deciding to use a mobile phone to upload vast quantities of music.

THAT is the problem. All the negatives have been artificially created for the purpose of the "review". This should have been a glowing review of an outstanding and cost effective/free service, yet it was given to an iTard to review, and they clearly engineered the outcome to suit.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Opposing views

"This should have been a glowing review of an outstanding and cost effective/free service, yet it was given to an iTard to review, and they clearly engineered the outcome to suit."

All I can hear is "you disagreed with my opinion! I hate you!"

C.

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