Apple launched iTunes Match, which allows users to upload their libraries of music to iCloud on Monday Users can stream or download tracks, albums or playlists from it onto any iOS device.
Two days later, Google unveiled its answer to iTunes called Google Music, a Web-based music service complete with a music store, an easy way for independent artists to sell their music and a cloud storage system so users can store their entire song libraries on the Web and Android devices.
Both services are new and currently only available in the U.S. Here's how the two compare:
Song Space: Google Music allows users to upload as many as 20,000 songs, while iTunes Match offers a higher cap at 25,000.Advantage: iTunes Match
Price: Google may allow users to upload 5,000 songs, but its entire service is free, and its Music Manager, the downloadable module for uploading songs to a Google Music account, is also free. iTunes Match requires iTunes, which is a free download, but the actual service costs $25 a year to use Apple's cloud. The $25 fee is a great deal, but free is better.Advantage: Google Music
Uploading: Google Music and iTunes Match both require users to upload songs to their own clouds, and uploading times for both services will vary depending on one's wireless connection. From personal experience, I was able to upload seven songs in the time it took to upload a single song on iTunes Match. Given that Google Music also allows you to upload your entire iTunes library, it essentially takes less time to upload the same songs to Google Music than from Apple's iCloud servers.Advantage: Google Music
Downloading: If you want a track, album or playlist on your iOS device for the times you can't connect to the Internet, iTunes Match allows users to download songs, albums and more directly to the device. Similarly, all songs in Google Music can be downloaded to any Android device by placing a pin on any song, album, artist or playlist you want.Advantage: Tie
Availability: Music in Google Music is accessible and syncs across through any connected computer or Android device running 2.2 or higher. iTunes Match syncs across Apple's enclosed family of iOS devices, but the ability to essentially access your entire iTunes library on any Web browser via Google Music is an incredibly huge plus. Pandora and Spotify should look out.Advantage: Google Music
In its first day of release, Google has managed to best Apple in music, an area that Apple has dominated since the introduction of iTunes in 2001. Its service for uploading, downloading and streaming music is incredibly easy, and best of all, it's accessible on any Web browser and it's free. By incorporating iTunes into Google Music, Google effectively delivers a knockout punch to iTunes Match.
iTunes Match is still an incredibly worthwhile service to those with iOS devices, since Apple's cloud service is, for now, the only way to directly manage music from one's entire iTunes library on iPods, iPhones or iPads. iTunes Match also opens up more space on iOS devices by putting music in the cloud and allowing users to upload more songs at a time, but Apple's service is missing one key feature: the ability to listen to your iTunes on a computer.
Apple's decision to omit a version of iTunes for the Web is a rather large one. After all, the iCloud website would be a perfectly secure site to access one's music, and for $25 a year, omitting this feature is inexcusable. Apple will soon discover that in creating a complete system for music, it needs to make its features Web-accessible. In this battle, Apple's loss is Google's gain.