It sure is getting crowded in the cloud: According to a report by Bloomberg, Best Buy is getting close to the official U.S. launch of a cloud-based music service it first debuted in the U.K. last year, putting it on a direct collision course with other new cloud-music offerings such as Cloud Player from Amazon and Apple's iCloud.
Like other "music locker" services, Best Buy's Music Cloud service--called My Music Anywhere, in the U.K.--lets users stream music they already own to multiple devices, including computers, portable media players, cell phones, and tablets. There also seems to be a provision for saving songs and playlists locally. The service, powered by PlayAnywhere technology from a company called Catch Media, works with Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch), BlackBerry smart phones, and Android-based devices, according to the company's website.
Although Best Buy hasn't officially announced Music Cloud, you can get a preview of what it offers on Best Buy's website. (You can sign up for the service there as well.) You can also find a Cloud Music app in Google's Android Market.
We haven't yet had a chance to check out the service, but apparently there's a free "lite" service with listening limitations and a paid "pro" version with unlimited access to music and more features. If you'd like a bit more information about how Cloud Music works, you can check out an article entitled "Inside the Best Buy Buy Music Cloud," which was published in Best Buy Mobile Magazine
The market for cloud-based music services is certainly heating up, with Amazon, Apple, and Google all recently announcing or launching programs. In addition, Spotify is rumored to be close to bringing its digital music services, popular in Europe, to the U.S, having secured licensing deals with three of the four major U.S. music labels.
Let us know if you're considering one of these services and which is the most appealing. And stay tuned for more reports about all these new cloud-based music services.
—James K. Willcox