You know how it goes, iCloud, youCloud, Best Buy Cloud…In a move that reminds us strongly about crowd behavior, Best Buy launches its own music cloud in an effort to compete directly with Apple’s iCloud, Google Music or Amazon Cloud (plus several other smaller players). Called Music Cloud and powered by Catch Media’s Play Anywhere infrastructure, Best Buy’s attempt to channel your hard earned money to their pockets features pretty much the same features you would expect - streaming music to a variety of devices including smartphones, slates and obviously, computers. Beside streaming, you can also save back the uploaded files for offline use.
What is interesting though is that it seems Best Buy was unable to fork the required deals with the music industry and as a result, they are unable to sell any music. If you want to use their cloud service, you’ll have to use your own music files and it would be interesting to know what method Best Buy cloud service will employ to detect pirated content, if any.
The compatible platforms are currently iOS (iPod, iPad, iPhone trio), Android and BlackBerrry. There are two pricing plans as well, from the free version that allows you to listen only to the first 30 seconds from a song (this sounds more like a trial than a real plan) to Premium plan for $3.99/month.
Currently the service depends on having iTunes installed on your PC, for which we’ll hate Best Buy / Catch Media’s Play Anywhere (your pick) forever, or at least until they’ll fix it.
How it works: Immediately after signing up, you will be prompted to download an application (MediaSync-win_J93ERK.exe if you are running Windows OS) called Best Buy Music Cloud by Catch Media Inc. After installation, it will prompt you to start scanning your iTunes Library which might take a while. The UI looks like it was written in about 2 hours, but it is usable. After the account is created, you are prompted to add a phone. I added my iPhone and seconds later, I got a message containing an activation code and the message: The application for Apple devices will be available shortly. That’s about it, at this point only the web player is functional for iPhone users. You can also download the Android apk from Google Android Market. I downloaded it on my CyanogenMod 7 Nook Color and was able to activate it with the iPhone code. While the user interface is also very simplistic, it works as advertised (both portrait and landscape), so no complains here.
Best Buy Music Cloud Web Player
Best Buy Music Cloud – Android Player running on Nook Color
Conclusion: In my opinion, Best Buy Music Cloud resembles more a glorified music storage combined with a multi-platform music player. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table and it remains behind similar offers from Amazon/Google/Apple both in term of price and capability. I can see Best Buy force feeding it through the computers it sells or through the Geek Squad to unaware customers. Beside that, I just can’t find any appeal in the service. At 3.99/month you can do better.