Everything Android: Android Cloud Music Players, The Great Debate

Nate Rios
Everything Android

mSpot has some excellent features that make it a worthy competitor to big corporations such as Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music.

The latest trend in the music industry is undoubtedly digital delivery and cloud music services. Digital delivery really isn’t the purpose of this article, though, we’ll focus instead on cloud music services and which one will serve you best on Android.

When we’re talking about Android Cloud Music Players, we’re talking about services and corresponding Android applications that allow you to upload your personal music library to a cloud server and stream the music on your phone directly from the cloud. Some services offer streaming music, podcasts or radio programs but we are looking strictly at services that allow you to upload your music and stream it remotely from your phone.

Previously, we’ve helped you make the decision on various app alternatives a bit easier by highlighting some of the better features of several selections, but we always tend to shy away from outright telling you which is better or worse. This time around, however, we’re going to talk about some of the major players in cloud music streaming and offer up an unbiased look at the best of the best. Go ahead and follow the break to read up on our favorites and get some help choosing yours!

Google Music

Right off the bat, there is one major drawback to Google Music – the application is in invite-only beta at the moment. Since getting an invite is so very easy and since Google has been very free with them, we’re going to go ahead and include Google Music in this guide because it is definitely one of the better options out there.

Google Music offers just about the same features as the other major players but with one major catch – it is entirely free. Whether or not it will continue to be free post-beta remains to be seen, but for the time being you can use all of the services which are extremely bug-free with no charge at all.


Completely free for the time being.
Download-mode for offline playback.
Full featured desktop web application.
Streamlined music sync application, completely effortless after the initial setup.

Invite-only closed beta, although receiving an invite is very likely.
Pretty slow sync time, I incessantly clean out my music library every week so my library is only around 6GB but even with this reasonably small size, uploading took several hours.
Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon’s Cloud Player is excellent and well worth the affordable pricing that Amazon has put together. Not only do you get a full featured cloud streaming music player, but you also get the full integration of Amazon’s MP3 store as well which is something Google Music can’t offer at this time.

As far as pricing goes, Amazon will offer you 5GB simply for getting started and additional 15GB just for purchasing an album on Amazon MP3. But if you need more space you can get 50GB for $50 a year as well as many more pricing options. The true beauty of the service, in my opinion, is that all purchases made on Amazon MP3 do not count towards your storage cap. So if you have 50 GB available and purchase 20GB of music via Amazon MP3, you still have 50GB available of storage. The only time your storage is consumed is when you sync music from your personal library.


Affordable and fair pricing – will end up being free for moderate users or those who keep their libraries clean.
Amazon MP3 integration is excellent, making the app effectively part-store, part-music-player.
Purchases made on Amazon Mp3 do not apply towards allotted storage amount, making it possible to never exceed your data cap.
Free Song of the Day – just like their Free App of the Day feature, Amazon will give you a new song each day for free making music exploration so easy.

No offline/download mode that I was able to find, meaning you will always need a connection to listen to music
Music sync/upload application pales in comparison to Google Music. Does not auto-update so you must consistently update your music. If you’re like me, this means multiple updates each week. Google does it for me, making that aspect much easiers.

mSpot was really one of the first apps to jump on the cloud streaming bandwagon but sadly when powerhouses like Google and Amazon set their sights on any given market, they are bound to shoot straight to the top. Nonetheless, though, mSpot has some excellent features that make it a worthy competitor to these big corporations.

To begin with, mSpot is reasonably affordable but more expensive than Amazon Cloud Player. Without a subscription, you can use 5GB. For $48 per year, you can utilize 40GB but bear in mind that Amazon will charge you two more dollars for 10 more GB. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for more than 40GB, you’re basically out of luck. mSpot is planning on offering more storage in the near future but unfortunately, Google and Amazon have both beaten them to the punch.


Relatively affordable, not the cheapest option on the Market.
Available on iOS and Android for those lovers of Apple and Google.
Features Radio Spotter which helps locate radio streams that are playing music similar to your tastes.

More expensive than Amazon Cloud Player but with no additional features outside of iOS support.
Hardly any storage options.
Offer 15 full GB less off-subscription than Amazon Cloud Player.
There are other cloud streaming apps on the Market but in our eyes, these are the three main players. The rest all offer something a bit more gimmicky and what we are looking at is straightforward ‘store your music in the cloud, stream it on your Android device’ sort of applications.

At the time of this writing, we are going to have to recommend going with Google Music Player for your cloud streaming music application. No matter which way you look at it, Google just has the competition beat at every turn. We know that the service isn’t always going to be free, but you know, we live in the here and now. And right now, Google Music just can’t be beat.

Our advice is to head on over to http://music.google.com/ and put your name down for an invitation as soon as you can if you’re looking for an excellent cloud music streaming service with unbeatable features and an even more desirable price tag.

Google Music, you’re the winner.

July 2nd, 2011