Keep Your iTunes Music in the Cloud With mSpot

Apple has yet to introduce either a streaming iTunes subscription, or a good way for MobileMe users to store their music library in the cloud for remote access. However, a service called mSpot is here to remedy that problem, by providing free online space for your music.

Once you’ve downloaded the mSpot uploader application for OS X (or Windows, if that’s how you roll), you can grab 2GB of free storage space simply by entering your email address and a password. Once you’ve done that, the uploader should automatically start uploading your iTunes library to mSpot. If not, you can start a sync using the menu bar icon. If you have an iTunes library larger than the 2GB limit, there are two options; either you can let the uploader keep going until it hits the limit, or you can upgrade to 40GB worth of space for $4 per month.

The next thing to do is grab the free mSpot iPhone application from the App Store (it’s also available for Android). Sign in on the device with the account you created using the desktop app, and you’re all set to start streaming your music over 3G. The mSpot application is fairly similar to the iPod app, so controls should be familiar. When you tap on a song, if you haven’t played it using mSpot before, it’ll be downloaded to your device so you only have to pay for the data once if you replay the track, instead of streaming it repeatedly.

Of course, the main reason for wanting to stream to your device is that your entirely library won’t fit on your device in the first place. In that case, having mSpot download the music each time isn’t really all that useful. Luckily, you can turn on the “Stream Only” option to prevent local storage. Just watch out if you have a small data plan, because streaming music will eat through it quickly.

The app also works on iPad, but it isn’t universal, so you’ll just see the standard iPhone interface. Still, it’s good news for owners of the 16GB iPad who need a little extra space for their music. Another nice thing about mSpot is that you don’t even need a device at all; you can also listen to your music in any web browser just by signing in at the mSpot homepage.

One last thing that mSpot allows for is selecting certain folders of music to upload, rather than your entire iTunes library. If you want to keep under the 2GB limit, but you have a large music library, this is the way to do it. You can manage folder selection through mSpot Preferences, accessible via the menu bar icon.

mSpot is available for both Mac and Windows, and supports streaming to both iOS and Android devices. If you know another solution for streaming music over 3G, let us know in the comments.

December 15, 2010