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Comparison: Google Music, iTunes Match, and Amazon Cloud Drive

Google Music and iTunes Match finally debuted this month. Here's how they stack up head to head and against Amazon's Cloud Drive

Wednesday's official launch of Google Music comes right off the heels of Apple's iTunes Match going live.

The iTunes Match comes with a $25 yearly fee that you pay to match up your existing music collection with Apple's catalog, move it into the cloud, and then sync it across Mac and iOS devices. ITunes Match even replaces old MP3s with high-quality AAC files in the process.

Google's new music store--which will sell individual tracks from a library of 8 million that Google hopes to ramp up to 13 million soon--and its free connected cloud storage service also will compete with Amazon's Cloud Drive, which launched in the spring. All three offer slightly different takes on essentially the same concept: Move your whole music collection to the cloud and supplement it with new purchases from a digital store.

Google, Apple and Amazon's offerings are not quite created equal, however. To help you understand what's going on, here's a chart that compares the features of all three services.

Feature

iTunes with Match

Amazon Cloud

Google Music

Cost for new tracks

$.69 - $1.29

$.99 - $1.29

$.99 - $1.29

Album costs

Most are $9.99

Mostly $7.99 and up

$9.99 and under

Cost for cloud service

24.95/year

5 GB free, or $1/year per GB for 20 -1,000 GB

Free

Sharing

Some via Ping, Facebook; not a strong point

None

Via Google+ Circles

Total tracks

Over 20 million

Over 17 million

Soon to be 13 million

Major music labels on board

4

4

3

Indie labels

Many, but some have opted out of Match

Lots

Lots, but less than Amazon and iTunes

Audio quality

256 kbps

256 kbps

320 Kbps

Upload required for cloud service?

Only for songs not in iTunes catalog

Yes, unless purchased from Amazon

Yes

DRM

No

No

No

File types

Converts all to AAC

MP3

MP3

Compatibility

iOS Devices, PCs

PCs, Android devices, Kindle Fire

Purchase music on PC only, mobile app update coming soon

Devices

iOS

Android, Kindle

Android

Storage limit

25,000 song limit for Match

Limited by amount of space purchased

20,000 songs in Music locker

Exceptions?

Songs from iTunes store don't count against the limit.

1,000 track limit on free 5GB plan

Google Music purchases don't count against the limit.

Streaming?

Listen while downloading

Yes

Yes

Download to devices?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Song previews

90 seconds

30 seconds

90 seconds

Purchase point

iTunes

Amazon Store

Android Market

Musician services

Not so much

Not directly; works with third party labels and distributors

Indie artists can sell and promote songs

Unique feature

Replaces all files, even old, low-quality MP3s, with 256kbps AAC

Buy one Amazon album, get a free upgrade to 20GB of space

Google+ contacts can listen to your tracks free, one time

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