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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Google Music Beta versus the titans of the streaming music space: a chart

By Sean Hollister

It feels like just yesterday we charted the streaming music landscape, but it's already changed in a big way -- Google is muscling in on the likes of Rhapsody, Pandora and particularly Amazon with its Google Music Beta. Being able to take 20,000 of your personal tunes, stream them over the web and cache them locally on your device isn't functionality to sneeze at, so it's time we updated our charts. After the break, see how the big streaming services stack up.

Service: Google Music Beta Amazon Cloud Player

Price: Free... for now, by invitation only, in the US. Stores 20,000 songs. Between $20/year (20 GB) and $1,000/year for 1 TB
Trial None 5 GB free storage
Type of streaming: Cloud Cloud
What you pay for: Nothing, yet Additional storage capacity
Mobile reach: Only Android 2.2+ Android and iOS
Unique Features: Locally cached songs, custom playlists with cloud sync, iTunes import Access to Amazon's MP3 store

Service: Pandora Slacker MOG Rhapsody

Price: $36/year $4.99/month ($3.99 annual pass) $9.99/month $9.99/month (1 device); $14.99 for 3
Trial: 40 free hours/month Freemium model 14 days free 14 days free
Type of Streaming: Radio stations Radio stations On-demand, radio stations On-demand
What you pay for: Ad-free, higher bit rate, desktop app Ad-free, unlimited song skips, lyrics, offline caching Unlimited song streaming, downloads for offline listening Unlimited song streaming, downloads
Mobile reach: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS, WP7 iOS, Android iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WP7
Unique features: Thumbs up/down See which artist is up next in the queue Personalized radio based off existing queue Option to stream on 3 mobile devices

Service: Rdio Napster Zune Pass

Price: $4.99/month on desktop web; $9.99 on mobile $5/month web-only; $10 mobile and web $15/month
Trial 7 days 7 days 14 days
Type of streaming: On-demand On-demand On-demand
What you pay for: Unlimited song access, sync mobile to desktop Unlimited song access Unlimited access, 10 free downloads per month
Mobile reach: iOS, Android, BlackBerry iOS, Android, BlackBerry WP7, Zune Marketplace
Unique Features: Can be used on Sonos and Roku Military discount of 30% off subscription services Option to keep 10 downloads per month