Google’s new to the party, and Apple hasn’t even shown up yet, but mSpot has been helping people build their own cloud music services since 2007 — first by letting them stream songs from their PCs to their smartphones, and now, by hosting it in the cloud so you can play it on your computer, phone (Android or iPhone), tablet, or Google TV.
MSpot offers the industry standard 5GB of storage for free, or you can upgrade to 40GB for $4 per month — only 40 percent of what a monthly music subscription costs — but again, you’ll have to provide your own songs. Only the paid option includes access from mobile phones, and even then, you’ll “only” be able to fit your favorite 1,000 albums (assuming they’re encoded at 128 Kbps). That’s a lot of music, but serious music fans might not be able to cram everything on there without using one of the extra compression methods mentioned below.
A desktop application (Mac or Windows) handles uploads and syncing and runs in the background — for days, or as long as it takes for everything to transfer, because mSpot lacks Apple’s unique “mirroring” feature. Once our music was uploaded, we encountered no trouble streaming it to phone or computer.
One unusual feature of the mSpot locker is its ability to compress your music (“good,” “better,” or “best”), so that you can fit more songs into the 5GB or 40GB option. We actually thought that even the lowest audio quality sounded pretty good, even when streaming through nice speakers.
Apps for iPhone and Android let you stream songs from your locker with ease, and both include a nice song caching feature that stores specified songs to local memory, so you can listen to them when a data connection is unavailable, or if you’re worried about reaching your monthly limit.
On the iPhone side, the latest version of the app now has an AirPlay option (updated) so if you have an Airport Express, Apple TV, or AirPort-compatible stereo, you’ll be able to play your cloud-based songs on your stereo.
Android users also get a helpful Radio Spotter service, which streams custom radio stations based on the music you’ve uploaded.