MP3Tunes.com is a web service that allows you to store your music collection online and offers unlimited storage space for this, even for free accounts. It makes your music available for you to listen to or download from anywhere through the MP3Tunes.com web interface.
How it works: first, you create an account (called a ’locker’) with MP3Tunes.com. Initially this will likely have a 1-Gig maximum ceiling, but eventually will be upgraded to unlimited storage.
There are a number of ways to upload/download your music into your locker, foremost of which is Oboe, a little program for Windows, Mac, or Linux which is installed locally and can sync your audio files between your hard drive and your online locker (or you could just do one way uploads or downloads if you prefer).
If you are downloading music from the internet you could use ’webload’, a feature within the MP3Tunes.com site, that will transfer the files (if you have the URL to download from), straight into your locker, without the need to download on the hard drive first. MP3Tunes.com also provides plugins for IE and Firefox that can identify tracks that you might encounter on websites and ’sideload’ these straight into your locker.
What would you do with unlimited online storage for your MP3s? Here are some of the possibilities:
- Make your music collection available anywhere there is an internet connection. Tired of lugging that external hard drive with all your MP3’s to work and back? Good, because once you upload all of your audio files to MP3Tunes you wouldn’t need to do that any more; you can have your music streamed into your work computer through the MP3Tunes.com website.
- Safely back-up all of your music: just imagine; you have your entire 80 Gigabytes of music in an external drive which you accidentally drop. Not a pretty image. With MP3Tunes you can have all that music backed up safely on the MP3Tunes.com servers.
- Store your entire music library in a single location. my music collection, for example, is 80 Gigs and growing. I have a 60 Gig Ipod and can only afford to store 25 Gigs or so worth of music on my laptop. The only way I can everything in one place is to buy an external hard drive. MP3Tunes.com is an option that I can resort to instead, although it is an open question whether it would be more convenient than simply buying a hard drive (see below).
Sounds good! – but how well does it really work? After using this service for a while, here’s what I found
- Music quality is very good; and streaming works well and without problems.
- Files that are re-downloaded retain the original bitrate and quality; it does not seem that there is any re-encoding or alteration of the file.
- The player offered on the MP3Tunes.com website is very competent; music is navigated through a Windows Explorer-style hierarchical structure by artist, album or playlist. A search box is available that can help find what you want quickly. The player also allows for quick and easy creation of playlists.
- On my DSL connection with wireless router I was able to get upload speeds of 45k/sec, while downloads were 200k/sec on average. To transfer my entire 80 Gigs worth of music I would therefore probably need several nights of uploading.
- It seems that there is no way to fix/edit tags for the music inside your locker; let’s face it, though, you were never going to get round to doing it anyway . I might mention here that with the paid service it is possible to automatically sync album art.
- The free version of this service is supported by ads, and maximum file size is restricted to maximum of 10 megs. Album artwork is also suppressed in the free version.
- Plugins are available for iTunes and Winamp that enable streaming/playing your music straight into these media players. I don’t use any of these so I was not able to test this.
Differences between paid and free versions: The only feature that I really want that the paid service offers ($39.95 annually) is album art displays and the ability to sync these with the music files. Other features offered are support for DRM protected iTunes tracks, a max file size of 50 megs, customer support, and playing music on “web capable” devices.
The Verdict: this service offers very reliable downloads and uploads and excellent quality streaming. Uploading all of your music, however, can be a lot of work if you have a huge library, and simply buying a hard drive may be more convenient, especially if you do a lot of maintenance on your audio files in terms of fixing tag information and album art. That being said my advice to you is to go ahead and try it; it is free, and although initially getting all of your audio files uploaded can be a little bit time consuming, it may well pay off dividends in terms of convenience and the ability to listen to your library from anywhere; not to mention simply having your music stashed away safely.
Go to the mp3tunes.com page.