With all three players having introduced their respective music lockers in the skies, we can now pit their respective offerings against each other. The above chart is from paidContent which opined that “Apple doesn’t always get it right the first time” before observing that in iTunes “syncing should be faster and easier” while “song quality may get a boost”.

Apple yesterday took the wraps off iTunes Match, a new feature that scans all your music (regardless of sources) to make matching songs instantly available using iCloud. “With 18 million songs we’re most likely to have what you got”, Jobs said at yesterday’s unveiling. He noted that Apple will automatically upgrade all matching songs to 256Kbps AAC. On the downside, you cannot stream songs with iCloud – yeah, you read that right. What that means is you have to download each iCloud song that is not saved on your iOS device before you can listen to it. What else should you know?

Contrasting Apple, both Amazon and Google allow for streaming. On the downside, they prevent downloads once your songs are in the cloud (Google offers free downloads within a catalog of 20,000 songs). Even though each service has its benefits and weaknesses, Apple’s iCloud has the edge, for now. The biggest advantage of iCloud are licensing agreements Steve Jobs has in its pockets, which has allowed Apple to make the scan-and-match feature only a $25 a year affair. That sum also buys you unlimited storage for up to 20,000 songs in iCloud. For comparison, Google’s free Music Beta service limits you to 20,000 songs (about 100GB) while Amazon’s offering includes 5GB storage free with an Amazon.com account or 20GB for $20 a year. If you want more, Amazon will charge you $1 per GB in increments of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com

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