MP3tunes, a company created by MP3.com's original founder, Michael Robertson, has launched a new service called LockerSync 3.0. The LockerSync service allows users to upload their music collection to the MP3tunes server, where it can be accessed a streamed to any computer or Web-enabled device. The LockerSync system has more than a few things going for it: it's free; storage space is unlimited; the uploader application is cross-platform and easy to use; and the browser-based jukebox application works really well.
The appeal of a system like MP3tunes and LockerSync, is that gives computer-hopping digital music junkies a means to sync all their scattered DRM-free music to one central, secure, online locker. Not only can all your computers (work, home, laptop) upload to this online storage locker, but they can download from it as well, ensuring that every computer in your life can automatically refresh from one central music database. As someone who often laments the disconnect between the music collection on my work computer and the music collection on my home computer, LockerSync is one of the better solutions I've come across that can consolidate my music in one place. Trouble is, I just don't know if the problem of dislocated music libraries bothers me enough to install the LockerSync upload/download utility on all my computers. For serious music junkies with digital music haphazardly spread across multiple computers, LockerSync might be just the answer.
To get started with the MP3tunes LockerSync system, you'll first need to download the LockerSync utility in order to upload and download files back and forth to your computer. Once up and running, you can use the utility to upload your entire music library, or a specific artist, album, song, or music folder. LockerSync supports MP3, WMA, M4A, and OGG audio files. Album artwork will upload as well, so long as you already have album artwork associated with your tracks. Even without the artwork, once you have music uploaded you can use an MP3tunes feature called 'Tune Up' to scan the All Music Guide (AMG) database to dress up your naked files. After uploading is completed, its a good idea to go to the Sync Schedule tab determine how often the LockerSync utility checks your hard drive for new music to upload. You can schedule the sync to happen every day, or just once or twice a week. If you don't schedule an automatic sync, the point of the whole system sort of falls apart.
Beyond keeping your music collection synced across all the computers in your life, another benefit of the MP3tunes LockerSync system is the ability to stream your online music library using a browser-based jukebox application. When users log into their locker, their music collection is presented to them in an iTunes-like Web application. Unlike feature-limited Web radio jukeboxes such as Pandora, or Slacker, the music in your locker is yours to do with as you please--it can be deleted, repeated, shuffled, and dropped into playlists. The audio-streaming quality pumped out of the jukebox is determined by your connection speed, however, you can manually lock the audio streaming quality to a specific setting in order to keep it from eating up too much bandwidth. Accessing and streaming your uploaded music collection may have limited appeal, but it could be a good solution for those wage slaves who aren't allowed to store music on the company computer.
If you're wondering what the financial motivation is for MP3tunes to provide this free service, their hope is to lure you into upgrading to their Premium Locker service. For $40 a year, the premium service enables users to directly stream music to net-connected devices, including laptops, mobile phones, and home stereos.