MeCanto, Psonar offer free online music lockers

MeCanto lets you upload your entire music library, then stream it to your Android or Symbian S60 phone. Psonar gives you backup and lets you upload and download content to and from your mobile phones.

Last week, I took a look at a bunch of online services that help you get music from your PC to your mobile phone without forcing you to connect it to your computer. Since then, a couple readers have pointed out services that I missed.

Introduced in 2009, MeCanto is a straightforward music locker service that lets you upload your music library to its servers, then stream that music to supported Android or Symbian S60 phones. It's similar to MP3Tunes or mSpot, but completely free. Download the free MeCanto client (Windows only), and it will begin uploading your entire music library to its servers. There's no storage limit and no charge. Then, download the Android client through the Android Market, or the S60 client from MeCanto's Web site, and you should be able to stream almost any song to your mobile phone. (Some file types aren't supported--read the FAQ for details.)

One nice touch: MeCanto lets you listen to your music library on your mobile device before it's completely done uploading. In this scenario, you'll need to have your PC turned on and the MeCanto app running; once you're done uploading, you should be able to get to your music even when your PC's off.

As this screenshot shows, I couldn't get the Psonar SongShifter application to display properly on my Windows XP laptop, and there was no way to resize the window. Screenshot

I wasn't able to test MeCanto because I don't have a supported phone, but I gave another service, Psonar, a look. Psonar has a slightly different spin on music lockers. Like the other services I've covered, it requires you to download a free app, the Psonar SongShifter (Windows-only), which scans your computer and uploads your music collection to Psonar's cloud-based locker service.

But unlike the other services, it doesn't let you stream music from the locker to your mobile device. Instead, you have to add phones to your Psonar network by connecting them to your PC. Once you've done that, you can log into Psonar's Web site from any browser--including your phone's browser--and upload and download music between your devices and your Psonar cloud at will. Psonar claims that streaming isn't a great scenario on most phones anyway because it drains battery life, and notes that this Web-based approach lets it support any phone with a Web browser--even feature phones. At the same time, this doesn't really solve the problem of storage limits on mobile phones.

The Web site worked quite well for playing back uploaded music, but the SongShifter upload app was pretty buggy in my testing--I couldn't get it to display properly (the window didn't allow resizing), and it didn't recognize my iPhone, even after I connected it to my Windows XP laptop several times in several different ways (with iTunes running and closed, and with SongShifter running and closed). Nonetheless, you might want to give it a test yourself--the current version of the service is free and lets you connect three devices, so you don't have much to risk. Later this summer, Psonar intends to release a Premium version of the service that will let you connect unlimited devices, at a price of $6 a month.
 

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