Best Buy preps own cloud music service

Best Buy is set to launch its own cloud-based music playing and storage service.

The retailer will join Amazon, Google, and Apple in the group of tech titans that have recently introduced similar music platforms.

It’s called Best Buy Music Cloud and will require users to have an iTunes playlist. Users can upload their library from Apple’s music software, and then play that music back on a Web-based player, as well as apps to be released on Android, Blackberry, and iPhone/iPad.

Best Buy hasn’t officially launched the service yet, but interested early adopters have been able to test it out, largely with tepid reviews.

The Amazon Cloud Player may be Best Buy’s Music Cloud’s biggest competitor, in large part because Amazon’s MP3 store is growing in popularity and the cloud service is free except for extraordinarily high-capacity users.

Digital Times reports that Best Buy’s option, in contrast, will require users to pay $3.99 a month. There is a free version of the service, but according to the publication, that version limits song playback to just 30 seconds per track.

So, the monthly fee and the requirement to have an iTunes playlist are dampening interest in Best Buy’s entry into this space.

Of course, the retailer will have the advantage of using its stores to promote it as much as possible, and could offer promotions like free subscriptions to the premium service with new MP3 player purchases.

The cloud is still a new frontier for the digital music industry, so it remains to be seen what kind of strategy will work the best.