For maybe the past year or so I’ve been searching far and wide for some sort of relatively easy way to synchronize two iTunes libraries, one at home and one at the office. I could use something unixy like rsync but iTunes has to be quit to make sure the library xml file is actually updated properly. That’s doable but not ideal. There’s also iPod.iTunes which uses your iPod as a go-between medium. That looks pretty featureful and would probably do the job if not for the fact that my iPod is full.
So, when I heard about MP3tunes.com, I was excited. It’s basically a music backup service with unlimited disk space. It has an iTunes plugin (it’s actually just an application that sort of behaves like a plugin) that facilitates syncing your library to and from the server and it also lets you stream your library from the server using the iTunes plugin or their own custom web interface. In theory this all sounds perfect so when I was offered a deal to get in on the fun for half normal price (half of $39.95 per year) I decided to do it! (Note that they also have a free account but it doesn’t do this iTunes syncing so is mostly useless to me).
First the good:
- It pretty much does work as advertised.
- half price is probably worth it, but full price might not be.
- the online player is pretty good but kinda slow
- It’s neat to have access to all of my music from anywhere!
Now the bad:
- I actually already had access to all of my music from anywhere via slimserver.
- The upload speed is sloooooow. It took like a week of straight uploading on my 768k uplink to get my 40GB of music on the server. I haven’t done the math but it seems like that’s slow.
- The sync application is buggy and the cache has to be reset from time to time during the upload process. It just errors out sometimes and that’s the fix.
- The iTunes ‘plugin’ seemingly requires that you re-login on each launch. That’s not ideal.
- And here’s the biggie for me… It’s not a true two-way sync. It can detect changes made on your computer and upload those to the server but it cannot remove files that no longer exist on your computer. In practice this means that if you update a bunch of meta tags (like if you add album art work or something), it will re-upload all of those files creating duplicates on the server. Agh! You have to manually remove the changed files from the server before doing another Oboe sync. I asked them if they have plans to fix that and they said, ‘No’. Weird!
Update April 18, 2007: After my first year of mp3tunes.com service I decided to not renew, even though they extended the same half price offer I got for the first year. After fighting with it off and on for the first few months I ended up hardly ever using it and have probably not used it once in the last 4 or 5 months now. None of the features worked the way I had hoped and it didn’t do what I hoped it would.