Should I renew my MP3Tunes membership, or is there something better now?
March 17, 2008 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Should I renew my MP3Tunes membership, or is there something better now?

I've had an MP3Tunes locker since they were first offered.

I use the service mostly for offsite backup of my audio collection, but there are a couple of problems with that:

  • The MP3Tunes uploading utility, Oboe, has always been slow and crashy. And even if it were fast, 200GB of audio takes a long time to transfer.
  • I keep my collection in a well-groomed folder heirarchy that makes things easy to find. If I did need to restore my collection from MP3Tunes, I fear that I'd end up with 100k+ files in one folder.
  • The kludginess of Oboe has deterred me from uploading much of my collection. If I re-up for another year, I'll finish uploading it all, but I won't like it.

  • Is there a good option out there to replace my MP3Tunes account?

  • I want offsite backup of my audio files.
  • I want it to allow restoring the collection EXACTLY as it appears, with the folder tree intact.
  • I want a web interface that will allow me to play my files anywhere. (If "anywhere" includes Opera or IE on my PocketPC, so much the better.)
  • I want the upload utility to be fast and easy to use. If it's just an FTP login, I'd be tickled.
  • I want to pay a flat fee per year for, say, 250GB of space, or unlimited space (MP3Tunes claims to be unlimited). For something really fully-featured, I might be willing to pay $100/year.

  • I've already given hard drives with my data on them to an offsite friend, but I really like the web access utility of MP3Tunes. To be honest, I've been turned off of using Oboe for a while now, so if you're using MP3Tunes and you like it, by all means, re-convert me.

    (Sorry for my shitty HTML.)
    posted by SlyBevel to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
     
    Your issues with the Oboe uploader are not unique, and unfortunately, it sounds like they don't ever plan to address the issues it has with large collections; when I've filed support tickets about it's problems, their first suggestion to me is always to cancel my account and accept a refund from them.

    BUT, if you want 250gb of web-accessible media backup, there just isn't anyone with anything closer to that. I thought about trying to setup something myself using andromeda and my hosting plan at dreamhost, but they said since the media was going to be private data, it wouldn't work under my hosting plan that comes with "500gb of storage", I'd have to buy their data-backup plan, at $.20/gb/month.
    posted by nomisxid at 4:49 PM on March 17, 2008


    Thanks, nomisxid. I've heard about various new "online hard drive" services, and I'm hoping that a good one will present itself.

    Just for reference: 250GB @ $.20/GB x12 months = $600/year.
    posted by SlyBevel at 5:01 PM on March 17, 2008


    Check out Mozy Home at mozy.com. It's $4.95 per month for unlimited backup storage. It's all done online and will run in the background.

    It's not specifically for music, but that not necessarily a bad thing. You could use it to back up the rest of your PC as wells.

    It has all the features you request above, except while it does have a web interface, it doesn't allow you to "play" them anywhere. You could go in to the web console and request like, certain folders or something to be recovered, then download the contents of the folder like that, maybe?

    If anything, try Mozy unlimited first. It's free for up to 2GB so you can just backup a couple of specific directories to see how you like it.
    posted by andrewdunn at 5:05 PM on March 17, 2008


    I looked into Mozy a while back, and at the time I believe it required that you back THE WHOLE PC UP.

    My music is on a 1TB Server 2k3 RAID 5 array, so that's a suboptimal solution.

    BUT...if Mozy will let me choose what to back up now, that's definitely something to look at. And while $60/year is a little more than I'm paying now, it's certainly reasonable.
    posted by SlyBevel at 5:11 PM on March 17, 2008


    Strongly seconding Mozy. Great system.
    posted by socratic at 5:11 PM on March 17, 2008


    Mozy will skan your system and "suggest" which directories to back up. It's mainly stuff in the user directory (documents, pictures, etc). However, you can go in an tell it what directories to backup.

    As I said, give the unlimited a try on a couple directories and see if it works for you. I've been very happy with mozy.
    posted by andrewdunn at 5:56 PM on March 17, 2008


    My better-half uses Mozy. She had a drive go south on her once and needed everything back, only there were some problems with what she was able to retrieve... I forget the details of why things weren't working, but Mozy customer service was awesome, sending admins into their deep archives to locate previous versions of her backups and hand-pack ZIPs for her or something. Um, ok, so the part where something didn't work well isn't a great story, but the part where they make it all better is good. Props to Mozy, however they make it work.
    posted by mumkin at 5:58 PM on March 17, 2008


    JungleDisk can be mounted as a drive. That makes it a little bit better than Mozy for your purpose, since you could play your music directly off of that drive.

    JungleDisk gets more expensive than mozy beyond 33 gigs.
    posted by gmarceau at 8:43 PM on March 17, 2008


    From Michael Robertson of MP3Tunes:

    # The MP3Tunes uploading utility, Oboe, has always been slow and crashy. And even if it were fast, 200GB of audio takes a long time to transfer.

    200gbs is an enormous amount of data. It's simply going to take a long time to transfer. This really isn't MP3tunes issue. It's laws of physics at work. As for Oboe crashing we now call Oboe LockerSync so maybe he has an older version? We actually track daily crash rates the last week is 0.79%. I wish it were lower but that's not a high number giving the complexity and numbers of the files we are moving. And nearly all these crashes are related to massive (100gb+) music lockers where even moving around file listings is a huge task.

    # I keep my collection in a well-groomed folder heirarchy that makes things easy to find. If I did need to restore my collection from MP3Tunes, I fear that I'd end up with 100k+ files in one folder.

    Sounds like he simply wants raw storage not a ubiquitous music experience which is what we're trying to offer at MP3tunes. 200gbs is really not a listenable size locker. That's really more a hobby collector. MP3tunes may not be the right solution for him. The features we have are designed to make sure your music is everywhere and you can experience it with one click in an interactive way.

    There are several features that are very unique to MP3tunes that you won't get with a simple file backup solution:

    - Play all your files from any web page
    - Stream your music to your Tivo, Wii, any net radio device like those from Logitech, Reciva and Terratec without a PC.
    - Sync your music to any PC/Mac/Linux computer so you always have a consistent music experience
    - Automatic sync (this is a brand new feature our beta testers are testing right now) so with zero user intervention all the devices connected to your locker stay in sync.
    - Playmix - this automatically creates playlists matching any mood or source song you identify. It's incredible way to experience your music collection.

    posted by rhizome at 8:44 PM on March 17, 2008


    Wow, a direct response from Robertson. rhizome, I need to make more of your kinds of contacts.

    Yeah, so that kind of confirms what I've been thinking...I've outgrown MP3Tunes. I'll be looking into Mozy, and I hope that a better solution is recommended here.
    posted by SlyBevel at 9:29 PM on March 17, 2008


    ...But I guess part of my issue is that I do want the ubiquitous music experience that MP3Tunes offers.

    Get it? I just want it all. Is that so much to ask?
    posted by SlyBevel at 9:32 PM on March 17, 2008


    200gbs is really not a listenable size locker

    So the "unlimited space" advertised on the home page is actually, well, limited?
    posted by kirkaracha at 9:47 AM on March 18, 2008


    So the "unlimited space" advertised on the home page is actually, well, limited?

    I'm pretty sure that Robertson's comment is in reference to the fact that 200GB of audio is measured in years of listening, not minutes, hours, or even days.

    I think his point is that even if you uploaded all of that, you'd probably never hear it all accessed from your locker.

    My counterpoint to that would be that what I specifically listen to (and how much of it) is irrelevant. The access to any part of it at any time, as advertised, is what's important.
    posted by SlyBevel at 11:45 AM on March 18, 2008


    200GB of audio is measured in years of listening, not minutes, hours, or even days.

    You are probably correct about that. Using my own library as a baseline, 200GB of music measures out to being 2,550 hours—about 106 24-hour days—of listening. More realistically, it's 7 hours a day for a year, no days off. You'd have to be pretty damned dedicated.
    posted by mumkin at 1:08 PM on March 18, 2008


    ...Add to that the fact that much of my audio is not music. I'm an avid audio book collector. I do most of my own ripping, and I rip the audio books to a much lower bit rate than I do music...the result of which is that a GB suddenly goes much, much further.
    posted by SlyBevel at 1:33 PM on March 18, 2008


    I'm pretty sure that Robertson's comment is in reference to the fact that 200GB of audio is measured in years of listening, not minutes, hours, or even days.

    So what? Who builds a music library that they only plan to listen to for days, months, or even a year? Advertising something as unlimited and then actually having limits is pretty shady. It's like a sketchy commercial on The Simpsons. "Unlimited Music Storage! (Includes limits.)"
    posted by kirkaracha at 4:43 PM on March 18, 2008


    Also, I note that upgrading to the Premium Locker gives you "larger music files" and "unrestricted album cover art." Is there some difference between "limits" and "restrictions" I'm missing?
    posted by kirkaracha at 4:50 PM on March 18, 2008


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