MOG and Lala. Today, we came across Bitspace, an online music player and backup service for your music files that puts an interesting new spin on this subject. This service stands out because of its great design and the fact that it's fully based on HTML5.There is no dearth of streaming music services on the web today, so it takes quite a bit for a new service to stand out from other popular services like Spotify,
Given its reliance on HTML5, Bitspace currently only works with Webkit-based browsers like Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome (Internet Explorer users can, of course, use Google's Chrome Frame plugin). Firefox's implementation of the HTML5 audio tag currently only works with Ogg Vorbis files and does not support playing MP3 files yet.
Uploading and Playing Your Music
Uploading files to Bitspace is fairly straightforward. You can either pick and choose files through the service's web interface, or, if you are a Mac user, you can also use the company's OSX client. Bitspace uses Amazon's storage services for saving your files. The service can import and play most common audio file formats, including MP3, MP4, OGG, WMA and FLAC.
What's currently missing, however, is an easy way to upload larger batches of files. While you can upload multiple MP3 files simultaneously, you can't pick multiple directories, which slows the upload process down quite a bit.
The central focus of Bitspace is obviously the music player. Here, you can organize your tracks by artist, album name, label and year. In addition, you can also manage your playlists here. The minimalist design of the app is one of the highlights of the service The design puts a lot of emphasis on album artwork and makes very good use of HTML5 and the new features it affords developers. Bitspace also integrates with Last.fm and allows you to sync your scrobbles from Bitspace.
Paid Accounts (No Free Accounts for Now)
Bitspace currently offers three different types of paid accounts: basic (limited to 10GB, or the equivalent of 200 albums and 2,000 tracks for 3.99/month), standard (limited to 25GB for 3.99/month) and premium (limited to 50GB for 14.99/month). Sadly, the free accounts (with a limit of 500 MB) are currently invite-only and you will have to sign up for the service and whip out your credit card (though with a free 30 day trial) if you want to test Bitspace.
Update: we originally reported that Bitspace limited users to a certain number of tracks and albums. This is not the case. Bitspace only enforces the limit on disk space.
Other services, including Lala, also offer similar streaming music services that allow you to upload your music to the cloud. Lala's big advantage over Bitspace is that it's offering its service for free and doesn't cap its users' uploads. Given that Lala has been acquired by Apple, though, the service's future remains unclear.
Compared to Lala, Bitspace is definitely the prettier service and it's reliance on open web-standards is commendable. Even though the service offers a 30-day trial, the fact that you do have to enter your credit card information or PayPal credentials when signing up will surely keep quite a few potential users from giving it a try (though the prices for the paid accounts are quite fair).
It's important to remember that these are still the early days for Bitspace and the company's co-founder Niklas Holmgren tells us that Bitspace is also working on mobile apps and integrating more social networks into the service.