AudioBox.fm, an online streaming service which lets you access your music collection via the cloud, has today released its highly anticipated native iPhone application. With the new app, you can organize your files by playlist, artist, genre or album and stream them directly to your mobile device. You can also scrobble your played tracks over to Last.fm and, on devices running iOS 4.0, you can listen to music in the background while multitasking.
Oh, and it's free.
AudioBox: A "Cloud iTunes" (for Android, Too)
AudioBox.fm, founded in 2009, started making the rounds in the blogosphere back in February of this year. The free, cloud-based service lets you upload your files to the company's secure servers for access from any device that has an Internet connection and a Web browser.
Included with the service is AudioBox's online music player, which looks strikingly like Apple's iTunes software. Here, you can create and manage playlists, search for songs by artist, title or genre, shuffle songs and more.
Previously, the company had only offered a native Android application and its HTML 5-enabled website, the latter being the only way iPhone and iPod Touch users could take advantage of this service. But now, with the new native iPhone application, users can upload up to 1 GB of music to the cloud for free. If upgrading, it's only $3.99 per month for 11 GB, $7.99 for 26 GB or $9.99 for 151 GB. The subscription service is commitment-free as well, allowing you to unsubscribe at any time.
Twitter and Facebook, and, for those with paid levels of service, it lets you browse and add YouTube videos to your Playlists and access files stored on Dropbox. (Support for Amazon Web Services is coming soon.)Also notable is AudioBox's integration with other cloud-based and social services, something it called "AudioMashes." In addition to the support for Last.fm scrobbling as noted above, it also allows you post what you're listening to via
Music Heads to the Cloud... Where's Apple?
The trend of Web-based music services is gathering momentum, thanks to a number applications now growing in popularity, including Spotify (still awaiting its official U.S. launch), MP3tunes, and MOG, to name a few of our favorites.
The elephant in the room, of course, is Lala.com, a popular cloud-based streaming service acquired by Apple in December 2009. Rumor (or perhaps hope?) has it that Apple will re-launch Lala as its own cloud-based offering in order to compete with the scores of up-and-comers now available in its own iTunes App Store. How well any of these startups will fare once (if?) Apple enters the room is anybody's guess, but AudioBox's rallying cry of "one platform to rule them all" - referring to its ability to integrate other cloud services - not to mention its cross-platform support for devices like Android makes it a compelling alternative to whatever Apple may or may not launch in some unknown future.