Joining the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple, Best Buy quietly released the new Best Buy Music Cloud service Wednesday -- to widespread derision.
The service works like the other recently launched "cloud" services, storing digital music files and playlists on servers that can be accessed anywhere. A free Lite version lets you listen to only the first 30 seconds of a song; the $3.99 Premium version works more or less like other packages.
And most reviewers find the officially unannounced software to be -- well, a work in progress.
PCMag.com's Mark Hachman suggested skipping it completely until Best Buy reworks it:
"I ... found the software inflexible, and painful, and with some odd design decisions, to boot. The worst choice? For now, you're restricted to listening to 30-second samples of your own songs."
PC World's Brennon Slattery agreed, titling his article "Best Buy Joins Cloud Music Locker Business, Poorly." Time magazine had similar thoughts, comparing the company's preliminary foray in the online music business to the stumbling work of "a blind oaf."
CNET's review is somewhat politer, merely stating "clearly, Best Buy needs to fine-tune its new service before it can go head-to-head against the likes of Amazon and Apple."
The company has yet to formally announce the service, although a blog post on its Everything Mobile site walks the user through it -- a description written by an employee who "freely admits that the music download craze has passed me by."
The software is available for Apple, PC, and Android the company says, and is powered by Catch Media's Play Anywhere software. But the early reviews suggest you wait for a more streamlined, future version.