Print 21 comment(s) - last by Smilin.. on Mar 30 at 7:22 PM

Amazon beats Apple, Google, to streaming music service

Apple and Google are both preparing their own cloud-based storage services for multimedia files, but Amazon today beat them both to the punch with Cloud Drive. Cloud Drive allows users to stream/upload music to a PC, Mac, or Android smartphone.

Interestingly, iOS devices are left out of the mix with this first iteration of Cloud Drive, but this should come as no surprise given Amazon's close relationship with the Android platform. 

All of Amazon's customers get an instant 5GB of online storage for free. In addition, whenever a customer purchases an MP3 or album from Amazon's MP3 store, it is automatically saved to Cloud Drive (Amazon MP3 purchases do not count towards your storage count). Customers can then playback the music using the Cloud Player for PC/Mac or Android.

Likewise, music files can be uploaded to your Cloud Drive using the Cloud Player -- DRM-free MP3 and ACC files are supported. Although it appears that only music files can be played back using the Cloud Player, users can upload any kind of file they choose to the “digital locker” including movies, documents, and photos. 

"We're excited to take this leap forward in the digital experience," said Bill Carr, vice president of Movies and Music at Amazon. "The launch of Cloud Drive, Cloud Player for Web and Cloud Player for Android eliminates the need for constant software updates as well as the use of thumb drives and cables to move and manage music."

"Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices," Carr said. "Now, whether at work, home, or on the go, customers can buy music from Amazon MP3, store it in the cloud and play it anywhere." 

As an added bonus, Amazon customers are upgraded to 20GB of Cloud Drive space for free if they purchase an MP3 album (for example, purchase this cheesy Glee album for $0.69 and you'll be upgraded to the 20GB service for one year). You can read the complete FAQ for Cloud Drive here.

It’s quite sobering that these great new streaming services are being offered (or soon to be offered) by these large tech companies when at the same time service providers are trying to strangle customers with bandwidth caps. While uploading and streaming music from a desktop or notebook computer using your home broadband connection might not be enough to raise any flags, you may want to be careful about going crazy with this service on more limited mobile data plans.

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Past purchases
By nafhan on 3/29/2011 10:37:46 AM , Rating: 2
I'll have to check this out later today, but I wonder if it will automatically be populated with my prior Amazon MP3 purchases? I'm guessing no, but that would be awesome.
I'm also guessing that Apple will be offering a similar service VERY soon.

RE: Past purchases
By Brandon Hill on 3/29/2011 10:47:31 AM , Rating: 3
I just checked, and my past Amazon MP3 purchases don't show up. I guess it only works from this point forward.

RE: Past purchases
By nafhan on 3/29/2011 12:20:20 PM , Rating: 2
It would have been nice since I'm sure they have records of that stuff, but there's probably some licensing thing preventing it.

RE: Past purchases
By Aikouka on 3/29/2011 12:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
They do have records of all the digital purchases that you've made, but in regard to music, they do not allow you to download the file again. I've never liked that aspect of Amazon's music download service.

RE: Past purchases
By nafhan on 3/29/2011 1:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds like as long as you have your purchased music go to your cloud drive, you'll be able to re-download, anything you purchase from here on out.

RE: Past purchases
By GulWestfale on 3/30/2011 12:13:29 AM , Rating: 1
i really wonder if this works the same way with books?

if you want to try it out, buy one of mine :)

wonder how it will go
By darckhart on 3/29/2011 8:25:43 AM , Rating: 4
Sound great. Free. Purely as a streaming service for music I already own. Except data cap on ISP and data cap on wireless phone soo....

RE: wonder how it will go
By Homerboy on 3/29/2011 9:09:53 AM , Rating: 4
I was going to make a similar comment. Everything is going to/pushing "cloud based" now (enough with the buzz word please mega-corps). yet on the other end, all we are seeing is more and more capping of services.

We're finally getting services we want (streaming etc) and are unable to use them (capping). Thanks ISPs!

By bubbastrangelove on 3/29/2011 10:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
Could someone explain to a non-mp3 player connoisseur what advantages this will provide over current methods?

RE: Help
By SirKronan on 3/29/2011 11:09:30 AM , Rating: 2
I just purchased an album last night, and I was actually surprised when it didn't automatically download my files. With Amazon's MP3 downloader, typically you'd buy an album in the web browser of your choice, and then it automatically downloads and opens a special file in the MP3 downloader. It can simply download the DRM-free 256 variable bit rate MP3s to your hard drive, OR it can add them to your Windows Media or iTunes media library.

Now, you can have Amazon save your music to your 5GB cloud (which is strangely a promotional 20GB for the first year ...). Afterwards, you can download your MP3s to the computer or mobile device of your choice.

I updated Amazon MP3 downloader on my phone and it now supports this feature: cloud access.

All I can say is, WAY TO GO, Amazon. This is great service. I've always been pleased by their customer service over the years. This puts them over the top. It's been YEARS since I've purchased MP3s in iTunes. I don't see how people can still buy music in the iTunes store when much more attractive and often less costly alternatives such as Amazon MP3 exist. A free 5GB cloud drive is just icing on the cake, and a little slap in Apple's $20/year fee.

RE: Help
By bobgoh on 3/29/2011 3:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
Not everyone lives outside USA can buy music from Amazon. iTunes doesn't have that restriction.

RE: Help
By bubbastrangelove on 3/30/2011 10:07:24 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, people take their music a lot more seriously than I do. Cool man, enjoy!

Ongoing offer or one time deal?
By DanNeely on 3/29/2011 9:18:40 AM , Rating: 2
As an added bonus, Amazon customers are upgraded to 20GB of Cloud Drive space for free if they purchase an MP3 album (for example, purchase this cheesy Glee album for $0.69 and you'll be upgraded to the 20GB service for one year). You can read the complete FAQ for Cloud Drive here.

This could be a great deal, or a way to lure people in to a service that they'll have to pay real money to maintain after the 1st year is up depending on if the one album for capacity upgrade is kept available in the future.

By Chris Peredun on 3/29/2011 10:57:18 AM , Rating: 2
At a whole $0.69 to try it out for a year, I'm not exactly going to be stricken with grief if they pull the plug after a year's time.

It is more than 5GB
By SmCaudata on 3/29/2011 5:25:45 PM , Rating: 2
The Amazon site states the following:

"Plus, new purchases from the Amazon MP3 Store are stored for free and do not count against your storage quota."

This means if you rip all of your existing CDs in a format that will get you under the 20Gb promotion and upload them you are set for the life of the program because anything you purchase from Amazon does not count toward the limit.

This actually a really smart move on Amazon's part because it actually gives an advantage to the MP3 version. Prior to this, MP3 versions were lossy, did not have physical media, could not be redownloaded, and you still needed to store them somewhere. Now all the above are true, but the storage is free.

RE: It is more than 5GB
By SmCaudata on 3/29/2011 5:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
Edit: So the main article does point this out, but the other comments seemed to have missed it as I did on my first read through.

By Smilin on 3/30/2011 7:09:05 PM , Rating: 2
As usual, no love for Microsoft.

I mean c'mon you mention they beat Apple and Google to the market with it but...??

They offer this on WP7 (and did on Kin as well). Three years from now when someone bothers to notice they'll be labeled as a copycat who never innovates.

RE: Microsoft
By Smilin on 3/30/2011 7:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
Oh wait.. I guess MSFT didn't offer the same. They stream to Xbox, PC, and WP7 then offer full downloads to PC and WP7. WP7 downloads made while roaming then pop into your PC when you're in wireless range of it. The free 25GB cloud storage MS offers is for docs and any pictures you take with the phone (they upload to cloud automatically..and again jump to your pc if in wireless range, or if you access the cloud from said PC).

I won't be using this myself from Amazon but it sounds nifty. I use them for Kindle (on 2 kindles, 2 wp7 phones, and two PCs...whispersync rocks!). I rent movies from them sometimes but usually just use netflix or Zune (which does 1080p streaming).

Original point remains.. MSFT's cloud innovation is way ahead of the competition.

Live Mesh rocks if you haven't tried it btw. Best cloud app I've seen so far... The RIAA is gonna crap themselves once they figure out what it can be used for... peer-peer invite-only SSL tunnels don't make for much evidence.

By Jexel17 on 3/29/2011 4:53:10 PM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately you can't use the player outside the US.

Cloud Drive
By ratbert1 on 3/29/2011 8:08:12 AM , Rating: 2
I used to use Lala that would scan your music files at home and then let you stream any of your music from the cloud to a pc anywhere. Alas Apple bought them and shut the service down. I get most of my MP3 albums from Amazon, so this could replace that. It will be a pain if I have to upload all my stuff I already bought on Amazon.

By wrdegler on 3/29/2011 9:06:03 AM , Rating: 2
Now all we need is a syncing program to turn this into dropbox with a built in player and cheaper rates / GB.

I use dropbox and pay for the larger plan. This would cut my fee in half if I could sync my computers.

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