Amazon threw the music world an utterly unexpected and killer curveball last night in the form of Amazon Cloud Player,
a new music streaming service build right into the Amazon MP3 Android
app and Amazon.com itself. The Cloud Player would be cool all by itself,
but the kicker is the Cloud Drive, a free storage outlet for your
personal music collection (or any other files you want to cram in there)
to the tune of five gigabytes.
is directly tied into your Amazon account and any music purchases you
make. As an added bonus, the songs you download from Amazon’s MP3 store
going forward won’t count toward your 5GB or 20GB storage
limitation--they’ll be stored for free. After that year of free storage
at the 20GB level, Amazon will either extend the promotion or (more
likely) ask for some cash for storing all your junk in a system with
reported 99.999999999% file durability.
All of Amazon’s price tiers are a buck a gig--an annual $20 for 20
gigabytes, $50 for gigabytes, on up to 500GB for $500 and 1000GB for
Cloud Player and Cloud Drive
use a flash-based web interface for playing music and
uploading/managing files. It seems odd that there currently isn’t a
large button switching you between the two interfaces, but the
interfaces are unsurprisingly similar. Using the Amazon MP3 Downloader
in conjunction with the Cloud Player is the fastest way to upload music
en masse, while Cloud Drive gives you a Flash upload dialogue and
default folders for music/photos/docs etc.
that music is securely in Amazon’s cloud storage, it’s streamable to an
Android device via the Amazon MP3 app. iOS compatibility is a murkier
issue--while Cloud Player can play music just fine in browsers that have
Flash disabled, it won’t play in the iPhone’s browser. And since there’s no Amazon MP3 app on iOS--Apple wouldn’t take too
kindly to that--the current workaround is to download the songs via the
Cloud Player and listen to them that way. Amazon seems to be blocking mobile
Safari--does that mean Apple has a music locker of its own to show off this summer? With a solid web app and Android support in place on day one, Amazon's cloud services offer an incredible value at the best price: free. Let's see if they follow up with improved iOS support and a desktop app for Cloud Drive. Our dream feature? Dropbox integration.