Earlier today we introduced Amazon’s new Cloud Player which lets you play MP3s from your Amazon account in your web browser or via the updated Amazon MP3 app for Android.
In the video below I’ll walk you through the updated user-interface, finding and buying an album, and saving the album into my Amazon Cloud Drive. The process is smooth, quick and intuitive, but that’s only half of what the updated app can do. New in this version is the ability to stream music from your Cloud Drive onto your Android-powered device or to an internet connected web-browser.
The streaming works extremely well over Wi-Fi, and I only noticed a few hiccups when streaming over T-Mobile‘s 3G. You’re given 5GB of free storage in your Cloud Drive to begin with. Songs that you purchase via Amazon’s MP3 store don’t count against your cloud storage quota, so you can still upload 5GB of your own MP3s as well. For the time being, if you purchase an MP3 album Amazon will send you an email with the opportunity to upgrade from 5GB to 20GB for free, for the first year. (It would be great if they made the “free 20GB” perpetually free, as long as you purchase at least one album per year.)
If you’d like to upload your music collection to the web, you can do so using their Adobe Air app, which is available from your Cloud Drive administration page. Uploads take a little while, but the upload tool is fairly gentle on your broadband connection.
Like we mentioned in the previous article, this service is currently only available for users in the United States. Even with the limited audience, record studios are already up in arms. According to a Reuters report, Sony Music’s spokeswoman Liz Young says her company was “upset by Amazon’s decision to launch the service without new licenses for music streaming”. Apparently it’s okay for Amazon to sell you an MP3 that you download and store on your computer, and can copy to your various devices, but the studios don’t like that you can “stream” it to your devices over the web, without “downloading” it.
Amazon says they’re working on obtaining new “streaming” licences. Perhaps Amazon can get around the need for the new licensing agreements by simply downloading the MP3s to the device (and deleting them once listened to to save space). Android already allows for playing of a partially downloaded MP3 file, so the experience could be almost identical to “streaming” but, in theory, wouldn’t require any additional licensing.
Then again, maybe the studios could realize that this isn’t “piracy” and embrace what their distribution partners are doing.
One can hope!
(Stephen Schenck contributed to this article)