Amazon got the jump on Apple and Google this evening with the launch of a much-anticipated digital music locker service that allows users to store their music on the Web and then listen to their collections on computers with a Web browser or on Android devices.
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon Cloud Drive allows users to upload their digital music files at their original bit rate to Amazon servers for storage and playback on any Web-connected PC, Mac, or Android device, where ever they are.
"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," Bill Carr, vice president of Movies and Music at Amazon.com, said in a statement. "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."
Cloud Player for Web
The service's Cloud Player for Web allows customers to listen to their music on any computer running Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari for Mac, or Chrome. The Cloud Player of Android is a new version of the Amazon MP3 app and includes the full Amazon MP3 Store and the mobile version of Cloud Player. Customers can use the app to play music stored on their Cloud Drive and music stored locally on their device.
The Cloud Drive also allows customers to upload photos, videos, and documents, but those digital files are accessible only via a Web browser on a computer. Customers will automatically start with 5GB of free storage, upgradeable to 20GB with the purchase of an Amazon MP3 album. Additional storage space can be purchased in plans beginning at $20 per 20GB per year.
Amazon already has extensive experience with cloud services. Amazon stores electronic books on its servers for owners of the company's popular Kindle e-book reader. Kindle users can buy e-books from Amazon.com, download them to their devices from wherever they can access the Web, and Amazon will save the digital copy in the customer's digital locker.