Amazon Cloud Player - Your Music Everywhere

Category: Music

Amazon Cloud Player is a digital music storage and streaming service brought to you by Amazon.com. Your music collection is stored online in Amazon’s cloud servers, and the Cloud Player app lets you manage and play them whether you’re at home or on the go. Here’s how it works...

What is Amazon Cloud Player?

Forget about loading up your iPod or smartphone with your favorite tunes before you head off to the gym. Forget about the nuisance of keeping your music collection in sync will all your desktop computers, laptop and mobile devices.

Users of the Amazon Cloud Player service can enjoy their music on many mobile devices, including Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android devices and any web browser. Soon, the Roku streaming player and the Sonos wireless home entertainment system will support Cloud Player, too.

When Cloud Player debuted in March, 2011, users had to upload their music files to Amazon’s Cloud Drive service. But now, Cloud Player’s “cloud match” will scan your devices for music files and match them against Amazon’s licensed inventory of 20 million tunes. Matches are automatically added to your Cloud Player account without any uploading. This also spares Amazon the cost of storing duplicate files; one licensed copy can serve many users. You can still upload a music file that is not in Amazon’s library.
Amazon Cloud Player

Cloud Player supports up to ten devices per user account. You can listen to any of your tunes on any device you own, and you don’t have to worry about keeping them all in sync or running out of storage space. And in case you were wondering, Cloud Player will scan your iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries for matches. If you've got music files on your hard drive (even tracks ripped from CDs) chances are good that it will find them. For matched files, you get 256 Kbps sound (geekspeak for high quality audio) even if your source files were of lower quality.

There are free and paid versions of Cloud Player. The free version lets you store up to 250 songs that you did not purchase through Amazon, plus an unlimited number of Amazon purchases. For just $24.99 per year, you can store and stream up to 250,000 non-Amazon songs, plus all Amazon purchases.

Other Whales in the Fish Tank

Apple iTunes Match is similar to Cloud Player. Of course, iTunes Match works on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and Macs. It doesn’t work on Android devices, but it can be used on a PC with a Web browser. Apple’s licensed library contains 28 million tunes. There is no free option. $24.99 per year lets you store and stream up to 25,000 songs; iTunes purchases don’t count against that limit. Up to ten devices are supported per iTunes account.

Google Play is another Cloud Player and iTunes competitor. Users can upload up to 20,000 of their songs to Google Play storage, free of charge. Songs purchased through Google Play do not count against that limit. Google Play supports Android phones and tablets, desktop browsers, and any device that can make use of Adobe Flash. Note: iOS devices (iPod, iPhone, iPad) don’t support Flash. Music is only part of Google Play, which also sells movies, e-books, and other digital content.

A Solution in Search of a Problem?

So, are users rushing to move their music collections to the cloud? None of the three companies mentioned here has released any numbers, but market research firm The NPD Group estimates that only six per cent of Internet users have tried a cloud-based music storage and streaming service.

The benefits seem pretty clear. You don’t have to load all your music on every computer or portable device you own. If you purchase a new song, it’s automatically synced to all your devices. If you buy a new device, your music is already there in the cloud, waiting to be streamed on demand. If you lose your gadget, you don’t lose all your music.

But on the flipside we have streaming Internet radio services like Slacker and Pandora (see Internet Radio http://askbobrankin.com/internet_radio.html and Free Radio Apps For Your Smartphone http://askbobrankin.com/radio_apps_for_your_smartphone.html). I’ve pretty much abandoned my iTunes music collection in favor of Slacker, because it offers greater variety and a fresher selection of music.

Are you using Amazon Cloud Player or a similar service to manage your music collection? Tell me why! Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Amazon Cloud Player - Your Music Everywhere"

Posted by:

John
10 Aug 2012

I do not listen to music from my phone or my tablet. Also after the plane takes off I cannot hear my music because it is not there!

EDITOR'S NOTE: You don't mention which cloud service you use, but you can cache songs locally on your device, for listening when you're not able to get an internet connection.


Posted by:

Jen
10 Aug 2012

I've been using the Amazon Cloud for about a year now. I *love* it. My music follows me everywhere I go... in the car, on my jog, at my job, at home. The only downside is if you are somewhere (camping for example) where you don't have a good connection. In this instance, I manually choose to download some songs to my device so that in those few and far between situations I can still listen to some music directly from my device.

I haven't tried the other services you mentioned, but I'm loving the Amazon Cloud.


Posted by:

Mike
10 Aug 2012

My daughter uses the Cloud Player service and loves it for her iPhone and computer. She gets virtually all of her music thru iTunes. However, I am reluctant to convert and take the hit against data service charges when I am not connected to my home (or other) wireless network on my iPhone. As a user of a monster memory iPod, it still needs to be physically synced to the computer to add music. I'm not seeing much advantage to the cloud at this point. Perhaps I'm not the sweet spot of the target market, or need to correct my misunderstanding of how things work.


Posted by:

Jim Kniskern
10 Aug 2012

You did not mention my favorite, AOL (yes, that oldie), because of the wide variety on its "Radio". I am particularly fond of Jobim and Latin Jazz. Just finished enjoying the likes of Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd and Toots Thielemans - many tracks no longer available elsewhere.


Posted by:

Jim
12 Aug 2012

I love when they try to offer me free uploads of songs. All of my music "songs" are 70-250 minute sets of nonstop electronic music recorded live from Danceclubs all over the world, now I hope that they let me pick which 250 'songs' I can upload to Amazon for free, because I will not use it if they try to pick only the smallest mp3 files on my computer, I am trying it out now to see if they let me upload my DJ mix tapes to the cloud. Also, they can try that Caching crapola with my music, because most of these mixsets are unique, so nobody else will have them, Spotify and ITunes Match have already sent me cease and desist notices, lets see how Amazon Handles It.
Thanks for the info, I love making these big corporations regret offering free storage.


Posted by:

Adrian
13 Aug 2012

Hi Bob,

I've been trying Google Cloud. Not loving it. Likes: Use from multiple sources, and I have home laptops, work laptops, android cells, (also iphone but not yet tried the cloud). Dislikes: Most often listen to cloud from work laptop, but it does not always load 'my music'. I read could store up to 20,000 songs, but it tells me I have 1.5g space left, even though I've only loaded 1000 songs, way short of supposed limit.


Posted by:

Adrian
17 Aug 2012

Bob,

CORRECTION - the song limit I mentioned was on one of my droids, not Google Cloud.


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