While the rest of us have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of upcoming Google Music, Amazon has been sitting around twirling their mustache going Yes, yesssss. Unleashed a couple of hours ago, Amazon Cloud Player allows users to stream a library of 5GB (upgradeable to 20GB) of music to the web and Android devices, all for free.
The entire thing is powered by Amazon Cloud Drive (seriously, how much more awesome can Amazon’s cloud offerings get?!), an online storage locker for files of all types. The part that’s specifically relevant here though, are the music files- and Amazon Cloud Player can handle MP3 and AAC purchased from the Amazon store, from iTunes, or from your own computer.As I write this, I’ve got the new Amazon MP3 Uploader running on my home machine, uploading 630 of my favorite tracks. It’s an Adobe Air application that scans iTunes and Windows Media Player for playlists and lets you manually browse folders to find music for upload. The upload’s only chugged through a couple of albums at this point but the process has been pretty painless so far.
As mentioned, the Amazon Cloud Drive gives users 5GB of storage to start, but includes a full year of 20GB storage with your first Amazon MP3 album purchase. If you’re looking for even more space they’ve got a full range of expandable options and pricing, but at this point it looks like the smart move is to just purchase an album and score a cool 20GB.
The app itself is pretty simple (and solid). The whole thing has been rolled into the Amazon MP3 app. When you first launch, you’re presented with a simple choice: Store or Player. The player lets you play the music in your Cloud Drive and on your device and the store lets you purchase songs directly into your Cloud Drive or right onto your device. The entire process is amazingly smooth and the music streaming sounds pretty solid. Amazon is even streaming the music at the original bit rate, providing completely better playback quality than some other services I’ve tried in the past.
The player provides persistent play controls that follow you to any screen in the app allowing seamless playback as you browse. Some of the graphics didn’t quite look ready for prime time on my high-res Nexus S but overall it’s an impressive first launch (well, second launch, this is technically Amazon MP3 2.0).
If you’re interested, you can hit the market link and QR code above, check out our handful of screen captures below, or see the full Amazon press release below that. Also, I gotta ask: what do you guys think of all this? Does Amazon have a bunch of your MP3′s headed their way?
Introducing Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon Cloud Player for Web, and Amazon Cloud Player for Android
Buy anywhere, play anywhere and keep all your music in one place
Start with 5 GB of free Cloud Drive storage – upgrade to 20 GB free with purchase of any MP3 album
SEATTLE, Mar 29, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) –
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced the launch of Amazon Cloud Drive (www.amazon.com/clouddrive), Amazon Cloud Player for Web (www.amazon.com/cloudplayer) and Amazon Cloud Player for Android (www.amazon.com/cloudplayerandroid). Together, these services enable customers to securely store music in the cloudand play it on any Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC, wherever they are. Customers can easily upload their music library to Amazon Cloud Drive and can save any new Amazon MP3 purchases directly to their Amazon Cloud Drive for free.
“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.”
Store Music for Free
Customers automatically start with 5 GB of Cloud Drive storage to upload their digital music library, and those who purchase an Amazon MP3 album will be upgraded to 20 GB of Cloud Drive space. New Amazon MP3 purchases saved directly to Cloud Drive are stored for free and do not count against a customer’s storage quota.
Adding Music to Cloud Drive
Amazon’s easy uploading process makes it simple for customers to save their music library to their Cloud Drive. Files can be stored in AAC or MP3 formats and will be uploaded to Cloud Drive in the original bit rate. Customers can hand-pick particular songs, artists, albums or playlists to upload or simply upload their entire music library.
Cloud Player for Web
Customers who have a computer with a Web browser can listen to their music. Cloud Player for Web currently supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari for Mac, and Chrome. Cloud Player for Web lets customers easily manage their music with download and streaming options. Customers don’t need to worry about regularly updating software on their computer to enjoy music, and Amazon MP3 customers can continue to use iTunes and Windows Media Player to add their music to their iPods and MP3 players.
Cloud Player for Android
Cloud Player for Android is now bundled into the new version of the Amazon MP3 App; it 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. Features include the ability to search and browse by artist, album or song, create playlists and download music from Cloud Drive.
Customers never need to worry about losing their music collection to a hard drive crash again. Files are securely stored on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and each file is uploaded to Cloud Drive in its original bit rate. Customers can buy music anywhere and know that their MP3s are safely stored in Cloud Drive and accessible from any device.
Store More than Music
Cloud Drive allows customers to upload and store all kinds of digital files; music, photos, videos and documents can be stored securely and are available via web browser on any computer. In addition to the 5 GB of free storage, customers can purchase storage plans starting at $20 a year for 20 GB.