Mar 29 AT 1:25 AM Clark Wimberly 35 Comments

Amazon unleashes Amazon Cloud Player, streaming music to the web and Android devices

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.

Music from the cloud

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?

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Show Press Release

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) –, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced the launch of Amazon Cloud Drive (, Amazon Cloud Player for Web ( and Amazon Cloud Player for Android ( 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.

Secure Storage

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.

Via: @enkrates

Source: Amazon

Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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  • Mike Leahy

    Glad to see this finally launch as I was beginning to wonder when it would ship. I was contracted to work on the Amazon MP3 v2.0 app rearchitecting the download architecture and adding cloud drive download support. It was “very interesting” being the only outside contractor / software architect level dev to be hired by A2Z / Amazon to work on core architecture for Amazon MP3. I finished my involvement mid-Feb. I’ve been bootstrapping for years and this recent Amazon MP3 contract has opened up enough runway for me to launch my Android platform / middleware tech soon called TyphonRT. Glad to be back working on my stuff and hope to see Amazon MP3 and the cloud services offered flourish.

    • http://Website Vladimir Kelman

      Congratulations on launching your application by Amazon!

  • Rajesh

    Looks amazing. But you forgot to mention:
    1) Cloud player is US only feature (sadly).
    2) The 20 GB upgrade is valid for an year after which it becomes a pay for feature (nothing to complain about really)!

    • Clark Wimberly

      1) Good catch!
      2) I said “includes a full year of 20GB storage with your first Amazon MP3 album purchase.” But like you said, even if it only lasts a year that’s still a pretty solid deal.

  • http://Website Mark

    Very, very nice. This will be more of a convenience app than a primary app as streaming constantly from a server will not only require a decent 3G or “4G” connection but will also be a heavy drain on the battery as opposed to playing your files locally on your device. Not to mention the stupid data caps that carriers are putting on supposed “Unlimited” data.

    • Mike Leahy

      In setup / preferences you can set things to only download when connected to wi-fi in addition streaming can be set for wi-fi only too to prevent undesired bandwidth usages. While testing / dev via 3G it was fairly easy to reach max carrier bandwidth caps as things go. Just thought I’d drop a comment mentioning the ability to filter by network connection. Also any downloads setup when wi-fi only is selected will still queue if on 3G and such and when wi-fi is reconnected downloads will proceed.

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    Congratulations to Amazon this only helps all of us and makes competition better between amazon and google. I am still waiting for google music regardless

  • http://Website Stainlessray

    Mspot is what I already use for streaming. I’m interested in Amazon and anyone else who offers this. The one to likely win my long term business will be the first one to offer streaming of my own video content as well as music.

  • http://Website Jarrod

    The app is simply BEAUTIFUL and works great!

  • http://Website james

    Why is the service u.s only? What ha amazon got against tthe reast of the world?

    If google follow this idiotic pattern of only letting the yanks play the people will start to de camp. We are a global community bow. Borders in technology just shouldnt exist.

    • Mike Leahy

      The service accessibility is essentially due to licensing issues with labels and what have you. I do believe some EU support will come in the next 6 months or so, but I’m out of the loop now.

  • http://Website larry michii

    awesome awesome. it works, original bitrate. combined with no data cap with sprint and i finally found a streaming solution that is simple and convenient. Plus your own music??? Apple would never allow that. I have never been disappointed with amazon. Prime customer for over a year plus the appstore and streaming video. Love it. Amazon rocks!!!!

  • http://Website Miguel

    I’ve never seen the value or usefulness in a service like this. If SD cards were expensive, I could see the fuss. But 16GB cards can be purchased for $15-30, which is more than enough space for a large library of MP3s. Just load all your music on there, and then you won’t be subjected to the data caps of your carrier, or a wifi signal, or 3G/4G signal where you are.. just to listen to YOUR OWN MUSIC.

    If your concerned about losing your phone and losing your music, then backup your SD card to your PC regularly. If you’re too lazy to do that then subscribe to a service like Lookout Security which automatically backs up your entire phone, including SD card, to a server for a nominal fee.

    Can someone explain to me why this service (or even Google’s service) trumphs any of the options I suggested?

    • Raj

      Miguel, look up an app called simplify/simplify music. This is what I am hoping google music will be, not just another music store. Currently it’s only available on iOS, which is a shame. It lets you stream your ENTIRE music library, all you do, on your pc, is tell it where your music is located and it automatically indexes your music.

      Then you get the app on your device, login and you can play anything from your music collection, whether it’s 5gb, 20gb or 600gb lol.

      Do want.

    • http://Website JaylanPHNX

      Those are exactly my thoughts. What’s the point other than to burn through data limits? If the cloud storage volume was larger than 32Gb, the largest micro SD cards, then there would be a point, but as it is, I would rather take those mp3s and put them on my SD card, saving data, battery, and effort.

    • http://Website slbailey1

      Foreget about the music streaming. When I want to listen to music I pull out my Zune HD. What I’m excited about the the availibilty of a simple and aforable cloud storage solution from the company I trust!! I’m going to get the 50gb plan for $50 per year to store all my files (music, pictures, ebooks, zip files, downloaded exes, documents, and etc) in case I loss my harddrive.

  • http://Website Robert

    Are you from Minnesota? I ask because you had Atmosphere on your player, I didn’t think people not from Minnesota listened to them.

    • Azeem

      MN readers represent! :-)

    • http://Website Chimpo

      You are naive to think that only people from Minnesota listen to Atmosphere. Slug has been on the scene for over 2 decades and tours the world. He is HUGE all over the midwest and known worldwide. Maybe you could have said that 10 years ago but he is far from underground anymore.

  • http://Website Brian Crockford

    Google still has a chance to one-up this service by offering a similar service in more countries. Here in Canada the Amazon MP3 app on my N1 is just a beckoning temptation to root.

    In the meantime, I’m looking into pulling my music from Dropbox instead.

  • Dave K

    Good to see some competition beginning to develop in the cloud-based music space.

    However, I have a QNAP NAS drive at home, and the QNAP Mobile app installed on my phone. With my entire music collection on my NAS, QNAP Mobile lets me stream all 35gb of my music to my phone for no additional charge. I’ve got my own cloud-based music service.

    • vkelman

      Audio Galaxy Android app and Windows application allows to stream from a computer as well.

    • http://Website GeauxLSU

      You can also do this with the DS Audio app for the Synology Diskstation NAS. They also have an app for viewing photos from your NAS as well.

  • http://Website Dan Schless

    I have two issues with Amazon’s Cloud Music offering.
    The first is the windows uploader – while you can add your own directories to be scanned there is no way to specify iTunes v WMP; I did not want both scanned. Also, it doesn’t seem to continually monitor for additions to the sources.
    Second, the android app doesn’t cache music that it has already played. Also, what happens when the network is spotty or non-existent?
    For now, I’ll stick with mSpot…

  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    iTunes just got owned. Google music right around the corner too. Android just gets better and better!

  • Andrew

    I like it, but I wish it worked through Google voice commands, and had a lock screen commands as well, that would be great. If it had those 2 things, that would be a killer app.

  • http://Website Clarence

    I think the people @ Google are smoking crack for #1 Allowing others to create stores on their own platform… I believe that they should be “open” to a point… and #2 Allowing this to happen…. At this rate they might as well close down the Market and partner with Amazon.

  • http://Website Miguel

    Another take on the service. Guy seems to agree with me.

    Meh.. I’ll save my 5GB T-Mobile pre-throttle bandwidth for cooler stuff like YouTube HQ and Pandora. When I want to play my own music… I’ll play it off my own SD Card, at no monthly charge forever.

    This service sort of reminds me of BYOB. You buy your own liquor, go to the strip club, hand them your liquor, and then pay them to pour it for you.

    • http://Website Clarence

      Where’s that strip club located

    • Mike Leahy

      @Miguel – I hope folks can also take a step back and just realize the user experience with Amazon MP3 app is simply better than all previous versions v1.8.x and below. Having to directly download music after purchase to one device and then connect a USB cable to shuffle MP3s around to other devices and a desktop box or whatever is kind of old school. Also the fact that for those who purchase music through the app (IE the only purpose it served before) can store these purchases for free not impacting the 5Gb Cloud Drive limit is great.

      Not withstanding the cloud drive service and how it will likely have integration points with several other Amazon services/apps… Does one need a music/file locker, does one care to U/L ones music or stream it? These are all relative I guess; some will / some won’t like that. For some folks it may work great. However the overall user experience hands down has improved with the Amazon MP3 app and irregardless if streaming or user based cloud storage is utilized the core feature of buying music from the Amazon MP3 app is way improved. I also think that this release is a first line of hopefully more advancements that come from the app and the larger Cloud Drive service. It was an evolutionary step that jumped the gap so to speak and I think the A2Z team in particular with Amazon MP3 will continue to improve the product much quicker now.. Revolutionary.. Not so much, but heading in a positive direction and breaking out of the old trajectory most definitely.

  • http://Website AmandaDiDo

    LOVE it!!! Amazon is kicking ass and I love that they are giving iTunes a run for their money. As soon as I found out about the Amazon MP3 store I immediately started getting all my music from there, and now I’m looking forward to transferring all of my music to the Amazon Cloud Drive. It will be so awesome to be able to access my whole music library from anywhere without having to carry my Andriod and my iPod. SWEET!!

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