: Amazon has launched a fully working music locker and playback system this week. The cloud system allows users to upload digital music to the Web and play it on their computers and Android phones, giving Amazon a decided edge over its rivals. "Amazon has won the race of the big three to deliver a fully cloud-supported music option," writes Tech Crunch's MG Siegler. Why the Hype:
What's the News
Dubbed "Cloud Drive," Amazon's cloud storage service not only stores music, but also videos, photographs, and other documents.
Users receive the storage space equivalent of 1,200 tracks (5GB), though you can upgrade, paying as much as $1,000 for 1 TB of storage space, enough for about 70 hours of HD video.
Amazon provides free storage for every album purchased via Amazon MP3.
You'll also get 20 free gigabytes for a year when you buy an album on Amazon MP3.
The playback service is called "Cloud Player," and according to TechCrunch, "will let people listen to, download and make playlists from the music they store on Cloud Drive from any Web browser or from an app on Android devices." It also works with Blackberry and Palm mobiles.
What's the Context:
As Amazon music director Craig Pape told the New York Times, “The functionality is the same as an external hard drive," which means that Amazon's service is similar to other cloud music companies like AudioBox and mSpot. The major achievement here is that Amazon is the first heavyweight in the ring.
This launch comes on the heals of Amazon's recent App Store launch.
Not So Fast:
Amazon's cloud service doesn't stream music to iOS devices, which means you won't see it on your iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. (You can download music to iOS devices---not nearly as smooth an interface.)
Although Cloud Player works on Chrome, Safari IE 8 and above, and Firefox 3.5 and above, it doesn't work on Opera.
It's only for U.S. users right now.
And you can't use mobile devices to upload music.
Next Up: Amazon may be first, but it's not going to be the only major company with cloud music storage for long: Both Apple and Google are expected to launch their own locker systems soon. Image: Amazon