In an unexpected move, internet retail giant Amazon has announced the first cloud-based music storage service. With the Amazon Cloud Player, anyone with an Amazon account can upload legal and/or illegal MP3s to their Amazon Cloud Drive and stream them from any web browser or device running Google Android. Additionally, you can download uploaded files, including photos, videos, documents... anything. You start with 5GB of free storage. Purchasing an MP3 album via Amazon gets you an additional 20GB. More space is available for $1/1GB/year, and purchases made through Amazon’s MP3 store don’t infringe on your space.
While smaller services do exist (e.g. mSpot and Audiobox), Amazon is the first large company to venture into this area, although there have been rumors of an Apple cloud-based version of iTunes since it purchased online music service Lala in 2009. Google is also suspected to be testing a similar “locker”-type storage system.
But while Apple and Google have been navigating the legal implications of such a service, Amazon has conveniently skirted the issue of copyright protection. Says Craig Pape, Amazon director of music: “We don’t need a license to store music. The functionality is the same as an external hard drive.” The future is now.