Amazon Beats Google, Apple in Launching Cloud Music Storage Server

12:40 PM PST 03/29/2011 by Glenn Peoples, Billboard

People can now remotely access their digital music collections from connected devices.

NASHVILLE — Amazon has beaten Google and Apple to the punch by launching a cloud music storage service that will allow people to remotely access their digital music collections from connected devices.

Called Cloud Drive, the service is integrated into both the Web store and the Amazon's MP3 store app for Android devices (the app must be updated to use Cloud Drive). People can use either option to upload their collection to Amazon's servers or add to their cloud-based collections by purchasing digital music from Amazon.
Shares of Amazon was up more than 3 percent in late trading Tuesday, but Cloud Drive might push the company into legal gray area.
Sony Music, home to artists such as Shakira and Kings of Leon, was upset by Amazon’s decision to launch the service without new licenses for music streaming, spokeswoman Liz Young said.
 
"We hope that they’ll reach a new license deal," Young told Reuters, “but we’re keeping all of our legal options open."
Responded Amazon director of music Craig Pape: “We don’t believe we need licenses to store the customers’ files. We look at it the same way as if someone bought an external hard drive and copy files on there for backup.”

Cloud Drive comes with 5GB of free storage and will increase that to 20GB for a year with the purchase of one album from its MP3 store. In addition, songs bought from the Amazon MP3 store do not count against the storage quota.
 
Additional storage space costs extra: $20 per year for 20GB up to $1,000 per year for 1,000GB.
 
Photos and movies also can be stored in Cloud Drive as users can create different folders to place their files. However, movies storage is not integrated into the purchasing experience, and Amazon is initially pushing Cloud Drive as a music storage service.
 
Unlike music services such as Rhapsody, MOG and Rdio, Cloud Drive is not a “jukebox in the sky” that allows unlimited access to a large catalog of music. Instead, Cloud Drive allows access to a user’s personal collection. Other than files that are purchased from Amazon, each file in a user’s collection must be uploaded individually.
Billboard writer Antony Bruno in Denver contributed to this report.
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