Amazon overhauls Cloud Player to rival Apple's iTunes Match
Amazon is revamping its Cloud Player streaming music service to mimic Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes Match, introducing similar scan-and-match features but offering ten times the storage space for the same price.
Amazon Cloud Player, originally launched in March 2011, enables consumers to securely store music in the cloud for anytime/anywhere access across a host of connected devices including Apple's iPhone and iPad, Android smartphones and tablets and the digital retailer's own Kindle Fire tablet. All Amazon MP3 purchases--including albums and tracks acquired at an earlier date--are automatically saved to Cloud Player. Thanks to new agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and more than 150 independent distributors, aggregators and music publishers, Amazon now scans customers' iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries as well, matching music on their computers to its catalog of 20 million songs.
Amazon Cloud Player also upgrades all matched songs, including music purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs, to the 256 kbps digital audio format. Music previously uploaded to Cloud Player also will be upgraded.
All Amazon Cloud Player users can import up to 250 songs from their PC or Mac for free; all Amazon MP3 purchases are also saved for free and do not count against the customer's storage quota. The expanded Cloud Player Premium option offers storage for as many as 250,000 songs for an annual cost of $24.99--by comparison, iTunes match tops out at 25,000 songs for the same annual price.
The new Amazon Cloud Player features will be automatically delivered to Kindle Fire owners in the coming days. Consumers may also visit www.amazon.com/cloudplayer or download the native applications for iOS or Android.
Apple's iTunes Match went live in late 2011 in conjunction with the release of version 10.5.1 of the iTunes multimedia player software. Like Amazon Cloud Player,
iTunes Match scans music library files and matches each selection with 256 kbps versions culled from the iTunes Store catalog and stored via the iCloud platform. iCloud, introduced last year as a replacement for Apple's MobileMe service, automatically syncs content on Apple servers for access across iOS devices as well as Macs and PCs--each day, the service backs up all of the user's iOS devices over Wi-Fi, storing content including purchased music, movies, apps and books as well as photos, videos, device settings and app data.
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