Amazon offers free cloud music service

Amazon wants to position itself as the de facto online storage centre for music with the launch of Amazon Cloud Drive, a service the company claims will securely store music on its servers.

Amazon offers free cloud music service

According to Amazon, the service is free for the first 5GB and that anyone buying an MP3 album from the company will have their allocation extended to 20GB.

Consumers can upload their music – or other files – to the drive, which would be hosted on the Amazon Simple Storage Service.

The company said the music would then be available over the web on any computer or Android mobile device.

“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,” said Bill Carr, Amazon’s vice president of movies and 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. 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.”

Payments ahead?

There were no details of what happens when customers reach the 20GB threshold – although annual extension packs start from $20 – and Amazon said tunes bought from its MP3 store wouldn’t count against the allocation. The 20GB access is currently listed as “free for one year with purchase of MP3 album” and there are currently few details about charges after the first year.

Although Amazon has yet to make the cloud system available on the UK version of the site, in some instances we’ve been able to use it on the US site.

Amazon has seen a real boost in sales of eBooks since it pushed its Kindle reader, and a service that sends people to the MP3 store and offers the soft “lock-in” of a virtual drive could have a similar effect for music.

The news comes the day after BT announced it was planning a streaming music service for its ISP customers and weeks after Spotify claimed it had a million paying customers.

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