They include licensing deals with “Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and more than 150 independent distributors, aggregators and music publishers” that will allow users access to and ability to store more music than before and upgrades that will allow Cloud Player to compete with iTunes' cloud service, iTunes Match.
Free and unpaid subscriptions
Unlike iTunes Match, Amazon will offer a free subscription to Cloud Player, which allows users to store and play 250 songs (Amazon MP3 purchases past and present do not count toward that number.) For an annual $24.99, the price of an iTunes Match subscription, users can upload 250,000 songs (again, Amazon MP3s don't count.)
Automatic integration of music from devices to the cloud
Whereas the previous Amazon cloud storage service forced users to manually upload their files, the new upgrade to Cloud Player includes “scan and match” technology that matches users' previously-stored music from other services to MP3s in the Amazon library and automatically stores it.
Free audio quality upgrades
All audio files stored on Cloud Player, regardless of former audio quality, are automatically upgraded to 256 Kbps.
More device compatibility
Cloud Player is now compatible with more devices, including: any web browser, Kindle Fire, Android devices and iPhone and iPod Touch. Additionally, Amazon plans to make it compatible with Sonos home entertainment systems and Roku streaming players.
One of the downsides, according to The New York Times, is “It will not…upload songs coded with D.R.M. copy protection, which includes virtually everything that iTunes sold until early 2009.”
The cloud service that Amazon originally launched in 2011 was meant to have “the same [functionality] as an external hard drive,” according to Craig Pape, Director of Music Content Acquisition at Amazon.
Now, Amazon Cloud Drive will become a separate entity from Cloud Player. Cloud Drive will be used solely as a means to store files in the cloud, while Cloud Player works as a music player and a storage service.
What do you think? Considering these upgrades, would you use Amazon's Cloud Player? Do you think it can compete with iTunes Match or Google Music?