July 31, 2012

Amazon Updates Cloud Music Player

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Amazon updated its cloud music player on Tuesday, including one update that offers higher quality audio for its users.

The Cloud Player music storage service now features a new scanning option, allowing users to match songs in their music library without having to upload them one by one to the cloud service.

Users will also be automatically moved to experience the higher quality 256kpbs audio, including songs that may have already been purchased that weren't quite the same quality.

Amazon signed deals with several music companies, including Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, University Music Group and Warner Music Group, in order to enable these new features.

The company is now separating its Cloud Drive storage service for regular files from its music service. At launch, the two were directly linked, and music uploads were measured by the storage space they took up. However, now, Amazon allows free users to upload 250 songs, while those paying $25 a year can store up to 250,000 songs.

“We are constantly striving to deliver the best possible customer experience for Cloud Player, and today we are offering our customers a significant set of new features, including scan and match technology and audio quality upgrade,” said Steve Boom, Vice President of Digital Music at Amazon in a statement today. “We are happy to have such broad industry support in enabling these features for customers.”

Amazon said existing Cloud Drive users will receive an upgrade to Cloud Player Premium for the remaining term of their current Cloud Drive storage plan. All of their existing music on Cloud Drive will be moved to a folder called "archived music."

Any customer with a Kindle Fire, Android device, iPhone, iPod touch, or any Web browser can play their music from anywhere with an Internet connection.

The service essentially mimics what Apple has done with its iTunes Match. This cloud music service scans all the songs on an iTunes library, and makes them available for a user to stream from an iOS device at a higher audio quality. It even allows users to access songs they may have not purchased, all for $25 a year.