Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Amazon Is First To The Digital Music Locker - So What?

Today Amazon announced a digital music locker service that enables users to upload and stream their music on multiple devices (PCs, Macs, and Android phones and tablets, and anything on the Android operating system, which eliminates iPhones nor iPads for now). The service is called the "Amazon Cloud Player" and all US Amazon customers start with 5GB free, which they then can then upgrade for $20 a year to 20GB. The twist is that just by buying an MP3 album at Amazon, you will automatically get the extra 20GB for free (which sounds like a great deal).

And the rest of the world breathes a hearty sigh and says, "So What?" This might've been a bigger deal had the announcement come from Apple or even Google, but Amazon, while a leader in books, is a distant second to iTunes in the digital music space with only 15% of the market compared to 70% by iTunes.

The price may be right but you'd be hard-pressed to find a music consumer who couldn't wait for this product. In fact, I'd venture to say that most don't or can't see the advantages to a cloud service for their music. Plus, Amazon pushed full speed ahead with the launch without getting the consent from the labels first, which may be problematic as time goes on.

The idea here is that instead of storing all you music on one desktop, laptop, phone or tablet, you probably want the music on all of those devices. The big pain is having to copy and transfer everything over, and in many cases you just won't have the storage space to do so anyway. A cloud music locker like Amazon's means that you store all of your music on their online servers ("The Cloud") which you can then access from any of your devices, saving you the time of transfer and the storage space.

The downside is that the major labels want to get paid a second time for this privilege, saying that the music that you already bought once doesn't give you the right to stream to any device that you want. Now you can debate that a number of ways, but both Apple and Google (who are rumored to have their own digital music lockers set to debut sometime later in the year) are in discussions with the labels to come to some sort of agreement on this issue. Only time will tell how that will play out.

I guess there's some advantage to being a "first mover" rather than following the crowd when the other companies launch their services, but the fact they haven't done their homework with the labels can end up costing them their advantage. Let's see what the next week, and the label's response, brings.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your comments on your Amazon Cloud Player experiences.


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Oren Sreebny said...

In my first experience with Cloud Drive I purchased a new mp3 album (Larry Coryell's new Montgomery, a nice outing) and saved it to Cloud Drive and then went to download it to my computer. Only to discover that you can't download a folder's worth of songs at once, only one at a time.

You can upload a whole folder at a time, but they're selling the benefit of purchasing directly to Cloud Drive. Lame. I suppose it's to prevent lots of copying, but get over it!

Bobby Owsinski said...

Didn't know that Oren. Thanks for the update.


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