Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

With Updated Cloud Player, Amazon Matches iTunes Scan and Match

A year and a half after its initial launch, Amazon has obtained licenses from the four major music labels that pave the way for a “scan and match” feature that rivals Apple’s iTunes Match service.

Agreements have been made with EMI Music, Universal, Sony and Warner, and with more than 150 independent distributors, aggregators and music publishers, Amazon said.

The news was first reported a few weeks ago by CNET, which pointed out that Amazon’s launch of its music storage “locker” last year, sans licenses, raised the ire of music label executives.

Basically, here’s what this means for Amazon Cloud Player users now, as bulleted in the e-commerce giant’s press release:

  • Amazon MP3 purchases — including music that customers purchased in the past — are automatically saved to Cloud Player.
  • Amazon now scans customers’ iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and matches the songs on their computers; all matched songs — even those purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs — are instantly made available in Cloud Player.
  • Any customer with a Kindle Fire, Android device, iPhone, iPod touch or any Web browser can play his or her music from anywhere with a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.

Amazon is selling the service for $25 a year, the same price that Apple charges for iTunes Match. But Amazon offers storage for up to 250,000 songs, whereas Apple’s iTunes Match, which works in conjunction with iCloud, has a limit of 25,000 songs — not including iTunes purchases.

Amazon launched its cloud music service in March of last year, allowing users to buy music from Amazon.com or upload up to 250 songs from their computers to the Cloud Player for free, and play back the music from the Web.

Initially, a mobile app was available only for Android devices. In June, Amazon finally introduced an iOS app for iPhones and iPods, integrating with but also taking greater aim at Apple’s iTunes music service.

The iOS app plays music that users already have on their devices, including songs stored in Apple’s native iTunes player (although, in my experience with the app, it doesn’t sync with functions on the iTunes app, so Cloud Player won’t pick up at whatever song you left off on in iTunes if you’re shuffling back and forth between the two apps).

But there was some question as to whether users could actually upload those iTunes files — and other, non-Amazon-purchased music files — to Amazon’s digital locker.

Amazon has also said that Roku and Sonos will soon join the list of Cloud Player-compatible devices.


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