Last month we wrote an article titled Will Amazon Create a Music Service Like Apple’s iTunes Match? The answer now is definitively yes, and Amazon launched the service today.
Amazon announced the new service in a press release today. How does it work? Well, iTunes Match is Apple’s service that scans your hard drive for music and then creates a cloud version of your music collection. You don’t have to upload all of your thousands of songs; iTunes Match just scans your computer and then bam, you’ve got all of that music in the cloud. The service costs $24.99 a year.
Amazon’s Cloud Player now does the same thing. Amazon has agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and more than 150 independent distributors, aggregators and music publishers.
Here’s Amazon’s explanation of how it works:
Amazon scans customers’ iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and matches the songs on their computers to Amazon’s 20 million song catalog. All matched songs – even music purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs – are instantly made available in Cloud Player and are upgraded for free to high-quality 256 Kbps audio. Music that customers have already uploaded to Cloud Player also will be upgraded.
So how much does it cost?
Cloud Player is available in a Free tier and a Premium tier. Cloud Player Free customers can store all MP3 music purchased at Amazon, plus import up to 250 songs from their PC or Mac to Cloud Player, all at no charge. Cloud Player Premium customers can import and store up to 250,000 songs in Cloud Player for an annual fee of $24.99. Amazon-purchased MP3s (including all previous purchases) do not count against the 250 or 250,000-song limits and will be added to both Free and Premium Cloud Player libraries at no charge.
As Amazon points out, “Cloud Player customers can then enjoy their music on their favorite devices, including Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android devices and any web browser, and soon, Roku streaming players and Sonos home entertainment systems.”
What do you think? Is this enough to push you over to Cloud Player?