Amazon Cloud Drive challenging Apple's iCloud with unlimited music storage

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Amazon announced Wednesday a promotion offering unlimited music storage to users who purchase a Cloud Drive storage plan, heating up competition before Apple's fall launch of its iCloud and iTunes Match services.



The online retailer revealed three enhancements to its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services in a statement Wednesday: storage plans that include unlimited space for music, free storage for all Amazon MP3 purchases and an iPad version of Cloud Player for Web.



?Customers are already enjoying Cloud Drive and Cloud Player and now for just $20 a year, customers can get unlimited space for music,? said Craig Pape, Director of Amazon Music. ?Additionally, we are adding free storage for all MP3s purchased from Amazon MP3, and support for the iPad. Our customers love Cloud Drive and Cloud Player and we?re excited to innovate these services on their behalf.?



The unlimited music storage applies to all premium Cloud Drive accounts, which start at $20 a year for 20GB. Users who qualified for 20GB of free storage from an earlier promotion will automatically receive the unlimited space for music. Amazon offers 5GB of free space to all Cloud Drive users.



The addition of an iPad-friendly Amazon Cloud Player is a step back in Apple's direction, though no mention is made of iPhone or iPod touch compatibility. Cloud Player originally launched for the Web and Google's Android mobile OS, without direct support for iOS and Mobile Safari. In May, iOS users reported being able to access the Cloud Player, despite the fact that full compatibility had yet to be officially announced.







Whereas only new Amazon MP3 store purchases were automatically added to Cloud Drive when the service first launched in March, now all digital music purchased from Amazon will be added to the drive. The retroactive support for previously purchased music appears to indicate that Amazon has resolved any conflicts with the music industry of its service.



Apple is planning a similar move with its iCloud service, and offered the first taste of its cloud strategy last month with the release of iTunes 10.3, which allows re-downloading of music, apps and books purchased on iTunes and the App Store. When iCloud arrives in the fall, the service will provide complimentary storage of music, apps and books purchased from Apple. However, unlike Amazon's Cloud Drive, iCloud does not stream music.







Amazon reportedly opted for an 'ask forgiveness, not permission' strategy with Cloud Drive, surprising music labels with the announcement of the service. Music industry sources said Amazon only addressed the issue of negotiating licenses after launching the service, leaving some industry members to view the service as illegal.



Google launched a beta of its own music service in May. However, the search giant was unsuccessful in negotiating new licenses with major music labels and has yet to open a full music store as originally planned.



Amazon and Apple will likely compete for subscribers with their respective Cloud Drive and iTunes Match services. Amazon's cloud offerings require manual uploading of non-Amazon music files, but also offer streaming, and start at a lower price of $20 a year. On the other hand, iTunes Match costs $25 a year and will scan and match users' iTunes libraries with songs available in the iTunes Music Store. Matched songs will then automatically be available for download in iCloud, and the small portion of unmatched musical will be uploaded. Like Amazon, Apple will offer 5GB of free storage for iCloud users.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Unlimited could work if they actually start using delta encoding as a systemwide service.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    iCloud and Amazon Cloud Player are quite different. Amazon streams music whereas with Apple you sync the music to your device.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


    iCloud and Amazon Cloud Player are quite different. Amazon streams music whereas with Apple you sync the music to your device.



    iCloud also has a lot of other features. Features that competitors can't easily compete with. Heck, they already couldn't make a proper MobileMe competitor and now that they've added so many additional features including API for App Store devs I can't see how others will be able to compete with it except for some singular features.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    iCloud also has a lot of other features. Features that competitors can't easily compete with. Heck, they already couldn't make a proper MobileMe competitor and now that they've added so many additional features including API for App Store devs I can't see how others will be able to compete with it except for some singular features.



    "Owning the whole widget"



    iCloud is deep into iOS 5 and Lion. There's little that surface technology like Amazon's cloud services can do to compete with iCloud.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    "Owning the whole widget"



    iCloud is deep into iOS 5 and Lion. There's little that surface technology like Amazon's cloud services can do to compete with iCloud.



    Speaking of that (kinda), I wish Apple would update Dashboard in Lion. They've given it the default option for making it its own Space, but that's about it. Now they already back up to MobileMe and .Mac before it, keeping not only the data, but which Dashboard Widgets you have on your display and how they are spaced.



    What I'd have liked to see is 1) The Weather Widget having an option to use the new Location Data in Lion so you don't have to manually update the widget, and 2) having the option for both the Stocks and Weather widget settings to carry over between devices (if you so wish.



    The third things I want may be possible with the iCloud API. Meaning, an iOS App Store app that could be synced via iCloud's API to a free Dashboard Widget. They have iAds so they could make a Widget SDK that they could monetize.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,428member
    I just uploaded 4 songs to Amazon to test out this service and it seems to work fine. It does what it's supposed to do, and playback is pretty quick. It takes about 1 second after you hit play and then the song starts playing. I'm not sure if I'll pay to upgrade, but I'm not going to complain about my 5 gigs for free, streaming to anywhere.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    I just uploaded 4 songs to Amazon to test out this service and it seems to work fine. It does what it's supposed to do, and playback is pretty quick. It takes about 1 second after you hit play and then the song starts playing. I'm not sure if I'll pay to upgrade, but I'm not going to complain about my 5 gigs for free, streaming to anywhere.



    Copy a song in your local library that you already uploaded, then upload that copy. Is it near instant or is uploading it again as a new file?
  • Reply 8 of 28
    radjinradjin Posts: 165member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


    iCloud and Amazon Cloud Player are quite different. Amazon streams music whereas with Apple you sync the music to your device.



    Yes, so I control when all that data flows on a wi-fi connection rather then 3G. And all my music is local at 256bit quality rather then streamed at some terrible rate.
  • Reply 9 of 28
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,428member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Copy a song in your local library that you already uploaded, then upload that copy. Is it near instant or is uploading it again as a new file?



    It didn't let me upload it again.



    I duplicated one of the songs which I had already uploaded. The duplicate had a different filename, it had "copy" at the end.



    When you go to upload your songs, the app that starts up scans your songs and I guess that it recognized that the copy which I made was already uploaded so it didn't bother uploading it again.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    kingkueikingkuei Posts: 137member
    So if I pay Apple for iTunes Match for one year $25, download the iTunes Plus version of the song, and then cancel my service the next year, do I still keep the ability to download those "purchased" songs again in the future even without paying the $25???
  • Reply 11 of 28
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,428member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Radjin View Post


    And all my music is local at 256bit quality rather then streamed at some terrible rate.



    That's funny, the stuff I was just streaming was 320kbps.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    I just don't see the appeal of all this "cloud" crap. The moment you're without web access, you're dead.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I just don't see the appeal of all this "cloud" crap. The moment you're without web access, you're dead.



    +1



    Local access is a MUST.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


    iCloud and Amazon Cloud Player are quite different. Amazon streams music whereas with Apple you sync the music to your device.



    At the moment. However, Apple never gives aways their full hand so who knows what will happen.



    And if I recall correct, the whole iTunes Match service is about streaming. Just via a common library rather than making everyone upload the same tracks over and over all because they didn't buy it from itunes (or Amazon in the case of the Cloud Drive)
  • Reply 15 of 28
    dybmapidybmapi Posts: 6member
    For U.S. Customers Only



    It appears that you are attempting to use Amazon Cloud Player from outside the U.S. This service is intended for U.S. customers only.



    Maybe someone will remember that over 50% of the world's customers don't live in the US?

  • Reply 16 of 28
    jahonenjahonen Posts: 364member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dybmapi View Post


    For U.S. Customers Only



    It appears that you are attempting to use Amazon Cloud Player from outside the U.S. This service is intended for U.S. customers only.



    Maybe someone will remember that over 50% of the world's customers don't live in the US?





    Or over 95%... Maybe that is the reason. Got to buy a lot more HDDs to extend the coverage to be worldwide with unlimited plans and all. Easier to cater to 4+% of the world population.



    Regs, Jarkko
  • Reply 17 of 28
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I just don't see the appeal of all this "cloud" crap. The moment you're without web access, you're dead.



    It's appealing if it's in addition to device local storage. Say I have a 64Gig iPad, with 20Gig of music and 40Gig of video, but I own another 100gig of music and terabyte of video. Eventually with a Cloud whenever I have wifi I'd have access to the entire library - which would be pretty nice.



    Amazon unfortunately are only offering unlimited space for AAC & MP3, so there goes my plan to upload my terabytes of FLAC files
  • Reply 18 of 28
    nkhmnkhm Posts: 928member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I just don't see the appeal of all this "cloud" crap. The moment you're without web access, you're dead.



    Then you don't understand cloud computing. It's for back up and sync, every piece of data isn't stored only in the cloud and only streamed on demand, just data which isn't already on or synced to your device. Not being able to access that remotely stored content is no different to any other concept - if you need more than is on your device you need access to it.



    Also to point out that Amazon's offering is in no way competition to iCloud - iCloud is about a lot more than music storage. Where is the photo syncing? document and music playlist syncing, syncing of keychains, settings, dock icons, web favourites..?
  • Reply 19 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkhm View Post


    Then you don't understand cloud computing. It's for back up and sync, every piece of data isn't stored only in the cloud and only streamed on demand, just data which isn't already on or synced to your device. Not being able to access that remotely stored content is no different to any other concept - if you need more than is on your device you need access to it.



    Also to point out that Amazon's offering is in no way competition to iCloud - iCloud is about a lot more than music storage. Where is the photo syncing? document and music playlist syncing, syncing of keychains, settings, dock icons, web favourites..?



    That's how you and Apple understands cloud computing, and that's how I see it as well. Most notably, the data is on your devices, several of them, and different ones. The cloud service tries to keep those devices in sync, including app state, the page of the document you are editing etc. Every device keeps as much of the data as it is reasonable for it (e.g. the phone or the iPad has only the latest or specifically selected stuff, the desktop Mac has it all). Every device processes the data with an app which best fits the device capabilities, and the functionality of the desktop app may (and most often will) exceed the options available on the iPhone.



    Many other parties, including Google and Amazon see it differently. For Google, to achieve basically the same result, the best way is to have all your data AND the apps on their server, and access them from different devices, possibly keeping local cache for offline work. Amazon does the same, but it only has a music app (Why so many people think it is the most important thing in the world? Because of the iPod success few years ago? I mean, most of us are happy having their 1000 songs always with them and do not pay a s***t for online streaming).



    The big difference is that with Google approach, you are totally locked. Get rid of Google and lose all your photos and documents. With Apple, you just lose the convenient syncing - all your data is with you, and it is up to you to sync it manually from there on or to go with a different service, if/when available. Apple will try to keep you, but the only way for them to do so is to keep better service (better as more user friendly, or better price/features or whatever meaning you put into this). This is somewhat the opposite of the "walled garden" cliche, but that's how I see it.



    Now, the financial analysts have yet another understanding of cloud computing. For them, this is a service that has the word "cloud" in it, or the company behind it says it is "a cloud". From there on, there is no difference what the actual benefit of the "cloud" is.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    tinman0tinman0 Posts: 168member
    Not even sure why Amazon are bothering.



    iCloud will be rolled out to every iOS device that upgrades (which will be a sizeable bunch), and every iOS device in the future, and Lion.



    So on day 1, Apple will have 10m+ users putting every other "cloud" service to shame. (Albeit everyone has a different definition).



    But the average punter is just going to read the baseline figure "Apple has 40m iCloud users etc".



    I suppose Google can fight back and call everyone of their Gmail accounts a "cloud" user, but we'd expect that from Google these days in their continual willy waving contest.
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