Amazon’s Cloud Player Now Works on iOS

Posted In Apple news - By Tariq On Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 With 0 Comments

Amazon Cloud Drive is a music/movies/file locker service that the Internet giant launched late last March (to much criticism from major music labels). The service provides users with 5 GB of free storage on sign up, which can be expanded per yearly subscription. Current rates are $20/year for 20 GB, $50/year for 50 GB, $100/year for 100 GB, and this continues at the $1/GB all the way up to 1000 GB. With the purchase of any MP3 album from the Amazon MP3 Store, your account will be upgraded to 20 GB for one year. I’ve been using it the past couple of weeks, and it is a great service.

At launch, Amazon released a native app (Amazon Cloud Player) for Android, allowing users to access their Cloud Drive files from their Android devices. This left iOS users out in the cold, and the web interface used flash, so no luck there. Well it seems Amazon quietly flipped a switch recently, and now the web interface uses HTML5 for audio. Still not a native interface for iOS, but it’s a start. The nice thing is that Safari can take advantage of background audio in iOS 4 (on multi-tasking enabled devices), so you are free to start a song and leave the browser, bouncing around from app to app while still enjoying your music. The music controls in the multi-tasking and lockscreen tray work great for skipping songs.

Music in the cloud has always been a delicate subject, and Amazon’s Cloud Drive is no exception. Record labels miss the ’90s, and the days where everyone paid the retail $17.99 for full albums. Most major labels have been hesitant to fully embrace online music in ways such as cloud storage and subscription music services. The copyright law around digital music says that sharing is illegal, but duplication of a file is fair play. This is how Amazon gets around officially licensed music streaming with Cloud Player. Since each person has their own individual files uploaded to their own Cloud Drive, there is no sharing going on. No one is accessing and streaming a song from a common source. Amazon is simply hosting all the files and conveniently providing users with a web based music player to play their own audio files. So while it is technically legal by word of law, you can see how the major labels would be upset over this. I guess we’ll see how everyone in play deals with this. My personal hope is now that the labels feel a little betrayed by Amazon, they’ll turn to Apple and finally allow some sort of cloud service and maybe even an iTunes subscription service. One can dream, right?

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