Amazon Cloud Player Upgraded with Scan and Match, 256 Kbps Audio
Amazon today announced a significant upgrade to its Cloud Player music service, bringing iTunes Match-like "scan and match" technology to assist users in making their entire music libraries available in the cloud. The upgraded service also mirrors iTunes Match in delivering all matched tracks at 256 Kbps, even if the user's original material is at a lower quality.
New Cloud Player features include:
- Amazon MP3 purchases — including music that customers purchased in the past — are automatically saved to Cloud Player, which means that customers have a secure backup copy of the music they buy from Amazon, free of charge.
- 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.
- Any customer with a Kindle Fire, Android device, iPhone, iPod touch, or any web browser — and soon, a Roku streaming player or Sonos home entertainment system — can play their music anywhere.
Amazon Cloud Player is available in free and paid tiers, with the free tier limited to 250 tracks, although tracks purchased from Amazon do not count against the total. Amazon's Premium tier costs $24.99 per year and allows users to store up to 250,000 tracks in the cloud, with tracks purchased from Amazon similarly not counting toward that limit. Apple's iTunes Match service is also priced at $24.99 per year, but currently limits users to 25,000 tracks, excluding those purchased through iTunes.
As part of the upgrades, Amazon is separating Cloud Player from its Cloud Drive service, which offers file storage in the cloud. Users with paid Cloud Drive storage plans will keep their current plan and receive free access to Cloud Player Premium for the remainder of their subscription periods. With the split in Cloud Drive and Cloud Player services, Amazon is also reducing pricing on Cloud Drive storage plans. Beyond the free 5 GB plan, users can choose from paid plans starting at $10 per year for 20 GB and moving up to a maximum of 1000 GB for $500 per year.