Archive for March 29th, 2011

Amazon’s Cloud Player

Tonight Amazon announced its Cloud Player for Web & Android. They give 5 GB for free, upgraded to 20 GB for one year, if you buy any MP3 album. Any new album you buy and you add it to the Cloud service won’t eat out your storage allowance. All this is not a bad idea, I’m myself a supporter of streaming, when this is done right. The problem is that Amazon doesn’t do this right. RDIO, MOG, ThumbPlay, Real, Napster, Spotify, do. The problems I have with the Amazon deal are:

1. When you purchase a new album you can only add it EITHER on your cloud drive, or download it on your PC. If you must download to your PC (as I do), and later want to have it on your cloud drive as well, you have to manually upload it! This is stupid. Sure it makes sense from legal point of view (so Amazon doesn’t go on record selling you two copies), but it sucks from the user’s point of view. There is no other reason, apart the legalities, why Amazon couldn’t automatically link your purchase to your cloud account. It already does not use your storage to store new purchases, so the technical part of just “linking” music with accounts is obviously in place.

2. I have to upload manually my previously-bought Amazon music. I don’t see why Amazon shouldn’t automatically link my account with these past purchases too — apart the legal shite again.

3. There is no “offline” mode. If someone uses wifi or 3G to listen to music from the cloud he will find his smartphone’s battery go down within 2-3 hours. RDIO/MOG/etc offer the ability to sync up to about ~4 GB of your collection, and access it “offline”. Their servers create an encrypted blob of data that only their player can playback. This way you can listen everything from the cloud when you’re using a wall socket, and the checked items directly from the flash drive when you’re mobile. Perfect for travelers.

4. Ultimately, this service is not good enough. RDIO/MOG is a better deal at $10 per month with an ~unlimited music selection (not just your own library). Given that I spend about $80 a month on music (mostly from Amazon these days, since they’re considerably cheaper than iTunes), if I wanted to go subscription I’d just go with MOG or RDIO.

Sitting down and manually uploading gigabytes of files to Amazon’s servers is one thing I won’t do though. No way.