Today Amazon has announced they will be pushing some serious upgrades to their popular Cloud Player music streaming platform. The intention is to make the service more competitive with Apple’s ‘iTunes Match’ and Google Music.
Starting with the addition of scan and match technology, the service will scan customers’ iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries, then match the songs on their computers to Amazon’s catalog of music, which includes a stunning 20 million tracks and rising.
All matched music will immediately be accessible via Cloud Player and upgraded for free to high-quality 256Kbps audio. This includes music customers bought from iTunes, ripped from CDs or that was bought from Amazon. Better accessibility will be a driving factor in making Amazon Cloud Player more popular. For example, any customer with an Android device, iDevice, Kindle Fire, or even a web browser will have access to all their music via the cloud. Those of you with Roku and Sonos home entertainment systems will soon have support as well.
Amazon is upgrading the service as they announce many new licensing agreements for Cloud Player. Deals include, but are not limited to, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, over 150 independent distributors and more. Amazon has an ongoing strategy to rebrand the Cloud Player as a service of its own, and starting today, it will be separated from Amazon Cloud Drive. Music will be stored in Cloud Player and files in Cloud Drive. Each service will have its own subscription, however, consumers can have up to 5GB to store files for free.
This prompted me to take a look at my Amazon Cloud Player and this is what I was greeted with.
As you can see, a message pops up asking me to agree to new terms, and says I must upgrade after 30 days or I will lose my music. Amazon will let you use the service for free but only up to 250 songs, whereas Google allows you to store up to 20,000 songs respectively. To sum it all up, Google will play your music at 320Kbps (depending on available connection speed) and allows up to 20k songs for free. Amazon costs $25 per year, allows up to 250k songs and streams at 256Kbps. iTunes costs $25 per year, offers 250k songs and all music purchased from iTunes does not count against your allotment.
I spoke to my friend who is a local record producer and an all around music lover. He says the human ear cannot hear the difference between 256Kbps and 320Kbps, so that argument is dependant upon the user. As for the costs of service, your best off to select the service that fits you best, in his case, iTunes Match is the best for him.
So there you have it folks. What are your needs? Find out and pick the best service that works for you. Seeing as this is an Android blog, I vote Google Music! What about you?
source: ZD Net