Amazon Cloud Player: Why This Thing Is Cool

Linda Sharps

Amazon has really stepped into the ring with Apple in the last few days, haven't they? First they launched Appstore for Android (prompting an immediate lawsuit from the folks at Cupertino), and now they've beaten Apple to the streaming-storage game with their Cloud Player.

This is awesome, really. C'mon, guys! Fight! Fight! The harder the big guys fight for marketshare, the more tasty consumer offerings come our way.

Amazon's latest service lets you save MP3s to the Cloud so your music can be accessed from anywhere. It's a big step toward improving some of the ass-painery of digital music, where between DRM issues and having songs downloaded (and then essentially stuck) to one device, we often find that MP3s aren't nearly as portable as those ancient physical compact discs used to be.

Here's a quick rundown of the cool stuff in Amazon's new Cloud service:

You can maintain playlists. Once you install Amazon's Cloud Drive on your computer, it searches your entire hard drive for music and playlists. So all those iTunes playlists you've created will be saved, not just in your library.

The Cloud Player doesn't suck. From what I've read, the Cloud Player (which is the web app that lets you remotely access your tunes) is fairly well designed. You can organize music, search the archives, and even skip to different points in one song, which most streaming players have trouble with.

Android users can stream from their phones. The Cloud Player app works on Android devices, so you can stream your songs without ever having to store them on your smartphone. The app plays both on-device music and Cloud-stored files.

It's free, for starters anyway. Right now Amazon's offering 5 GB of free Cloud Drive storage, and any new purchases made from the Amazon MP3 Store are also stored for free—they don't count against your storage quota. (Hello, direct shot across the iTunes' bow much?) Pricing plans after that are basic: $1 per GB.

No iPhone support yet, but I love where this is all going. I'm imagining a future where devices don't have to hold data, and it's a beautiful thing. Assuming, of course, servers stay functional—and our bandwidth can keep up with our needs.

Will you be trying out Amazon's new Cloud Player?

Image via Amazon

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