Well, the rumors were true. Not only is Amazon entering the “music locker” space, they’re doing it before both Google and Apple — as their “Cloud Drive” and “Cloud Player” have just gone live on their site tonight.
Cloud Drive is the name Amazon is giving to its media storage space on their servers. They give you 5 GB of storage for free and allow you to access the media from any computer. Cloud Player is the name of yes, the actual player. And it comes in two flavors: a player for the web, and one for Android devices. You’ll note an absence of an iOS player…
A bit more:
- Any album bought through Amazon MP3 is stored for free in your Cloud Drive — a very nice perk.
- If you buy one album from Amazon MP3, they’ll upgrade your Cloud Drive storage to 20 GB for free for a year — another nice perk.
- Normally, 20 GB of Drive storage will cost $20 for a year. 50 GB is $50. 100 GB is $100. And so on. All the way up to 1 TB for $1,000.
- The Cloud Drive storage isn’t just for music — Amazon notes that 1 TB will hold 70 hours of HD video.
- Other files can be uploaded — this includes music, movies, photos, and even documents.
- The MP3 uploader accepts MP3 or AAC files, but they must be DRM-free (.wma, .wav, .ogg and others are not supported)
- Old Amazon MP3 purchases aren’t put in your Cloud Drive, only new purchases going forward (though you can manually upload).
- The Android Cloud Player is built into the Amazon MP3 app — it’s in both the Android Market and Amazon’s new Appstore.
- This is for U.S. customers only for the time being.
- Cloud Player for the web works on IE 8 and above, Firefox 3.5 and above, Chrome, and Safari. There is no Opera support. And Flash is required (but for uploads only).
- There’s also a stand-alone uploader app for Mac and PC.
- You can’t upload music from your mobile device “at this time”.
So there you go, Amazon has won the race of the big three to deliver a fully cloud-supported music option. Current whispers have Google launching something very similar at their I/O conference in May. And Apple is working on a similar concept as well — but it may not launch until this fall. At least that was the original plan, Amazon’s move may alter things, obviously.