NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) launched a new music streaming service Tuesday that lets users store and listen to songs from their music library and access them from a Mac, PC or on any mobile device that runs the Android operating system.
Users will now have the option to store up to 5 GB of music files for free through Amazon, which they can access anytime from one of these devices. Anyone who purchases an MP3 album on Amazon will automatically get 20 GB of storage, which is more than most portable devices offer. Moreover, songs purchased through Amazon won’t count towards this space, so if you download most of your music on Amazon, you’ll effectively have an unlimited storage capacity.
The service works by storing music files on an online network, what Amazon calls a “cloud drive”, which can be accessed on devices with an Internet connection, as opposed to having those files stored on a traditional hard drive, which can only be accessed on the device it’s connected to. With this new feature, consumers will be able to upload songs from their home computers and access them from their work computer, on a laptop in a coffee shop, or an Android tablet or smartphone while on the go.
"Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices," said Bill Carr, vice president of movies and music at Amazon. "Now, whether at work, home, or on the go, customers can buy music from Amazon MP3, store it in the cloud and play it anywhere."
Other tech companies, most notably Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL), have long been rumored to be working on a similar feature, but Amazon seems to have beat them to it. Until now, the best options available for music lovers were streaming sites like Grooveshark, which lets users stream thousands of songs instantly but places restrictions on users looking to back up their music library, or storage sites like Dropbox, which let users store files but is less useful as a music player. Amazon’s cloud service effectively combines the two services into one nice feature.
For Amazon, the cloud service is clearly a means to highlight its music offerings and encourage customers to spend more time on the site. However, the news comes on the heels of an announcement last week that Amazon had launched an app store. Taken together, it would seem Amazon has its sights on more than just conquering the music industry.
The company seems to be laying the groundwork for a new mobile device of their own that’s compatible with each of these services, to compete not just with Apple’s products, but also e-readers like the Nook.
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