Amazon launches 'cloud locker' music service

Amazon announced Cloud Drive and Cloud Player for the Web and Android, a new web-based service that lets you store your music and other files in the cloud and access them on the go. Streaming music is possible using a web-based player compatible with the Mac and PC as well as an Android application.

The Cloud Drive service competes with online storage solutions like Dropbox by letting you upload music, video, photos and other documents to an online locker. The service provides you with 5 GB of online storage space for free, and additional storage capacity is available for a minimal fee. The paid service includes 20 GB of storage for $20, 50 GB for $50 and so on.

Amazon's Cloud Player service is free and brings music streaming to the masses who shop Amazon's web store. Amazon apparently launched the service without the blessing of the recording industry and is working on securing post-announcement licenses. The online retail giant is forcing the music industry to play its hand and either support the service or risk appearing as the bad guy by shooting Amazon down. It's a gutsy move, but one that Amazon needs to make if it wants to catch up with its competition.

Speaking of competition, read on to find out how Amazon is taking on Apple's popular iTunes music service.

Amazon beats Apple to the punch when it comes to online music streaming and hits iOS in its Achilles heel by disconnecting the Cloud Player service from the computer. In its video overview, Amazon is quick to point out its service does not require you connect your Android device to your computer to transfer music. Amazon simplifies the process by automatically adding tracks to your online digital library when you purchase music from Amazon's mp3 store. This differs from iOS, which still requires you to connect your portable device to iTunes on your computer in order to transfer music files.

Amazon's new service is not the beginning of the end for iTunes as some are predicting, though. Apple purchased online music service LaLa a few years ago and is rumored to be working on its own streaming music service. This iTunes in the cloud has not yet materialized, but rumors pointing to its existence continue to persist. Rather than push its service through shotgun-style, Apple may be taking the time to work out licensing agreements and build a cloud infrastructure that will put its competition to shame.

[Via Business Insider]