Amazon Cloud Player and Drive review: Not for music lovers

Legal problems ahead

sony_logo_1After Amazon fixes the bugs in its Cloud Player and Drive, it may want to smooth things over with record labels. According to reports out today, the online retailer didn’t bother asking record labels if it could launch a cloud service.

We do not need a license to store music in Cloud Drive,” Amazon spokesperson Cat Griffin told Ars Technica “The functionality of saving MP3s to Cloud Drive is the same as if a customer were to save their music to an external hard drive or even iTunes.”

Not so, argues Sony, which launched its own “Music Unlimited” streaming service and is hoping for more money for the ability to store MP3s for users. Or perhaps Sony wishes to block the idea all together. Either way, Amazon appears to have consumers in mind, not record companies. Previously, Amazon has bent to industry pressure. Until now, users who purchased a $10 MP3 album were only allowed to download it once to one device. If the download failed, too bad. In a world where even Nintendo is letting users download purchased games more than once, the music industry’s stance seems dated. The more engaged people are with music and the easier it is to obtain it, listen to it, and share it, the more they will download.

Amazon’s own terms of service may hurt it as well. Though it promises security, PC Mag reports that its terms of service say otherwise. “We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they are. You’re responsible for maintaining appropriate security, protection and backup of Your Files.”

Secure services like Carbonite are still a much better option for cloud-backup, it seems. If the law comes a knockin’, Amazon will show them your files, sensitive or not.

Amazon, you’re halfway there

I’ve been searching for a good cloud music solution for the last year or so, and the Cloud Player is the best service yet. Once the bugs are worked out and it’s easier to actually upload and manage a full music catalog in Amazon’s Cloud Player, I’m onboard. Unless, of course, Google or Apple come up with something much better. It’s good to see music get some attention again.

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