Announced by Amazon earlier today, the online retailer has rolled out a new update for the Cloud Player storage service that allows Amazon customers to store up to 250 songs for free. The update includes a new feature that scans folders containing music on your computer and automatically matches up that music to songs within Amazon’s catalog. It doesn’t matter if the music was ripped from a compact disc or purchased through another competing service. After matching up the music, customers will be able to access the music within Cloud Player. Similar to Apple’s iTunes Match, the music will be upgraded to 256 Kbps quality despite the original bit rate of each song.
This is ideal for anyone that has an older collection of 128 Kbps MP3 files and would like a higher quality version of their music without having to repurchase the media. In order to provide matching, Amazon had to sign new deals with the major record labels in addition to “150 independent distributors, aggregators and music publishers.”
In addition to the matching feature, Amazon has updated Cloud Player to include all music purchases made in the past on a specific Amazon account. Assuming that an Amazon user is without their main audio device, they will be able to access music from any Web browser as well as mobile devices like an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android device or Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon is also planning on adding support for the Roku media streaming set-top box as well as the Sonos wireless music system.
If an Amazon user needs more space for a larger collection of music, Amazon also offers the Cloud Player Premium package that includes storage of 250,000 songs for a price of $24.99 per year. In addition, all songs purchased on Amazon don’t count towards the 250 or 250,000 limit. Beyond the Cloud Player features, Amazon is also splitting up Cloud Player from the Cloud Drive product. Any Amazon user can get 5GB of file storage for free with Cloud Drive, but can pay for premium plans up to $500 a year for 1TB of online data storage.