I went to amazon.com the other day and noticed a front-page announcement about two new services. The first is the Amazon Cloud Drive, an online storage system with 5GB of free storage and the ability to pay for additional space. There are lots of online storage sites, however, and what makes this one different is how Amazon has integrated it with their MP3 store. In addition to the Cloud Drive, there’s also the Amazon Cloud Player, an online music player that works on any Mac, PC, or Android device. It’s tightly integrated with the Cloud Drive—music files stored in your Cloud Drive are available to the Cloud Player. Music purchases from the Amazon MP3 Store can be automatically uploaded to the Cloud Drive, and they don’t count against the 5GB limit.
I like the Cloud Drive because, unlike other free file storage sites, this one probably won’t go out of business. And Amazon has hit on a good concept, allowing you to store your music in a central location that’s accessible from anywhere on the internet. I make a habit of purchasing music from the Amazon MP3 Store whenever possible, so this is pretty useful. No longer is there the possibility of losing my entire music collection because a hard drive fails.
There are, however, a couple downsides. First, the only mobile devices that are truly supported are Android devices. The Cloud player is not “optimized” for iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, and Windows 7 phones. I guess that means you could play the music via a supported browser on those devices, but that it wouldn’t work very well. Second, only MP3 and non-copy protected AAC (iTunes Store) formats are supported by the music player. For those with an older, extensive library from the iTunes Store, this may not be the best way to go (or at least consider upgrading your library to iTunes Plus).
I’m using the Cloud Player right now, and it’s working quite well. No skips or stutters. One final note, I manually uploaded my music library which was a lengthy process. Turns out there’s an MP3 uploader program that makes the initial upload much easier.